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History of Ballarat Head of the Lake rowing regatta

1926 Ballarat Head of the Lake

Two years in a row for Grammar, 1925 and 1926. It was also won in record time.

Saturday, 1st May,1926.

I had the pleasure of see the Ballarat (Head of the Lake) race on Saturday. The weather did its utmost to spoil the fixture, a bitterly cold wind accompanied by driving rain, making Ballarat anything but a pleasant spot in which to spend Saturday afternoon. Yet the boys and their friends turned out in hundreds to cheer the crews on….. The race itself, however was disappointing. The Grammar School four outclassed their rivals….taking the lead from the start, they went ahead at every stroke until they passed the winning post about eight lengths in front of St.Patrick’s and Ballarat College a further five lengths back. The time,5 minutes and 46 seconds, beat the previous record for the race(established by Grammar last year)by 28 and 2/5th seconds. Weekly Times, 8/5/1926.

Mr. J.B. Suffren was again coach of the Grammar crew and declared them to be the best school four he had ever seen. Ballarat Grammar took the trifecta winning the second crews and the Old Boys races as well. They were presented with a cup by Mrs. Phillip Must which they will hold for the next twelve months. St.Patrick’s had the misfortune of losing their number 3 seat, J. Whitehead, a week before the race owing to his contracting influenza and the subsequent disruption and reshuffling of the crew with new stroke seat, E. Fitzgerald, so close to the event made an SPC win very unlikely.

The Old Boys fours race was won by Grammar School from Ballarat College by 1 ½ lengths with the crew of N. Eyres(str),K. Taylor(2), A. Ronaldson(3),P. Radcliff(bow) and the cox A. Carter. St.patrick’s did not have a crew.

Organising Committee and Officials

Organising Committee: Ballarat Public Schools' Association


  • Sporting Globe 1/5/1926, page 3
  • Weekly Times, 8/5/1926

Principal researcher: Kate Elliott


Head of the Lake

Time: 5min 26 secs (record) on mile course
Margins: 5 lengths and several lengths

1st Ballarat Grammar - Bow: J W Beattie, 2: J W McKay, 3: G W Erskine, Str: R Jelbart, Cox: J Suffren Jnr, Coach: Mr J B Suffren

2nd St.Patrick’s College - Bow: R Cossell, 2: W O'Reilly, 3: G McDonough, Str: F Fitzgerald, Cox: J Mahoney

3rd Ballarat College - Bow: D E Davies, 2: A J McLean, 3: A J Wotherspoon, Str: A E Wearne, Cox: R Hammon

Grammar quickly took the lead and were several lengths in advance of the other crews, rowing easily. With a strong westerly wind behind them, and clean blade work, they easily maintained their lead all the way winning 5 lengths from St.Patrick’s and several more lengths back to Ballarat College.

Winning Grammar crew
Image from The Argus, 4/4/1926, page 9 

Second Crews

Time: Not known

Margin: 2 lengths

1st Ballarat Grammar - Bow: G Pearce, 2: G Moorhouse, 3: J Gray, Str: D Barker, Cox: W Phil

2nd St.Patrick’s College

3rd Ballarat College

< previous 1925

> next 1927

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