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History of Ballarat Head of the Lake rowing regatta

1923 Ballarat Head of the Lake

Another win for Grammar this year with the regatta conducted on Saturday 20th October. Second crews also raced.

The Head of the Lake contest, from modest beginnings, has year by year, been growing in public interest and importance, until now it is regarded as the next aquatic event of the year to Ballarat regatta, was decided on Saturday under ideal conditions. The schools and their supporters were indeed fortunate in having such a glorious day, the sun shone brightly and there was just a ripple on the water, sufficient to make it perfect for rowing. Star 22/10/1923

The first crew race was won by Grammar and this year saw the addition of a race for Second crews, with this race being won by St.Patrick’s College. The Old Boy’s Fours was won by Ballarat Grammar with College in second place and St.Patrick’s third. Mr. T.F. Moran was the starter and he had officiated at every Head of the Lake since inception as well as officiating at every Ballarat Regatta for the past 25 years! Once again the shoreline was crowded with spectators and followed by many motorists who kept pace with the race on the southern shore. Surprisingly there were no reports of any crashes.

Just after the main race on the program, a sensational accident occurred with the balcony of Ballarat Rowing Club collapsing and injuring about 30 people. This somewhat attracted the attention away from the race briefly while the injured were attended to. Thankfully no serious injuries were sustained but several people were hospitalised. The Star reported in a separate article:

A humorous side issue of the affair, and one which displayed the true spirit of Australian youth, was the spectacle of two small boys wearing Grammar School caps who, when the floor collapsed from under them, grabbed a verandah post and with their legs dangling over the vacancy, yelled out “Come on Grammar!” oblivious to all things else but the one thing that mattered to them-the race……………………Balconies might fall, Empires might totter, but the all important thing was to them who’s winning?  Star newspaper 22/10/1923

Organising Committee and Officials

Organising Committee: Ballarat Public Schools' Association

Regatta Officials:  Ballarat Regatta Association

 Judge - Mr A H Nevett 

Umpire - Lieut.Col. A W Bennett

Starter - Mr T F Moran 

Clerk of scales - Mr I A Moran. 

Timekeeper - Mr J Marks

Primary source: Ballarat Star 22/10/1923, page 2

Principal researcher: Kate Elliott


Head of the Lake

Time: No time recorded (mile course)

1st Ballarat Grammar - Bow: C K Wright, 2: L Tomkinson, 3: K Taylor, Str: A Henry, Cox: C Jost, Coach: Mr J B Suffren
2nd Ballarat College - Bow: W Kilpatrick, 2: E Beacham, B Currie, Str: G N Witter, Cox: A Bell, Coach: Mr Ray Todd
3rd St Patrick's College
- Bow: J Nunan, 2: J Condon, 3: J Irwin, Str: V Bolton, Cox: H Finnigan, Coach: Mr Fred Luke

Won by Grammar School. A good start was effected with Ballarat College having a slight advantage for the first 200 yards. St.Patrick’s dropped behind by a length having had a bad start. At the quarter mile Grammar drew up level with Ballarat and the two crews battled it out with St.Patrick’s dropping further back and already well out of the race. At View Point Grammar held a slight lead and was drawing away with every stroke winning by one length from College. St.Patrick’s were four lengths away in third place.


Second Crews

Time: No time recorded (mile course)

1st St Patrick's College - Bow: C Whelan, 2: H Baker, 3: P Moloney, Str: C Breheny, Cox: C Lawson
2nd Ballarat Grammar - Bow: J Neil, 2: Moragn-Payler, 3: W Fagg, Str: A Ronaldson, Cox: J Suffren Jnr.
3rd Ballarat College -
Bow: G Nasmith, 2: J Besenerca, 3: G Campell, Str: C Loughrey, Cox: F Lyne

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