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history of psa head of the river rowing regatta western australia

1905 PSA Head of the River

The race was conducted on Saturday 24th June 1905 at the slightly later time of 3.45pm. The race was extending to make the course 1 mile. This was the founding year of the Public Schools Association and there were some deficiencies in the operation of the regatta as the following report from "Light Blue" in the Western Mail acknowledges. However they were insufficient to alter the result of a strong win to Guildford Grammar.

The above race was rowed last Saturday, perfect conditions of weather and water prevailing. For weeks past speculation was rife as to the merits of the respective crews. Of the race itself and of the crews participating much has been written. The judge should provide himself with a pistol that will fire, and thus the spectators and the crews when winning post is reached. A proper timekeeper should be appointed. The official launch ought to keep the course clear. 

Fortunately, none of these faults affected the result of this year's race, for the Guildford crew, rowing in admirable form, were never troubled. Their swing and length were very attractive, and the standard of rowing exhibited by them on Saturday was high indeed, even for seasoned crews. Truly, they were the heaviest crew competing, but unless a heavy crew apply their weight properly, they become merely ballast in a light racing boat and a light crew rowing form have them always at their mercy.

The Scotch College, all through their training wore rowing too short, and only in the last five days did they lengthen all. They were fine lads, and rowed a plucky race, and a lengthier stroke would have placed them a good deal closer by the winners.

The High School showed a great deal of dash, but being light and young, could not stand the severe strain of a race such as this. There was personality about their rowing, but it seemed short in comparison with the Guildford length of stroke.

The Christian Brothers' crew had fair weight only a pound or two less than the Scotchmen, and should have been closer. Their rowing was not attractive.

Christian Brothers' College, Scotch College and Guildford Grammar School paddled easily down, to the starting point in that order, each crew, as it appeared, finding its admirers. The High School crew reserved their energies for the work of the day, and got into their boat at the scene of conflict.

The course was from opposite Crawley to Mill Point. The Guildfords were next the King's Park bank, then the Christian Brothers, the High School and the Scotch.

Mr. S. E. C. Underwood got the boats away to a good start and well to time - 3:45 seeing the fours sent away on their common errand. Scotch College started strongly, and led for the first hundred yards or so, but Guildford rowing 40 to the minute for the first 150 yards or thereabouts, and after that never more than 36--gradually crept up to and passed them, as did High School a little later, dipping 37; the latter crew, however, were rapidly using up their reserve strength in the premature burst, and were presently obliged to drop into the rear. 

At the spit the positions occupied by the crews were: Guildford Grammar School, 1; High School, 2; Scotch College. 3; Christian Brothers' College, 4. 

Two or three hundred yards further on saw the boats lay G.G.S.,1; S.C., 2; C.B.C., 3; and High School last.

Approaching the Narrows, it was seen that first and second places would be filled by Guildford and Scotch, with the C.B.C. in third place. And so they finished, Guildford passing the winning post two length ahead of Scotch, with C.B.C; two and a half lengths away--third. No. 2 in the High School boat had been compelled to crowd his heavy training into the fortnight prior to the race, and the strain in a mile course (hitherto 7/8 of a mile) proving too severe, the crew just failed to complete the course.

No time was taken, which is the more to be regretted in that the race is supposed to have been rowed in particularly fast time.

A pleasant recollection of the day was the way the Scotch boys paid a visit from the W.A. Rowing shed to the Swan River Rowing shed to congratulate the Guildfords upon their win.

The Challenge Cup was presented to the Guildford crew after the race by Judge Parker. The form prize was won by P. H. Harper, stroke of the winning boat, the other names considered, in the competition being Sullivan (C.B.C), Gorry (H.S.), and Parry (B.C.).



Mr. R. E. Burns, hon. secretary of the Secondary Schools' Sports Association.

Messrs. S. E. C. Underwood, Frank Parker, P. J. Ryan, D. G. Gawler, L. Boxhorn, S. H. Mann, H. J. Rockett, and Young, were the officials controlling the race.

Head of the River - Fours

Challenge Cup

Distance: 1 mile

No time taken.

Margins: 2 lengths, 2.5 lengths and did not finish

1st Guildford Grammar School - Bow: C Shaw, 2: G Lukin, 3: E Stewart, Str: P H Harper, Cox: K E Brockman, Cchs: C R Penny and C S Hutchinson

2nd Scotch College - Bow:A L Clarke, 2: W R Campbell, 3: R E Parry, Str: N H Higham, Cox: D R Gawler, Cch: W A Goland

3rd Christian Brothers' College (later Aquinas College) - Bow: J J Kenny, 2: C Bovell, 3: A Juett, Str: L O'Sullivan, Cox: S Sermon, Cch: K J Fourdrinier

4th Perth High School (later Hale School) - Bow: S J Caris, 2: R B Browning, 3: G L Burges, Str: A R Gorrie, Cox: H L Fowler, Cch: A L Jones

The race in progress

Source: Western Mail 1st July 1905 page 60

The view of the finish from the water

Source: Western Mail 1st July 1905 page 60


Western Mail 1st July 1905 pages 39 and 60.

Subsequent regatta programs providing past results. extracted 2018

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