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History of the Victorian APS Head of the River rowing regatta

1870 Head of the River

The third Head of the River race was conducted on 24th June 1870. It was originally scheduled for 16th June but the Scotch College crew needed a substitute for the two man who had been injured at football.

This was resounding win for Melbourne Grammar who led all the way in their first win.

This was despite the Scotch crew containing both the winning stroke and coach from the crew of the previous year.

A view of the Yarra River looking east from Prince's Bridge late in 1870


Starter: Prof Martin Howy Irving
Umpire: Mr J H Hood
Judge: Mr James Mitchell


Head of the River

Time: 8:14.0
Margin: 4 lengths

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: J F Hamilton, 2: G F Armytage, 3: J J Smith, Str: S Seward, Cox: A J Manifold, Cch: A Nicholls
2nd Scotch College - Bow: Jerry G Ware, 2: John R Campbell, 3: Alfred W Logan, Str: John Catto, Cox: Charles M J Edwards, Cch: John C Johnstone

The Australasian reported on the race.

…The course was the usual regatta one, except that the winning-post was down stream, at Edward’s, the race being with the current instead of against it. After some delay at the starting post, Professor Irving, who kindly acted as starter, let the two off well together, neither of the boats however being properly handled. The Grammar School, rowing much quicker stroke, soon pushed ahead, and rounded the baths a length clear. This distance was gradually increased till they passed the judge between three and four lengths clear. Time: 8 min 15 sec.


  • The Victorian Oarsman by John Lang 1919 - A H Massina & Company
  • Appendix to A Deepening Roar Scotch College 1851-2001 by James Mitchell, Allen & Unwin 2001
  • THE SCHOOLS' RACE. (1870, June 25). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 12. Retrieved April 16, 2017, from
  • Photo from the Lindblade Collection, Mercantile Rowing Club
  • MGS first crew names from MGS boatshed

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