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History of the Victorian APS Head of the River rowing regatta

1894 Head of the River

Geelong Grammar continues the winning streak, with the second of three victories in a row. This time it is coached by the great Stephen Fairbairn.

The twenty-seventh Head of the River was rowed on the Barwon on 18th and 19th May.

The Geelong crew led from the start and won easily by 3 lengths.

Index to Results:


Starter: Mr C Shannon

Umpire: Mr George E Upward

Judge: M H P Douglas

Head of the River

Time: 7:17.0
Margin: 2 lengths

1st Geelong Grammar - Bow: R M Williams, 2: C E Bailey, 3: J Parker, Str: R Turnbull, Cox: E R White, Cch: Stephen Fairbairn (although The Argus reports the coaches of this crew as Messrs Garrard and Cuthbertson)
2nd Melbourne Grammar - Bow: F G F Lavender, 2: P H C Shaw, 3: E O Anderson, Str: H A Anderson, Cox: S C Jones, Cch: A S Workman

Melbourne Grammar Crew First Crew

Back row (from left): F.G. Lavender and P.H. Shaw. Middle row: H.A. Anderson, Mr A.S. Workman and E.O. Anderson. Out front: S. Jones (cox)
Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives - Cat No 4522

The Age reported on the final in the following way:

The final heat of these races was rowed on Saturday afternoon on the Barwon River at Geelong between the Geelong and Melbourne Grammar School crews. The start was made shortly before 3 o’clock. The Geelong crew secured a lead of a few feet in the first ¼ mile, but the Melbourne boys pluckily contested every stroke, and the race was most interesting until the bridge was reached, where the local crew forged further ahead, and won by nearly two lengths. The course was one mile and a quarter, and the time recorded for the winners was 7 min 17 sec.

Other crews competing:
Scotch College - Bow: Cyril V Staples, 2: Alfred F A Selle, 3: George S Strachan, Str: Alfred G Johnson, Cox: John Kirk, Cch: Stephen J Morell
Wesley College - Bow: W A McLean, 2: H Osborne, 3: P J Ferguson, Str: H J W Hughes, Cox: J L Johnson, Cch: E A Derrick

E1: 1st MGS, 2nd SC, Time: 7:38, Margin: 3/4 length. SC led early but it's bow side fell apart and resulted in an easy win of three lengths to Melbourne.
E2: 1st GGS, 2nd WC, Time: 7:25, Margin: 1 length. The poor Wesley steering was cited as the reason for the Wesley loss.

The Age reported on the heats as follows:

First Heat
Scotch College v MGS

Shortly after the start Scotch took the lead and seemed to have victory in hand, when MGS gradually pulled up to their opponents, and forging ahead passed under the bridge nearly a length ahead, and won by nearly ¾ of a length in 7 min 38 sec.

Second Heat
Wesley College v Geelong Grammar

The School crew (Geelong) soon got a lead of a ¼ of a length, but they could not get any further ahead until the mile had been covered, when they went further ahead and won by a full length in 7 min 25 sec.

Photographed at Geelong Grammar Boatsheds

Second Crews

(This was not raced at the Head of the River regatta but on the Barwon on 12th October 1894.)

Time: 5:55.0
Margin: 2 1/2 lengths

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: H C Skene, 2: M C Lidwell, 3: H E Brooks, Str: S T Staughton, Cox: K S Cross, Cch: A J Evans
2nd Geelong Grammar - Bow: E Crosthwaite, 2: E Austin, 3: N Calvert, Str: A Turnbull, Cox: E White

Melbourne Grammar Second Crew

From left: S.T. Staughton, M.C. Lidwell, Mr A.J. Evans, H.C. Skene and H.E. Brookes. Out front: K. Cross (cox)
Photo reproduced with permission from MGS archives- Cat No 4288

The Geelong Advertiser reported as follows:

Both crews led out at over 40 strokes to the minute, and Melbourne were about a ¼ of a length astern as the Austral Mills. Approaching Pakington-Street, the half mile point, the two crews raced level, but after that point the Melbourne Boys, rowing decidedly stronger, drew away, and, in spite of the efforts of the Geelong crew, reached the bridge two lengths ahead of their opponents. Time 5 min 55 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 Pincott Club Handbook 2006
  • Scotch Collegian magazine 1934
  • MGS first crew names from MGS boatshed
  • Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar Archives
  • ROWING. (1894, May 19). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved March 30, 2017, from
  • PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOAT RACE. (1894, May 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 10. Retrieved March 30, 2017, from
  • ROWING. (1894, May 21). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 30, 2017, from
  • ROWING. (1894, October 13). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1929), p. 3. Retrieved March 30, 2017, from
  • Photo copied from GGS boatshed

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