Scroll To Top
History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1932 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, April 23 - Tamar River:

First Four:

The 1932 Head of the River was contested on the Tamar River. The Home Reach course, of a 1 mile and ⅛th long, hosted the same 5 crews as the previous year: 

-    Clemes College,

-    The Friends’ School,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

The 1932 race was significant for The Friends’ School. With slack water and a tailwind, Friends’ shot out to an early lead and held it pillar-to-post, making it their first ever win of the major Head of the River race. The Mercury mentioned that he race also saw an accident with the Launceston Church Grammar crew, who were tussling it out with Clemes for the second position. Upon sprinting for the line, the Launceston Grammar crew collided with a pile ejecting one of their crew members into the water. Unfortunately, they stopped rowing and were relegated into last place. The Friends’ School won their first Golden Fleece Cup by a length over Clemes College. 

Second Four:

The junior race gained momentum in its second year of being raced, with double the crews racing from 1931:

-    Clemes College,

-    The Friends’ School,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School,

-    St. Patrick’s College, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

The crews were very evenly matched in the ¾ mile contest. The Mercury reported that at halfway, all six crews were in a line. However, Launceston Grammar were eventual winners with a 1¼ length advantage over Hutchins. 


First Four:

The Mercury wrote the following report upon Friends’ historic win: 

“Friends had the No. 1 position or, the eastern shore, then coming St. Virgil's, Clemes, Grammar, and Hutchins on the western bank. The crews go away fairly well together, Friends' being last to move off, losing a quarter of a length. Soon after the start Friends' with a faster stroke than the others took the lead, and at the Texaco jetty had half a length on Clemes, who were half-a-length ahead of Grammar. Grammar and Clemes were striking 36, and Friends' 40 at this stage. St. Virgil's, who were striking 30, were holding on gamely, about a quarter of a length behind Grammar, with Hutchins half a length back. Approaching the Rapson wharf, Friends' were a length ahead of Grammar, who led Clemes by a quarter of a length, St. Virgil's still being closely in attendance. At the Nairana's berth Friends' had maintained their advantage over Grammar, and the positions of the other crews were unchanged. At the half-way mark, which was rowed in the good time of three minutes, Friends' had increased their lead to one and a half lengths from Grammar and Clemes, who were level, St. Virgil's being half a length back, with Hutchins last, a length farther back. The position was unchanged until Town Point was reached, where Grammar and Clemes were fighting a herculean struggle for second place. Friends' were showing splendid bladework, and their shoulder lift and leg drive also were good. St. Virgil's at this stage were a length behind Grammar and Clemes, who were level, and Hutchins was two lengths behind St. Virgil's. Grammar then began a desperate spurt, but fouled a pile, a member of the crew being thrown into the water, and they stopped rowing. Friends' were now unbeatable, and lifting their boat well through the water finished a length ahead of Clemes, with St. Virgil's one and a quarter length farther back, a length ahead of Hutchins. The time, from an unofficial source, was stated to be 5 min. 50secs.”

Winners of the 1932 Golden Fleece Cup for First Fours - The Friends' School
(Source: The Mercury, 25 April 1932)

Second Four:

The Mercury's report of the Second Four race:

“The race, which was over a three-quarter-mile course, was a splendid contest, the crews being very evenly matched. Until half-way had been reached the six crews were practically level, and the race provided a fine sight as each stroke forced his men to greater effort. Grammar were the first to lead out, followed closely by Hutchins and St. Virgil's, with Friends', Clemes and St. Patrick's following in that order. When the junction of the North Esk was reached, Grammar was leading by three-quarters of a length. At one stage Hutchins challenged strongly, but Grammar, revealing splendid form, again moved away and crossed the line one-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of Hutchins, who faded away at the finish, enabling Clemes, with a fine spurt, to get within a foot of them. Only about a length separated Friends', St. Virgil's and St. Patrick's, who finished in that order.” 

Organising Committee:

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter: Senator B. Sampson

Umpire: Mr. A. Hollingsworth

Judge: Mr. J. E. Heritage

Timekeeper: Mr. H. R. Smith

Stewards: Mr. C. Fowler & Mr. A. Rundle

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1⅛ mile

Time: 5 min 50 sec

Margins 1, 1¼, 1 lengths

1st The Friends’ School – Bow: B. Allenby, 2: K. Gabriel, 3: K. Gourlay, Str: S. D. Wells, Cox: W. Sampson

2nd Clemes College – Bow: F. Headlam, 2: K. Kean, 3: R. Hardy, Str: A. Palfreyman, Cox: J. Risby

3rd St. Virgil’s College – Bow: W. Gurr, 2: J. Donnelly, 3: R. Gilbert, Str: R. Cosgrove, Cox: D. Heritage

4th Hutchins School – Bow: J. Chambers, 2: J. Lord, 3: I. C. Butler, Str: R. E. Rodway, Cox: R. Cane

5th Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: W. Curtis, 2: E. Parker, 3: C. J. Sankey, Str: D. Dugan, Cox: E. Brooks

Second Four

¾ mile

No Time Taken

Margins: 1¼ length, 1 foot

1st Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: D. Gee, 2: S. Clark, 3: L. Wilson, Str: E. Sadler, Cox: B. Bailey

2nd Hutchins School – Bow: R. Hudson, 2: T. Brammall, 3: J. Ireland, Str: J. Davis, Cox: L. Chambers

3rd Clemes College – Bow: R. Stump, 2: H. Marsden, 3: C. Snow, Str: D. B. Palfreyman, Cox: J. Clemes

4th The Friends’ School – Bow: Gourlay, 2: V. Cresse, 3: P. Unwin, Str: R. Wells, Cox: E. Williams

5th St. Virgil’s College –  Bow: K. O’Driscoll, 2: J. McDermott, 3: Athlete Unknown, Str: A. Rapp, Cox: A. Fleming

6th St. Patrick’s College – Bow: J. O’Mara, 2: P. Capper, 3: R. Grant, Str: C. O’Byrne, Cox: T. O’Byrne


HEAD-OF-RIVER. (1932, 25 April), The Mercury, (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 5, Retrieved 11 May 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, June 1932

SCHOOL CREW WHICH BRILLIANTLY WON HEAD-OF-THE-RIVER RACE. (1932, April 25), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 5, Retrieved 11 May 2020, from

< previous 1931

> next 1933

top of page

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management