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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1937 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, March 20 - Derwent River:

First Four:

The 1937 Head of the River was raced on the Government House course, which was one-mile long. 6 crews contested for the Golden Fleece Cup:

-    Clemes College,

-    The Friends’ School,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School,

-    St. Patrick’s College, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

Like the year prior, this race was widely considered from various reports such as The Mercury and The Advocate as one of the “most exciting finishes ever witnessed” at the Tasmanian Head of the River, with the top 4 crews finishing within half-a-length. Ultimaely, Hutchins edged The Friends’ School by just four feet. Clemes were a similar distance in third, and Grammar were only another two feet back in 4th. This was Hutchins first win in 4 years, and their first success on the Derwent since 1923. 

Second Four:

Four crews entered in the Junior race, which was a half-mile course: 

-    The Friends’ School

-    Hutchins School

-    Launceston Church Grammar School

-    St. Patrick’s College

Launceston Grammar won the Second Four race for the third year-in-a-row by 3 lengths.


First Four:

The Mercury provided the following report of the enthralling race: 

"The crews were sent away to a good start, and over the first hundred yards or so rowed blade for blade. After they had settled down Friends were the first to show out with St. Virgil's close handy. Hutchins soon afterwards commenced to move up, with Grammar and Clemes having a great duel right on the sterns of the leading crews, and St. Virgil's and St. Patrick's dropping back. At the half-distance Friends had a slight lead over Hutchins. Clemes appeared then to strike a bad patch and momentarily dropped back. Grammar was then a length further back, with St. Virgil's and St. Patrick's a little distance further behind. Racing for the line, Hutchins and Friends were almost on level terms, with Clemes right up on the two leading crews, and Grammar, which increased its rate of striking, putting in a great finish. The final burst provided the crowd with tremendous excitement. Hutchins were being strongly challenged, but their last stroke carried them across the line with four feet to spare from Friends, with Clemes another four feet back in third position and Grammar a couple of feet further back fourth. St. Virgil's and St. Patrick's had a great tussle for fifth place, the former crew, which was 1 length behind Grammar, finishing a canvas ahead of St. Patrick's."

The finish of the 1937 Head of the River for First Fours. 4 crews separated by just half-a-length
(Source: The Mercury, 22 March 1937)

Winners of the 1937 Golden Fleece Cup for First Fours - Hutchins School
(Source: The Mercury, 22 March 1937)

Second Four:

The Mercury wrote of the Second Four race: 

“Grammar was easily the smartest crew in the race, and soon after the start went to the front. It steadily increased its lead over Friends', which crew tired badly towards the finish. Hutchins dropped back early. Grammar went on to win by three lengths from St. Patrick's, who were half a length in front of Friends', with Hutchins another two lengths further back last."

Organising Committee:

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter & Umpire: Mr. A. White

Judge: Mr. E. Bessell

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1 mile

No Time Taken

Margins: 4 feet, 2 feet, 2 feet, 1 length, 1 canvas

1st Hutchins School – Bow: J. H. Templeman, 2: G. Ashton-Jones, 3: G. G. Blackwood, Str: D. L. McKean, Cox: R. M. Bluck, Coaches: W. Taylor & M. Stops

2nd The Friends’ School – Bow: H. N. Creese, 2: P. T. Griffiths, 3: A. Frodsham, Str: R. Johnston, Cox: W. Vaughan, Coach: L. R. Marsh

3rd Clemes College – Bow: G. Bradshaw, 2: P. Smith, 3: G. Holmes, Str: J. Clemes, Cox: G. Young, Coach: A. Palfreyman

4th Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: I. Hallam, 2: J. F. Williams, 3: O. F. Deacon, Str: L. N. Mackinnon, Cox: F. Court, Coaches: A. Brewer & H. V. Jones

5th St. Virgil’s College – Bow: B. Johnston, 2: A. Heritage, 3: K. Kelly, Str: P. Lane, Cox: P. Scanlon, Coach: Mr. P. Walters

6th St. Patrick’s College – Bow: S. Hayden, 2: K. Bennet, 3: J. Loughry, Str: J. Faux, Cox: M. Thomas, Coach: Mr. M. Ford

Second Four

½ mile

No Time Taken

Margins: 3, ½, 2 lengths

1st Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: N. Hughes, 2: W. Leo-Brown, 3: H. Evans, Str: C. Gilmour, Cox: P. Lord, Coaches: H. V. Jones & A. Brewer

2nd St. Patrick’s College – Bow: L. Kilby, 2: W. Sheedy, 3: L. Bower, Str: N. Foley, Cox: D. Elwell, Coach: M. Ford

3rd The Friends’ School – Bow: M. Geeves, 2: D. Huxley, 3: B. Elliott, Str: A. Ferguson, Cox: J. Nicholas, Coach: J. Battray-Smith

4th Hutchins School – Bow: S. R. Ikin, 2: T. I. Chambers, 3: F. W. T. Colwell, Str: H. Warlow-Davies Cox: D. James, Coaches: W. Taylor & M. Stops


HEAD OF THE RIVER. (1937, 22 March), Advocate (Burnie, Tas.: 1890 – 1954), p. 5, Retrieved 18 May 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, June 1937

SCHOOLBOY OARSMAN FIGHT OUT THRILLING FINISH (1937, 22 March), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 12, Retrieved 18 May 2020, from

SCHOOL CREWS’ GRUELLING CONTEST (1937, 22 March), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 12, Retrieved 18 May 2020, from

SUPREME ON THE RIVER! (1937, 22 March), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 12, Retrieved 18 May 2020, from

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