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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1936 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, April 4 - Tamar River:

First Four:

The 1936 Head of the River was raced on the one-mile course on the Tamar River. For the first time since 1919, seven crews raced. This was the first time St. Patrick’s College were vying for the Golden Fleece Cup since 1928:

-    Clemes College,

-    The Friends’ School,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School,

-    Scotch College, 

-    St. Patrick’s College, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

The weather conditions were ideal, with The Mercury describing that there were spectators spread from the cattle jetty to the Northern end of Royal Park. Launceston Church Grammar took the early lead, before being hauled back by both Clemes College and Hutchins School around the half-mile. However, Launceston Grammar had one more burst which overtook Hutchins, then, right on the line, inched past Clemes. Launceston Grammar won the Golden Fleece Cup, for the first time in 11 years, by 3 feet over Clemes. 

Second Four:

The junior race was raced over a half-mile course. Four crews entered the race: 

-    The Friends’ School

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School, and

-    Scotch College

Launceston Grammar and Friends’ contested for the majority of the race but Launceston Grammar ultimately won by 1¼ lengths. It was the first time that Launceston Church Grammar school won both the First and Second Four at the Head of the River.


First Four:

The Mercury described the tight racing below: 

“The seven crews got away to a splendid start, and St. Virgil's and Clemes, on the western shore were the first to show out. In the first dozen strokes these two crews opened up a lead of about a canvas from Hutchins, Grammar, Friends', Scotch, and St Patrick's College. St Patrick's, however, soon tailed off. Approaching the northern end of King's Wharf Grammar, which had the position nearest the eastern shore, went to the front, and led Clemes and Hutchins by half a length, with Friends' and Scotch on even terms close handy. St. Virgil's weakened considerably at this stage. Grammar was rowing a fairly fast stroke, and the men were sitting their boat well, putting straight backs into the stiff breeze. Scotch was rowing strongly, but not evenly, and Clemes, with relaxed backs, appeared to be rowing a style something like the Fairbairn. St. Virgil's was getting very little run on its boat, and appeared rather sluggish. As the race progressed past King's Wharf Clemes and Hutchins set out after Grammar, and quickly overhauled it. In a desperate battle for the lead Clemes and Hutchins, locked to- gether, left Grammar nearly a length behind at the junction of the North and South Esk rivers. The two leading crews were very close' together at this stage, and appeared to touch each other. With a quarter of a mile to go, Grammar, which had been rowing confidently and easily throughout, commenced its devastating burst, and the cheering was deafening as the three leading crews flashed past two moored barges, which were crowded with supporters inch by inch Grammar crept up on Hutchins, which was weakening appreciably under the strain, and, passing this crew, set off after Clemes. Grammar wore down Clemes almost on the finishing line to win by 3ft., with Hutchins nearly a length further back.”

Launceston Church Grammar (nearest) winning the 1936 Golden Fleece Cup for First Four's by just 3 feet
(Source: The Examiner, 6 April 1936)

Winners of the 1936 Golden Fleece Cup for First Fours - Launceston Church Grammar
(Source: The Mercury, 6 April 1936)

Second Four:

The Mercury filed the following report for the Second Four race of 1936: 

“Four crews, Grammar. Scotch, Hutchins, and Friends, faced the starter for the Junior Head-of-the-River, and Grammar and Friends' quickly drew away from the other two crews. Grammar and Friends' fought a duel almost the full length of the course, but nearing the finish Grammar drew ahead to win comfortably by a length and a quarter. Scotch was a length and a half behind Friends' In third place, and Hutchins was fourth.”

Organising Committee:

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter: Mr. W. R. Young

Umpire: Mr. G. Clifford

Judge: Mr. J. E. Heritage

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1 mile

No Time Taken

Margins: 3 feet, ½ length

1st Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: R. Marshall, 2: L. McKinnon, 3: O. Deacon, Str: E. Brooks, Cox: L. Lewis

2nd Clemes College – Bow: G. Holmes, 2: M. Griggs, 3: B. Dickson, Str: J. Clemes, Cox: R. Sharp

3rd Hutchins School – Bow: J. R. Jones, 2: D. L. McKean, 3: G. M. Whitehouse, Str: F. D. Ward, Cox: A. Page

4th Scotch College – (crew unknown)

5th The Friends’ School – (crew unknown)

6th St. Virgil’s College – (crew unknown)

7th St. Patrick’s College – (crew unknown)

Second Four

½ mile

No Time Taken

Margins: 1¼, ¼ lengths

1st Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: R. Cummins, 2: C. Gilmour, 3: M. Williams, Str: P. Sadler, Cox: F. Court

2nd The Friends’ School – Bow: B. Elliott, 2: N. Creese, 3: P. Griffiths, Str: A. Ferguson, Cox: M. Geeves

3rd Scotch College – Bow: L. Cocker, 2: J. Bell, 3: E. Padman, Str: W. Stephens, Cox: H. E. Bailey

4th Hutchins School – Bow: D. Barkley, 2: R. O. Cracknell, 3: I. Grant, Str: W. E. Reeve, Cox: D. Eldershaw


CHURCH GRAMMAR SCHOOL BEATS CLEMES IN GOOD FINISH (1936, 6 April), Examiner (Launceston, Tas.: 1900 – 1954), p. 11, Retrieved 13 May 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, June 1936

ROWING. HEAD-OF-THE-RIVER TITLE (1936, 6 April), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 12, Retrieved 13 May 2020, from

SUCCESSFUL LAUNCESTON CHURCH GRAMMAR SCHOOL CREW (1936, 6 April), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 12, Retrieved 13 May 2020, from

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