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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1935 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, May 4 - Derwent River:

First Four:

The 1935 Head of the River regatta was raced on the Derwent River over a mile.  Five crews entered the 1935 edition:

-    Clemes College,

-    The Friends’ School,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

The Mercury reported that conditions were favourable for the crews due to a tailwind and following tide. The race proved to be a thriller with less than two lengths separating the top four crews. From pillar-to-post, St. Virgil’s won their first ever Head of the River since entering in its inaugural year of 1916. It was also St. Virgil’s 25th year since the college opened; its silver jubilee year. St. Virgil’s won by half-a-length from a strong finishing Clemes College. St. Virgil’s barrackers swarmed the Derwent sheds after their historical win of the Golden Fleece Cup. 

Second Four:

The junior race was over a half-mile course, rowing in tub boats. 4 crews started the junior race:

-    Clemes College,

-    The Friends’ School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

Launceston Grammar were successful in winning their second junior race since its inception in 1931, by a 1¼ lengths.


First Four:

The Mercury provided the following report of the 1935 Seniors race: 

“The crews were sent away to an excellent start, and in the sprint over the first couple of hundred yards they rowed almost abreast of each other. St. Virgil's, exhibiting great dash, were the first to show out from Hutchins, Clemes College, Grammar and Friends. After the first quarter of a mile had been covered St. Virgil's had increased its lead to three-quarters of a length, with Hutchins, Clemes and Grammar together and Friends’ last. Hutchins began to move away from the other schools, and before half-a-mile was covered threw out a strong challenge to St. Virgil's. The latter crew, however, sprinted and Hutchins dropped back. Grammar then made a strong effort, but again St. Virgil's met the challenge. Clemes was then in fourth position, but rowing nicely, and Friends were last. Nearing the Naval Jetty, St. Virgil's again began to move away and Hutchins passed Grammar. Clemes, rowing strongly, was close behind Grammar, but Friends had dropped further back. In a thrilling burst to the line Clemes came up on the other crews. Hutchins for a time met the challenge and went ahead of Grammar. St. Virgil's, however, finished strongly and crossed the line with half a length to spare from Clemes, with Hutchins only a canvas further back third. Grammar were three-quarters of a length behind Hutchins, and Friends stopped rowing before the line was reached.”

The close finish of the 1935 Head of the River - St. Virgil's College winning a tight finish
(Source: The Mercury, 6 May 1935)

Winners of the 1935 Golden Fleece Cup for First Fours - St. Virgil's College
(Source: The Mercury, 6 May 1935)

Second Four:

The Mercury also provided this report for the junior race:

“Grammar went out from the start, and although strongly challenged by St. Virgil's at the half-distance they maintained their lead and when the line was crossed had a length-and-a quarter to spare from St. Virgil's. Friends were only a quarter of a length further back, and Clemes were last.”

Organising Committee:

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter: Mr. T. Chaplin

Umpire: Mr. R. Fagg

Judge: Mr. G. Sorell

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1 mile

No Time Taken

Margins: ½ length, 1 canvas, ¾ length 

1st St. Virgil’s College – Bow: G. Davies, 2: J. Condon, 3: T. Calder, Str: D. Heritage, Cox: G. Kilmartin

2nd Clemes College – Bow: J. Clemes, 2: J. Burbury, 3: S. Cooper, Str: R. Innes, Cox: M. Cooper

3rd Hutchins School – Bow: J. Plunkett, 2: D. McLaren, 3: P. Hutchins, Str: D. Warner, Cox: B. Lord

4th Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: E. Brooks, 2: C. L. Davies, 3: T. Cashion, Str: R. Milson, Cox: H. Bennett

5th The Friends’ School – Bow: L. Ralph, 2: F. Bond, 3: H. P. Fitzgerald, Str: V. Button, Cox: A. Gould

Second Four

½ mile

No Time Taken

Margins: 1¼, ¼ lengths

1st Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: B. Wall, 2: B. Dando, 3: O. Deacon, Str: J. Bryant, Cox: R. Lewis

2nd St. Virgil’s College – Bow: M. Briggs, 2: W. Williams, 3: V. Smith, Str: T. Lane, Cox: J. Cooper

3rd The Friends’ School – Bow: O. Gray, 2: K. Elliott, 3: K. Propsting, Str: B. Shoobridge, Cox: D. Geeves

4th Clemes College – (crew unknown)


ROWING. HEAD OF THE RIVER (1935, 6 May), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 10, Retrieved 13 May 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, June 1935

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