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history of psa head of the river rowing regatta western australia

1899 PSA Head of the River

This race was conducted on Wednesday 28th June 1899 at 2.30pm.

Bill Cooper in his history of WA rowing reports on the beginnings of the first regatta as follows.

It [the annual Head of  the River race] had its beginning in a meeting early in 1899, attended by members of the three rowing clubs and representatives from St Peter's College Fremantle, the High School, Scotch College and CBC Perth. Its aim was to draw up "the conditions under which the public schools rowing competition should be decided." 

Among its resolutions were invitations to Guildford Grammar School and Mr Howard's school at Fremantle to participate, the allocation of CBC and the High School to the West Australian Rowing Club for equipment and training, of Scotch College to Swans and of St Peter's to Fremantle. The race was to be rowed in gigs with sliding seats, and the Rowing Association would assume responsibility for the organisation and conduct of the regatta

The event took place on 28 June, from a point under Mount Eliza to the Royal Perth Yacht Club, which had made its premises available for the occasion. Despite persistent heavy rainfall, it was witnessed by a large assemblage. The boys rowed splendidly and gave indication of the good coaching during the two months in which they had been assiduously training. (The last few words being a quote from the Western Mail of 30th June.)

Bill Cooper also described the race as follows.

St Peter's won the first heat from Scotch. The High School defeated CBC in the second and went on to win the final by two lengths. The event concluded with afternoon tea and a short toast list.

Although it was a promising beginning, "Clinker" in the Western Mail of 7 July criticised the decision to row heats: Two races of nearly a mile each is a rather severe test for boys, and the struggle of four crews together would be more exciting.

Since four matched gigs were not available, he recommended that future races therefore be rowed in outrigged boats.

The image shown below shows that the winning crew raced in an inrigger racing four with offset seating.


Head of the River - Fours

Headmasters' Cup

No time taken.

Margin: 2 lengths

1st Perth High School (later Hale School) - Bow: A A Forrest, 2: F A Moseley, 3: E B Lovegrove, Str: C H Pasmore, Cox: A A Strickland, Cch: F M Bee

2nd St Peter's College - Bow: W Game, 2: H Higham, 3: H F Miller, Str: F S Miller, Cox: O Clarke

Perth High School winning crew

Preliminary rounds

E1: 1st St Peter's College, 2nd Scotch College, margin 1 length

Scotch College - Bow: A G Davies, 2: J Lukies, 3: H F Duffield, Str: D Patterson, Cox: G O Bailey, Cch: W H Young

E2: 1st Perth High School, 2nd Christian Brothers College (later Aquinas College), margin 2 lengths

Christian Brothers College - Bow: E Hymus, 2: T Williamson, 3: R Joyce, Str: D Barrett, Cox: D McDonald, Cch: R Cobham


Home and Dry - a history of rowing in Western Australia by W S Cooper, published in 2008 by Rowing WA, pages 54 and 55.

Western Mail - 30th June and 7th July 1899.

Subsequent regatta programs displaying past results.

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