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History of the Victorian APS Head of the River rowing regatta

1914 Head of the River

Geelong Grammar returned to the winning dais at the forty-seventh Head of the River with a strong race over Scotch College. Geelong College were a further 3/4 length behind. This was Geelong Grammar's first victory in the eight oared races. The heats were conducted on 8th May with the final on 9th May, all on the Upper Yarra course.


Recently left Scotch rower Clive Disher coached the Scotch crew. He was still at University and won the Intervarsity race in the same year.

No second crew races were conducted. 


Starter: T Davies

Umpire: T Crosthwaite

Judge: J Williams

Head of the River

Time: 5:09.2
Margins: 1 1/2 lengths & 3/4 length

1st Geelong Grammar - Bow: K C Webb Ware, 2: F E Webb, 3: W S Kelly, 4: G P Kay, 5: G P Douglass, 6: R L C Hunt, 7: F P Brett, Str: J Webster, Cox: J C FitzNead, Cch: Lt Col A F Garrard
2nd Scotch College - Bow: Dan E MacTaggart, 2: Thomas R Warburton, 3: James D Burns, 4: Alan S Bishop, 5: William B Shaw, 6: Gilmour F Warburton, 7: Leslie F Edmunds, Str: John G Morrison, cox: Albert E McDonald, Cch: Clive H Disher
3rd Geelong College - Bow: A W Gunn, 2: C M Webb, 3: A F Campbell, 4: R S M Mitchell, 5: W J Reid, 6: G S McArthur, 7: A A W Hooper, Str: G A N Mitchell, Cox: R L Crawley, Cch: William H Pincott

The Age reported on the final as follows:

Geelong Grammar School on Saturday afternoon achieved the distinction for the first time in their history of heading the river in the Victorian public schools rowing contest. [Editor: the first eights win.] Competing in the final against Scotch College and Geelong College, the school eight covered the Henley course of a mile in the remarkably fast time of 5 mins 9 1-5th sec, and finished about two lengths ahead of Scotch College, with the rival Geelong crew, another length away, third. …

The Geelong crew forced the pace from the start, and were never once headed. The eight worked together like a machine, and their blade work was splendid. There was never any doubt as to the result once the big bend of the river was turned. The cox steered a beautiful course, and it was a joy to see the swing of the crew and their fine body work as they rowed up the straight. There was no excitement, each man pulled confidently and without apparent exertion. their work was in marked contrast to that of the Scotch College crew, who were by no means the same polished and well drilled combination. Their work was rather rough, and they forced their boat through the water rather than rowed it. They struggled gamely on, but it was a hopeless fight, and at the finish they were seriously challenged for second place. A quarter of a mile from the finishing mark the Geelong College crew were third, half a boots length behind the Scotch crew, They were rowing a good length, and sticking their pace pluckily. Over the last 200 yards they produced an unexpected spirt and caught up the Scotch Collegians, who were then nearly two lengths behind the leader. Their effort might have resulted in their obtaining second place, as the Scotch eight were sorely distressed but unfortunately, in the last 50 yards, with the crew dead level, stroke caught a crab, and Scotch College crew them for second place by a length.

Other crews competing were:
Xavier College - Bow: J Noonan, 2: Thomas Starr, 3: J Kennedy, 4: V Loughnan, 5: T Ryan, 6: W Dixon, 7: Frank McGinnis, Str: Gerald Honan, Cox: F Pianelli, Cch: David Ross
Wesley College - Bow: G G Selleck, 2: W M F Gamble, 3: F M Stirling, 4: D M Morris, 5: Ratu C Viuyasawa, 6: R Parkin, 7: K A Corlett, Str: K F Abernethy, Cox: J Mann, Cch: Charles Donald
Melbourne Grammar - Bow: J D Boydell, 2: A T Cole, 3: A C Begg, 4: H G M Horne, 5: F E M MacKay, 6: E W Austin, 7: J V Wischer, Str: F G Greive, Cox: G P McIntyre, Cch: M Higgins

Heat results:
E1: 1st SC, 2nd MGS. Time: 5:31.0, Margin: 3/4 length. MGS lead early but were overhauled by the SC crew which won by 3/4 length.
E2: 1st GGS, 2nd WC. Time: 5:17.0, Margin: 1/2 length. GGS led to the big bend but took the corner too wide alowing WC back into the race. GGS regained their composure and went onto win by 1/2 length.
E3: 1st GC, 2nd XC. Time: 5:21.0, Margin: 3/4 length. A good race between these two crews which eventually was won GC by 3/4 length.

A brief movie of the crews, the races and the crowds follows.


  • The Pincott Club Handbook 2006
  • 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
  • Appendix to A Deepening Roar Scotch College 1851-2001 by James Mitchell, Allen & Unwin 2001
  • The Scotch Collegian May 1914
  • MGS first crew names from MGS boatshed
  • HEAD OF THE RIVER. (1914, May 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 23. Retrieved March 6, 2017, from
  • HEAD OF THE RIVER. (1914, May 11). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved March 6, 2017, from
  • The Scotch Collegian May 1914

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