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History of the Tasmanian SATIS Head of the River rowing regatta

1947 SATIS Head of the River

Saturday, March 29 - Derwent River 

First Four:

The Derwent River hosted the Head of the River with both schools from the North and South for the first time since 1939. The same 6 crews entered the title race as it did in 1946: 

-    The Friends’ School

-    Hutchins School

-    Launceston Church Grammar School

-    Scotch College

-    St. Patrick’s College, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

Due to a southerly wind, The Mercury reported the usual Royal Hobart Regatta course was changed to the Cornellian Bay one-mile course.  The day was marked by cold weather and continual rain, however, there was still a crowd of 4,000 people on the foreshore. Launceston Church Grammar won the Golden Fleece Cup from pillar-to-post by 6 lengths over Scotch College. It was 2 wins from 2 years since the Head of the River re-amalgamated in 1946.

Second Four:

There were only 5 crews who started in the Second Four race because St. Patrick’s College’s boat was swamped when it was being rowed to the start line. Therefore, the crews that started were:

-    The Friends’ School

-    Hutchins School

-    Launceston Church Grammar School

-    Scotch College, and

-    St. Virgil’s College

There was a strong tussle between Launceston Grammar, Scotch and Hutchins in the first half of the race, but The Mercury explained that Launceston Grammar proved too strong to win comprehensively by 3 lengths.

Third Four:

The thirds category was raced for the first time in the combined North and South Head of the River. 3 crews started: 

-    The Friends’ School 1 & 2, and

-    Hutchins School

The Mercury wrote that Hutchins won by a length over the Friends’ 2 crew.


First Four:

The Mercury reported on Launceston Church Grammar’s dominant win in 1947:

“The six crews representative of the Associated Public Schools got away to a good start in the Head-of-the River event. Grammar took the lead, followed closely by St. Patrick's, Friends', St. Virgil's, Scotch, and Hutchins. After they settled down St. Patrick's and Grammar were almost together, with Friends' and St. Virgil's handy. Scotch was making efforts to catch up with the leaders, but Hutchins was dropping back. About 150 yards from the starting line, Grammar began to draw away from St. Patrick's. Scotch was third half a length behind, with a similar distance to Friends' and St. Virgil's. Hutchins was then well back and appeared to be out of the race. At the half mile Grammar was rowing perfectly with excellent clearance and easy recovery. Scotch was making great efforts to bridge the two-length gap, but even at this stage Grammar appeared in an unassailable position. When Friends' "crabbed" with about 500 yards to go, it lost any chance of gaining second place. Scotch was rowing strongly, but had no chance of overtaking the Grammar crew, which was going away. Rowing like veterans, Grammar went over the line with a lead of six lengths from Scotch, with Friends 1/2 lengths away third. Then followed St. Patrick's, Hutchins, and St. Virgil's.”

Launceston Church Grammar (far right) winning the 1947 Head of the River for First Fours
(Source: The Mercury, 31 March 1947)

Second Four:

The Mercury wrote the account below on the junior race: 

“Over the first quarter-mile there was a keen tussle for supremacy between Grammar, Scotch, and Hutchins. Then Grammar went out to a length lead from Hutchins, and the race resolved itself into a contest between these two schools. St Virgil's was well back and appeared hopelessly out of the race. Undoubtedly due to the strangeness of the course, a handicap for all coxswains, Friends' steered a bad course. Over the finishing line the order was Grammar, Hutchins, Friends', St. Virgil's, and Scotch. Friends' and Scotch finished outside the line and were disqualified. Official margins were three lengths and eight lengths.”

Third Four:

The Mercury wrote that Hutchins won by a length over the Friends’ 2 crew.

Organising Committee:

Tasmanian Rowing Association


Starters & Umpires: Mr. J. Sharp & Major V. Geard

First Four

Golden Fleece Cup

1 mile

No Time Taken

Margins: 6, ½, 1, 1½, 1 lengths

1st Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: N. J. Heyward, 2: B. L. Barnett, 3: R. R. Rolph, Str: B. Balfe, Cox: P. N. Richards

2nd Scotch College – Bow: G. D. Dawson, 2: A. C. Brown, 3: A. C. Mayhead, Str: J. N. L. Banfield, Cox: A. W. Wright

3rd The Friends’ School – Bow: J. Ibbott, 2: L. Brownell, 3: R. Mather, Str: D. Holder, Cox: A. Page

4th Hutchins School – Bow: D. E. Scalfe, 2: C. L. Wood, 3: M. A. Alstergren, Str: P. W. Donovan, Cox: P. Lawrence

5th St. Virgil’s College – Bow: J. Cummins, 2: D. B. Shirley, 3: R. H. Wright, Str: D. Reidy, Cox: J. Mulcahy

6th St. Patrick’s College – Bow: W. Hannah, 2: D. Kirkwood, 3: G. Browne, Str: P. Wern, Cox: W. Tabart

Second Four

½ mile

No Time Taken

Margins: 3, 8 lengths

1st Launceston Church Grammar – Bow: A. C. Cresswell, 2: R. Walker, 3: R. Carter, Str: B. Thomas, Cox: J. R. Peacock

2nd Hutchins School – Bow: M. Wolfhagen, 2: B. Clark, 3: P. Brothers, Str: B. Forster, Cox: D. Calvert

3rd St. Virgil’s College – Bow: J. Green, 2: N. Pigden, 3: L. Cross, Str: G. Waters, Cox: P. Burke

(DSQ) Scotch College – Bow: W. M. Finlay, 2: P. Thompson, 3: J. R. Lawson, Str: L. K. Campbell, Cox: R. J. de Laine

(DSQ) The Friends’ School – Bow: B. Richardson, 2: J. Moon, 3: M. Lester, Str: A. Ray, Cox: G. Davis

Third Four

½ mile

No Time Taken

Margins: 1 length

1st Hutchins School – Bow: R. Cuthbert, 2: R. Lord, 3: K. Hughes, Str: R. Thompson, Cox: P. Hay

2nd The Friends’ School 2 – Bow: D. Salmon, 2: K. Watson, 3: A. Simons, Str: B. Salter, Cox: A. Clennett

3rd The Friends’ School 1 – Bow: B. Archer, 2: A. Walton, 3: D. Sargeson, Str: E. Hall, Cox: P. Hay


GRAMMAR OUTCLASSES RIVALS IN HEAD-OF-RIVER (1947, 31 March), The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860 – 1954), p. 19, Retrieved 3 June 2020, from

GRAMMAR WINS HEAD OF RIVER (1947, 31 March), Advocate (Burnie, Tas.: 1890 – 1954), p. 7, Retrieved 3 June 2020, from

Hutchins School Magazine, June 1947

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