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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1938 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, April 2 - Tamar River:

First Four:

The 1938 Head of the River was raced on the Tamar River, starting from North Esk and finishing at Royal Park. 6 crews raced over the one-mile in 1938:

-    Clemes College,

-    Hutchins School,

-    Launceston Church Grammar School,

-    Scotch College, 

-    St. Patrick’s College, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

The 1938 edition once again was an exciting contest, particularly at the finish. The Mercury wrote that Launceston Grammar and Scotch College shot out ahead, making themselves the prime candidates for the victory. At 100 yards to go, Launceston Grammar were ahead by a length before a crew member caught a crab. However, Launceston Grammar recovered well to win the Golden Fleece Cup by ¾’s of a length over Scotch.   

Second Four:

Four crews entered the junior race for 1938 over a half-mile: 

-    Hutchins School

-    Launceston Church Grammar School

-    St. Patrick’s College, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

Launceston Church Grammar won the juniors category for the fourth time in as many years. 


First Four:

The Mercury's account of the 1938 First Four race is below: 

“Grammar, which drew one of the centre positions, jumped away at the start, though the other five crews were quickly in action and pressed Grammar for the lead. Before half-a-mile was covered, however, it was apparent that the race was between Scotch, rowing on the eastern shore, and Grammar. As the crews passed King's Wharf, Grammar had a clear lead from Scotch, with Hutchins holding off the powerful St. Patrick's College crew to retain third position. St. Virgil's began to drop back at this stage and was practically out of the race. At the junction of the rivers Hutchins moved up to challenge Scotch for second position, and Scotch, in turn, sprinted and began to overhaul Grammar. The leaders quickened their stroke and maintained their advantage. The finish was sensational. When Grammar was only 100 yards from the post and was leading Scotch by a length, a man in the middle of the boat "crabbed." The crew floundered and Scotch, quick to appreciate the position, spurted to reduce the lead to half-a-length. It appeared that the Grammar crew were looking out of the boat a little too much, but a costly error was magnificently retrieved. Seeing the race slipping from his grasp, Gilmour, the Grammar stroke, steadied his crew and then sprinted. Scotch was shaken off in a desperate finish and Grammar had three-quarters of a length to spare at the finish. Hutchins, whose form was rather disappointing, was two lengths behind Scotch in third place, and St. Patrick's, Clemes and St. Virgil's were well back and finished in that order.”

Launceston Church Grammar winning the 1938 First Four race by ¾'s of a length over Scotch College
(Source: The Mercury, 4 April 1938)

Winners of the 1938 Golden Fleece Cup for First Four's - Launceston Church Grammar
(Source: The Mercury, 4 April 1938)

Second Four:

The Mercury's account of the 1938 Second Four: 

“As in the Senior race, Grammar led throughout, with Hutchins and St. Virgil's fighting for second place. St. Virgil's occupied second position for most of the journey, but 100 yards from the finish Hutchins, which had always been close handy, sprinted. St. Virgil's tired badly over the concluding stages and Hutchins finished second, a length behind Grammar. St. Patrick's College, the only other starter, tailed off badly and paddled the last half of the course.”

Organising Committee:

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starter: Mr J. Hollingsworth

Umpire: Mr. C. A. Fowler

Judge: Mr. J. E. Heritage

Secretary: W. R. Young

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1 mile

No Time Taken

Margins: ¾, 2 lengths

1st Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: R. F. Thomas, 2: M. Hughes, 3: H. S. Evans, Str: C. Gilmour, Cox: B. Walker, Coaches: A. W. M. Brewer & H. V. Jones

2nd Scotch College – Bow: D. Symonds, 2: R. Hogarth, 3: W. Robinson, Str: D. T. Nicolson, Cox: A. McDonald, Coach: O. Ingles

3rd Hutchins School – Bow: H. Warlow-Davies, 2: J. B. Watchorn, 3: G. Blackwood, Str: G. Ashton-Jones, Cox: G. Young, Coach: W. Taylor

4th St. Patrick’s College – (crew unknown)

5th Clemes College – (crew unknown)

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

Second Four

½ mile

No Time Taken

Margin: 1 length

1st Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: D. Findlay, 2: W. E. Ducrou, 3: W. Lee-Brown, Str: F. Court, Cox: C. Green, Coach: H. V. Jones

2nd Hutchins School – Bow: G. S. Gray, 2: P. W. D. Saunders, 3: C. J. D. Bryan, Str: T. I. Chambers, Cox: R. M. Swan, Coaches: W. Taylor & J. Lord

3rd St. Virgil’s College – Bow: H. Cosgrove, 2: R. Charlesworth, 3: L. Gaunt, Str: D. Cooper, Cox: J. Johnson, Coach: P. Waters

4th St. Patrick’s College – (crew unknown)


Hutchins School Magazine, June 1938

GRAMMAR SCHOOL WINS HEAD-OF-THE-RIVER TITLE (1938, April 4), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 12, Retrieved 18 May 2020, from

GRAMMAR WINS DOUBLE (1938, April 4), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 12, Retrieved 18 May 2020, from

THE SUCCESSFUL GRAMMAR SCHOOL CREW (1938, April 4), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 12, Retrieved 18 May 2020, from

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