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

1908 Head of the River

The forty-first Head of the River was conducted on the Upper Yarra on the new Henley course. The new course enabled a final containing three crews.

The very succesful Henley on the Yarra Regatta enabled many other river improvements to be made to the area of the Henley staging and Henley lawns. This followed the significant changes to the course of the river made last in the last century.

Geelong College joined the Head of the River in fine style finishing second behind Scotch College.

The six schools now enabled three heats of two crews and a three crew final. This system continued until 1961 except for the war years of 1942 and 1943.

A losers final was introduced in 1943.


Starter: T Davies

Umpire: A J Shepherd

Judge: C McDonnell

Clerk of Scales: P C Dowling

Head of the River

Time: 4:59.0
Margin: 2 lengths and 5 lengths

1st Scotch College - Bow: Clive S Steele, 2: P Athol H J Harding, 3: Ashley R Grist, 4: Keith M Edmunds, 5: Albert E V Hartkopf, 6: Olaf F de Lacy, 7: Frank O Robertson, Str: Howard C Morrison, Cox: William C Totton, Cch: Alexander B Sloan. Average: 11st 13 1/4 lb
2nd Geelong College - Bow: J V Pearce, 2: J G Kininmonth, 3: E J Phillips, 4: J D Blair, 5: P G Pullar, 6: W B McCulloch, 7: J B Gibson, Str: G C McNeilage, Cox: G D Atherton, Cch: William H Pincott. Average: 11st 1lb
3rd Xavier College - Bow: Edgar W Burne, 2: H E Caulfield, 3: T J O'Brien, 4: I J Whitty, 5: S M Alston, 6: P J Morrissey, 7: R P MacGillicuddy, Str: Gordon T Kirby, Cox: A Cussen, Cch: Jack Fogarty. Average: 10st 7lb

1908 Xavier Crew

Photo reproduced from "Lift her home to victory, lads, a centerary history of Xavier College Rowing" by Michael Lefebvre

The Age reported on the final as follows:

The starting positions were:— Xavier College, north side; Geelong College, centre; Scotch College, south side.

Mr. Davies affected an excellent start, the three crews dashing off together. In a few strokes the boat of the Scotch College had been forged ahead, and was a few feet in advance of the Geelong College boat as the crews passed under the Monier bridge. Xavier College crew were outpaced from the start. Gradually the Scotch College crew forged ahead, but the Geelong College eight, rowing well and gamely, pressed the leaders hard and made an excellent race. The Scotch College crew, however, were so powerful, and rowed so solidly, that victory was theirs, barring an accident, when half the course had been rowed. Scotch College had gained a length, and before the finishing line was reached there was a clear length between the stern of the lending boat and the bow of the Geelong College craft. Scotch College won by two lengths from Geelong College, and about five lengths from Xavier College. The time –recorded was 4 mins 59 sec.

Other crew competing were:
Geelong Grammar - Bow: F Austin, 2: F H Lascelles, 3: B W Briggs, 4: C N Armytage, 5: E L Smith, 6: A G Hunter, 7: W H Godby, Str: J E Roe, Cox: R H Chomley, Cch: Major A F Garrard. Average: 10st 12 3/4 lb
Melbourne Grammar - Bow: F G Moule, 2: A F Jolley, 3: K G Jamieson, 4: E S Anderson, 5: Harry Latham Baillieu, 6: W P Austin, 7: C L Baillieu, Str: C M Williams, Cox: I C Watt, Cch: H J Whiting, Average: 11st 8lb
Wesley College - Bow: R G Heley, 2: H L Rintel, 3: L Levy, 4: H S Dickinson, 5: J L Sandford, 6: L A Pattinson, 7: J D Newham, Str: J A Prout, Cox: F C Wittmann, Cch: Charles Donald. Average: 11st 1 1/4lb

Melbourne Grammar Crew - Standing: A. F. Jolley (2), F.G. Moule (bow), K.G. Jamieson (3). Sitting: H.L. Baillieu (5), C.L. Baillieu (7), C.M. Williams (stroke), W.P. Austin (6), E.S. Anderson (4). In front: I.C. Watt (cox)

Photo reproduced with permission from MGS archives

Known heat results:
E1: 1st XC, MGS disqualified, see below for details.
E2: 1st GC, 2nd WC. Margin: 1 1/4 lengths
E3: 1st SC, 2nd GGS. Margin: 2 1/2 lengths

The heats brought out some very interesting results. Melbourne Grammar met a maligned Xavier crew in the heat. Xavier had a fast start and maintained a lead into the final stages of the race. Melbourne Grammar were beginning to overhaul the Xavierians, when the Grammar cox steered off course, causing a clash with Xavier and for Xavier to stop rowing. Melbourne Grammar won by a canvas. A protest by Xavier was upheld and Xavier raced in their first final.

The second heat was a splendid race for thre quarters of the distance, after which the Geelong College crew forged ahead and won by a bit over a length.

The third heat saw Scotch College row with much greater power and steadiness than their rivals and won by over 2 lengths.


  • 1908 program
  • 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
  • Newspaper reports including ROWING. (1908, October 12). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from

< previous 1907

> next 1909

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management