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History of the Victorian APS Head of the River rowing regatta

1952 Head of the River

The eighty-fifth Head of the River on the Barwon produced another win for Scotch. Future Olympians David Boykett (Scotch) and James Howden (Geelong College) competed as did future Australian representative Ian Douglas (Geelong Grammar).

Gordon Sargood coached at Melbourne Grammar for the first time.

Head of the River

Time: 4:45.0
Margins: 1/3 length and 1 3/4 length

Losers final
Time: 4:53.4
Margins: 1/2 length and 1 1/2 lengths

1st Scotch College - Bow: Robert J Grant, 2: Christopher R Wood, 3: Arthur M O Wardrop, 4: Leonard D Fisher, 5: John D Scarborough, 6: David H Boykett, 7: Robert G M Yorston, Str: Geoffrey N J Anderson, Cox: Richard G Hyett, Cch: Charles G Saleh
2nd Geelong College - Bow: F A J Dearnaley, 2: E L Partridge, 3: P W Raymond, 4: N T Campbell, 5: A W Jones, 6: James G Howden, 7: J M Buntine, Str: I W Macmillan, Cox: I T Sutherland, Cch: Albert B Bell
3rd Geelong Grammar - Bow: H W W Hopkins, 2: W R R Beggs, 3: M S Inglis, 4: S N John, 5: M M Minter, 6: H J Stubbings, 7: Ian E Douglas, Str: E V Vine, Cox: W L Dubois, Cch: John E L Barber

The Age repored as follows.

A crowd of 18,000 watched the race.

From the mill, Scotch’s lead was challenged by Geelong College, but the unruffled Cardinals maintained their perfect stroking to win in 4min 45 sec.

Although a brisk westerly and choppy water made the starter’s job difficult, the crews got away well, rating 38.

Scotch quickly went to a half-length lead. The three crews quickened their rating at the half mile post, and the powerful Scotch eight increased its lead slightly.

Approaching the mill, GGS made an effort, but could not maintain it. Geelong College began its sprint with a rating of 40 and forced the pace towards the finish, but could not catch Scotch.

Scotch won by one-third of a length to Geelong College, with Geelong Grammar 1 ¾ lengths farther back. Time 4 min 45 sec.

Scotch College 1st Crew

Photo: The Scotch Collegian June 1952

Losers Final
1st Wesley College - Bow: I R Gordon, 2: R V sarah, 3: I W G Phillips, 4: A R Boyd, 5: A W Mayer, 6: N F Stacey, 7: R H Blyth, Str: J D Haig, Cox: E C Blainey, Cch: Alan W Mitchell
2nd Melbourne Grammar
- Bow: J M Seccull, 2: C J Smith, 3: J B Houghton, 4: S D L Carnegie, 5: C R Ward-Ambler, 6: R B Gowan, 7: E R McKay, Str: R H Graystone, Cox: S Seward, Cch: Gordon Sargood
3rd Xavier College
- Bow: B F O'Halloran, 2: B J Lynch, 3: K F Kost, 4: F J Donovan, 5: A E Sullivan, 6: J A Healy, 7: R J O'Bryan, Str: Joe X Mulcahy, Cox: P A Hoppe, Cch: Jack Coghlan

Heat results:
E1: 1st SC, 2nd WC Time: 4:55.2, Margin: 3/4 length
E2: 1st GC, 2nd MGS Time: 4:52.6, Margin: 1 1/2 lengths
E3: 1st GGS, 2nd XC, Time: 4:56.8, Margin: 1 3/4 lengths

The heats were reported by The Age as follows.

First Heat - Scotch v Wesley

Scotch took the lead soon after the start. At the ¼ mile mark Scotch was a third of a length in front, and increased the distance at the half-mile post. Wesley made a valiant attempt just before the Mill, but could not make any impression.

Scotch won by ¾ of a length in 4min 55.2sec.

Second Heat Geelong College v MGS

MGS, with short stroking, fought for an early lead, but the clean, long-stroking Geelong eight went to a half-length advantage before the half-mile post. This lead was lengthened before the finish.

College won by 1 ½ lengths in 4min 52.4sec.

Third Heat GGS v Xavier

Geelong Grammar shot to a half-length lead in the first 200 yards. Xavier reduced the distance slowly but was straining to keep up.
Towards the half-mile post Xavier had tired and fallen one and a quarter lengths behind. The Grammar crew maintained its pace to the finish.

GGS won by 1 ¾ lengths in 4min 56.8sec.

Second Crews

Time: 2:27.2
Margins: Canvas and 1/2 length

Losers final
Time: 2:31.8
Margins: 2 lengths and 1/2 length

1st Melbourne Grammar
2nd Scotch College - Bow: I C Paterson, 2: G O Carr, 3: C D Loosemore, 4: J S Lawson, 5: R B Hatherly, 6: G S Day, 7: A D M Green, Str: D J Roberts, Cox: A E Wood, Cch: L H Christie
3rd Geelong College

Scotch College Second Crew

Photo: The Scotch Collegian June 1952

Losers final
1st Geelong Grammar
2nd Wesley College
3rd Xavier College
- Bow: N Regan, 2: L Hart, 3: B O'Dwyer, 4: K Andrews, 5: J Chappell, 6: G Elliott, 7: R Galbraith, Str: F Dixon, Cox: A Macleod, Cch: K Corridon

E1: 1st MGS, 2nd XC Time: 2:32.0, Margin: 1 length
E2: 1st GC, 2nd WC, Time: 2:33.4, Margin: 3/4 length
E3: 1st SC, 2nd GGS, Time: 2:30.5, Margin: 3/4 length

Third Crews

Time: 2:40.0
Margin: Canvas

Losers final
Time: 2:39.6
Margins: canvas and 1/2 length

1st Xavier College - Str: John Healy, Cch: Fr Pip O'Mahony
2nd Geelong Grammar
3rd Wesley College

Losers final
1st Geelong College
2nd Melbourne Grammar
3rd Scotch College
- Bow: D E Grant, 2: I C Teague, 3: R J O'Neill, 4: B C Dodd, 5: J A Rickard, 6: J D Hawes, 7: J N Box, Str: G W H Chambers, Cox: G J Henderson, Cch: M D G Murray

E1: 1st WC, 2nd MGS, Time: 2:34.6, Margin: 1/2 length
E2: 1st XC, 2nd SC, Time: 2:39.0, Margin: 1/3 length
E3: 1st GGS, 2nd GC, Time: 2:33.4, Margin: Canvas


  • The Pincott Club Handbook 2006
  • 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
  • HEAD-OF-THE-RIVER (1952, April 19). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from
  • HEAD-OF-THE-RIVER (1952, April 21). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from

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