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History of the Victorian APS Head of the River rowing regatta

1895 Head of the River

The twenty-eighth Head of the River was conducted on the Lower Yarra with a four crew first & final on 17th May.

Geelong Grammar won by two lengths. Scotch had the better of the start and Scotch and Geelong left the other crews well from the start. Scotch were well in front by 3/4 mile mark but lost their form. The lower rating Geelong crew rowed past them to win easily. A crab by the two seat of the Scotch crew added to the loss.

Geelong Grammar also started a long run of victories in the second eights.

Index to Results:


Starter: Mr Harold A C Irving

Umpire: Dr G A Brown

Judge: Mr Rawdon Chamley

Head of the River

Time: NTT
Margins: 3, 3 & 4 lengths

1st Geelong Grammar - Bow: R M Williams, 2: A W Turnbull, 3: J Parkin, Str: R L Calvert, Cox: E R White, Cch: James L Cuthbertson 
 2nd Scotch College - Bow: Alastair G Marshall, 2: Robert Ingram, 3: Henry C Clowes, Str: Alfred G Johnson, Cox: John Kirk, Cch: Stephen Morell 
3rd Melbourne Grammar - Bow: R G Todd, 2: Mark C Lidwill, 3: H E Brooks, Str: E O Anderson, Cox: K S Cross, Cch: A J Evans
4th Wesley College
- Bow: J Watmuff, 2: E M Bunn, 3: N G Robertson, Str: H J W Hughes, Cox: H Clements, Cch: E M Derrick 

Melbourne Grammar Crew - Back row (from left): R.G. Todd and M.C. Lidwill. Seated: E.O. Anderson, Mr A.J. Evans and H.E. Brooks. Out front: K.S. Cross (cox)

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives - Cat No: 4523

The Argus reported as follows:

The 28th four-oared race between the public schools first crews took place on the River Yarra yesterday.

The draw for positions resulted in Geelong Grammar having the north shore, with Wesley next, Scotch at no.3 station and MGS on the south. The race was upstream for a mile and a quarter from the city end of the Coode Canal. The boats were sent away very punctually, each striking about 40 per minute, the Scotch got away first, followed by MGS and Wesley. The Geelong boat was not straight, and they suffered a bad start, but they were soon in full cry, and rapidly overhauled Wesley and MGS, the latter steering widely. The Scotch crew rowed with great vigour, making the best of their good start. About a third of a mile from the start Scotch were about half a length ahead of both Grammar schools, and Wesley were already a length behind. Excitement was high at this stage, when the race was very open, but as they drew near Huddart Parker’s coal shed MGS dropped back. There was a hard fight to the half-way punt on the course, but the Scotch were still a quarter of a length in front, though getting tired. The long stroke of the Geelong crew lifted them slowly ahead, so that coming to the lower swing-basin they got their nose in front, and before reaching the open water they were half a length to the good. The Scotch stroke determined to die hard, and spurted, but the only result was to hold the same position for a few moments. When this effort had died away the Geelong shot ahead, and when they passed Mr. Rawdon Chomley, the judge, they were two and a half lengths ahead of Scotch, the Grammar school being three lengths further astern, Wesley about ten.

Second Crews

(This was not raced at the Head of the River regatta but on Albert Park Lake on 11th October 1895.)

Time: NTT
Margins: 2 lengths and 4 lengths

1st Geelong Grammar - Bow: N Miller, 2: J Wallace, 3: C Irvine, Str: T Collins, Cox: E White
2nd Melbourne Grammar - Bow: E Miller, 2: C Marriott-Watson, 3: R Sanderson, Str: H Skene, Cox: K S Cross
3rd Wesley College - Bow: B Dinsmore, 2: J Anderson, 3: H Walduck, Str: L Kidd

The Argus reported on this race as follows:

The 18th annual race between the second crews of the public schools was held on the Albert Park Lagoon yesterday, and resulted in a win for the Geelong Grammar boys.

The starter having given the word to go, the Geelong boys on the farthest station, immediately forged ahead, and after the first 10 strokes led by a length from Melbourne and Wesley. After a quarter of a mile had been traversed the Wesley boys fell back, and thenceforth were hopelessly out of the hunt. Leaving the half mile post the dark blues began to draw on the leaders, but No. 3 in their boat caught two “crabs” in quick succession, and thereby lost his side two lengths. After this the Geelong boys, steering wise, were never pressed, though the Melbourne Crew, led by Skene their stroke, were getting more lift out of their boat than their opponents, and were rapidly overhauling them. The judge’s decision was – Geelong first, by two lengths to MGS, Wesley four lengths away third. Mr. Harold Irving acted as starter, Mr. J. Champion as starter, and Rev F. Sargeant as judge.


  • 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
  • MGS first crew names from MGS boatshed
  • Scotch Collegian magazine 1935
  • Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar Archives
  • ROWING. (1895, May 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 8. Retrieved March 31, 2017, from
  • ROWING. (1895, October 12). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 4. Retrieved March 31, 2017, from

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