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History of the Victorian APS Head of the River rowing regatta

1901 Head of the River

The Headmasters finally agreed for the race to be conducted in eights. The initial advocate for the change was Geelong Grammar but the final decision was made with great support. The crews used clinker built eights with sliding seats.

It was also the year in which the term Head of the River was first used.

The introduction of the eight oared crews was to temporarily bring to an end the second crew racing. This was to be the last second crew race until 1917.

The thirty-fourth Head of the River was rowed on 12th October on the Lower Yarra which enabled a first and final. Wesley won in fine style, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Scotch College.

The winning Wesley crew was coached for the first time by the great Charles Donald. Charles Donald was an oarsman of great repute who became "the Prince of Coaches". He coached Wesley for 40 consecutive years and won 6 times.

The MGS crew contained Stanley Bruce, future Prime Minister of Australia. He was Captain of rowing, football and cricket in this, his final year.

Index to Results:

Charles Donald


Starter: J McFarlane

Umpire: A J Shepherd

Judge: T Davies

Head of the River

Time: NTT
Margins: 1.5 lengths, 2 lengths and 2 feet between 3rd and 4th

1st Wesley College - Bow: Vivian Roy Bradbury, 2: R Bullow, 3: S B Gravenall, 4: E P Holmes, 5: N Cleeland, 6: R C Howell, 7: J Breen, Str: G F S Donaldson, Cox: W Palmer, Cch: Charles Donald
2nd Scotch College - Bow: Charles G Shaw, 2: John A Lees, 3: Joseph Love, 4: Edward P Oldham, 5: Claude H Magennis, 6: George C Ogilvie, 7: William C Knight, Str: Herbert B Shaw, Cox: Hugh W F Mitchell, Cch: Alexander B Sloan
3rd Geelong Grammar - Bow: J G Haines, 2: K C Waldeck, 3: D D Pinnock, 4: G T Griffith, 5: T C Ellis, 6: G R Collins, 7: N S Smith, Str: V H Garde, Cox: S S Lang, Cch: A F Garrard
4th Melbourne Grammar
- Bow: W E Thompson, 2: C Bromby, 3: V Y Kimpton, 4: C H Anderson, 5: W E Moorhouse, 6: Stanley M Bruce, 7: M G Robb, Str: W C H Webb, Cox: R W Heath, Cch: E I Robson

The 1901 Winning Wesley College Crew

Photo from the Wesley College Boatshed

A formal picture of the Wesley Crew

Photo from the Wesley College Boatshed

1901 oar on display in the Wesley Boatshed

Melbourne Grammar Crew

Back row (from left): C. Bromby, C.H. Anderson, V.Y. Kimpton and W.E. Thompson. Seated: S.M. Bruce, W.H. Webb, Mr E.I. Robson, W.G. Robb and W.E. Moorhouse. Out front: R.W. Heath (cox)
Photo cortesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives - Cat No 4525

Second Crews

(This was not conducted as part of the Head of the River regatta but on 3rd May on the Upper Yarra in four oared boats.)

Time: 5:42.8
Margins: 1/2 length and 6 lengths

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: V Y Kimpton, 2: G S Hepburn, 3: M H Robb, Str: W H Webb, Cox: R Heath
2nd Geelong Grammar - Bow: H Haines, 2: L Hamilton, 3: T Ellis, Str: R Collins, Cox: S Lang
3rd Wesley College - Bow: H Lloyd, 2: E T Yandell, 3: T Matthews, Str: R Bollow, Cox: W Palmer


  • The Pincott Club Handbook 2006
  • MGS first crew names from MGS boatshed
  • The Victorian Oarsman by John Lang 1919 - A H Massina & Company
  • Lift her home to victory, lads! A centenary history of Xavier College 1906-2006 by Michael Lefebvre
  • Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar Archives
  • Appendix to A Deepening Roar Scotch College 1851-2001 by James Mitchell, Allen & Unwin 2001
  • Argus Saturday 4th May 1901 page 17,

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