Scroll To Top
History of the Victorian APS Head of the River rowing regatta

1905 Head of the River

The thirty-eighth Head of the River was conducted on the Upper Yarra with a two crew final. The final was a tight race with Wesley prevailing by only a canvas. The heats were condicted on 13th October with the finals the next day on 14th October.



Starter: Mr. W. E. P. Austin (Oxford and Leander)
Umpire: Mr. A. J. Shepherd (Banks B.C.)
Judge: Mr. John Lang (Melbourne University R.C.)

Head of the River

Time: NTT
Margin: One canvas

1st Wesley College - Bow: G J Dawes, 2: H Buley, 3: C C Halkyard, 4: E M L Morgan, 5: F R Du Bourg, 6: Frank Aurley Henry Boynton, 7: N D Murdoch, Str: A G Greenham, Cox: F C Wittmann, Cch: Charles Donald
2nd Melbourne Grammar - Bow: L W Officer, 2: G Ross-Soden, 3: C G Emery, 4: D J Rand, 5: F E Dossetor, 6: Edward R Cordner, 7: Harry Ross-Soden, Str: Simon Fraser, Cox: K McWhae, Cchs: Messrs James M Macfarlane and A J Evans

1905 Wesley College

Melbourne Grammar Crew - Standing: L.W. Officer (bow), C.G. Emery (3), D.J. Rand (4), F.E. Dossetor (5), G. Ross-Soden (2). Sitting: H. Ross-Soden (7), S. Fraser (stroke), E.R. Cordner (6). In front: K. McWhae (cox)

Photo reproduced with permission of MGS archives

The Age reported on the final as follows:

The Grammar School had the north side and Wesley the South, where the water was ruffled a good deal. They got away well together, but the Grammar School forged ahead, propelled with the quick stroke of 36 to the minute, Wesley pulling 32. The ferry was reached with Grammar a canvas to the good, and, going strongly at the pontoon sheds, the lead was increased by half a length, but the effort was destructive to perfection of timing, for the oars dropped a trifle irregularly. Wesley here settled down, and brought their stroke up to the same or quicker time than the opponents, and at the bend drew their boat tip level. Grammar held their own for a while, but the Wesley crew, pulling with exactitude and great power, got a lead, and increased it till they passed the judge a full canvas to the good.

Other crews competing:
Geelong Grammar - Bow: A F S Dobson, 2: J E Roe, 3: S J Manifold, 4: N Davidson, 5: G H Patterson, 6: C P Cooke, 7: J Bell, Str: J H Lindon, Cox: W H Manifold, Cch: Major A F Garrard
Scotch College - Bow: George H A Tickell, 2: Lionel R Morgan, 3: Arthur D Thomas, 4: William G Davies, 5: Geroge G Anderson, 6: Francis P Brown, 7: Charles W B Littlejohn, Str: Norman C Harris, Cox: Albert Wickham, Cch: Alexander B Sloan

E1: 1st MGS, 2nd GGS. Time: 5:32.0. Margin 1 foot
E2: 1st WC, 2nd SC. Time 5:33.0. Margin: 2 lengths

The heats were reported as follows by the Age:

Heat One

Melbourne Grammar School and Geelong Grammar School were 20 minutes late in getting started. The latter had the south side, much preferred by most oarsmen. A good start was effected, and a magnificent struggle ensued. Geelong, a pretty team, stroked more leisurely than their' opponents, doing 38 strokes a minute as against 39. At Brander's Ferry Geelong led by a canvas, and rounding Engineers' Corner neatly they were half a length ahead. The crews were rowing fast and evenly, but some choppy seas in the strait threw' them out. Settling down, a ding dong go ensued. Geelong being a good half length ahead with 100 yards to go. As the crews shot like racehorses past the post there was great outcry as to which had won. Mr. J. Land (M.U.B.C.), the judge, gave the verdict for Melbourne by one foot, the Geelong lads being loudly cheered for their plucky fight.

Heat two

The contest between Scotch College (south side) and Wesley College was a faster race, but it lost attractiveness in furnishing a poor finish. Wesley College looked the heavier and fitter crew, and put their weight cleverly into their work. They maintained a splendid speed throughout, although they stroked only 36, and started with weak timing on the bow side. Scotch College stroked 39, but were too light, and left the impression of being pretty rather than effective. Wesley led by a length at the ferry, and won comfortably by nearly two lengths.


  • 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
  • The Pincott Club Handbook 2006
  • MGS first crew names from MGS boatshed
  • Appendix to A Deepening Roar Scotch College 1851-2001 by James Mitchell, Allen & Unwin 2001
  • PUBLIC SCHOOLS' ROWING. (1905, October 14). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved February 18, 2017, from
  • ROWING. (1905, October 16). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved February 18, 2017, from
  • Picture of WC - WC boatshed

< previous 1904

> next 1906

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management