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history of psa head of the river rowing regatta western australia

1908 PSA Head of the River

The regatta was conducted on 2nd May 1908 over one mile. The Western Mail reported on 9 May 1908 as follows:

From an oarsman's point of view the weather last Saturday for the secondary schools' annual boat race left little to be desired. The water was moderately calm, and a slight breeze blowing down the course proved of advantage to the crews. As is usual, the race attracted great public interest; the Zephyr, which followed the race, was crowded with enthusiastic spectators, and there were numerous smaller craft, both following and dotted along the course. 

King's Park presented a gay scene, and after the race the River bank was thronged with people, all anxious to hear the judge's decision, and to witness the presentation of prizes to the successful participants by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor. Shortly after three o'clock Scotch College and Christian Brothers' College left the rowing sheds to paddle down to the starting point, and many were the opinions as to the respective merits of these crews. 

Scotch were seen to be in good form, but it was speculated whether they would be able to hold their own against their heavier opponents, who indeed looked a sturdy lot. The other two boats were towed down the river, and High School and Guildford Grammar took their seats and stroked out easily to the start, two or three hundred yards distant.

All crews then prepared to line up for the task before them, most feeling that intense excitement preparatory to rowing their first important race. In rowing, more than in almost any sport, great responsibility is placed on each individual, for should one member of a crew make a bad mistake, probably his crew's chance of winning is lost, and naturally this anxiety is felt by young oarsmen. Three of the crews got into line promptly, but the starter had some difficulty in getting Guildford Grammar into position. Meantime Christian Brothers and High School had drifted near to each other, and these boats were not pointing quite straight. Partly for this reason the start could not be regarded as a good one, though the boats were well up to the line. 

Guildford Grammar and Scotch seemed to be the first to get away, closely followed by Christian Brothers, High School getting a bad start. After two or three strokes bow in the High School boat was seen to be in difficulties, and the crew held up their hands and shouted to the starter in protest, but, on receiving no response, battled on gamely, having lost already considerable ground. It was afterwards learned that bow's seat had come off the slide, and that Maley had pluckily rowed throughout uncomfortably seated on the bars. A protest was the outcome of this misfortune, but of this later. 

Guildford went away at a great pace, and promised, if they could only last, they would be well up at the finish.  

But they made the pace too hot, and soon dropped back, leaving Scotch and Christian Brothers to fight it out between them, and it was evident, two crews were well matched in pace. Christian Brothers were putting great power into their work, and the oarsmanship of Savage was noticeably good. Dorney set a good stroke, but his swing was far from straight. In the Scotch boat Bennett was rowing in splendid form, and was well backed up by his crew, all rowing neat oars. 

At the Brewery Guildford and High School had dropped a good way behind, but stuck to it doggedly. Foss, in the latter boat, was rowing a good oar under adverse conditions, and Davy also showed good form. At this point Christian Brothers appeared to go a little to pieces, but soon recovered, and from then on to the finish it was either crew's race. The courses of the two leading boats were so distant that few spectators were able to tell which boat led. Their positions were seemingly unaltered as they rowed on, and as the finishing post was approached, so the enthusiasm of the crowd increased. 

The boats crossed the line at a great pace, and the judge's verdict was awaited in suspense. It was soon made known - "Scotch College by a bare length," and there was great rejoicing amongst the Scotchmen. They had rowed a splendid race, and well deserved their win. Mr. Goland may be complimented on the splendid work he has done as coach. Christian Brothers may also be congratulated on their fine performance. Guildford came in about five lengths behind third; their dash at the start had proved too much for them. High School, despite their misfortune, gamely finished the course some distance behind Guildford Grammar. 

At the finish of the race the Headmasters' Cup, for the winning crew, and also the form prize, were presented by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor. Much interest was shown in the award of Mr. D. G. Gawler's form prize, which is presented to the boy rowing the best oar in the race. The claims of Bennett, Savage and Foss for this honour were good, the latter oarsman, it must be remembered, having rowed under trying conditions. The award to Bennett, the Scotch College stroke, was a popular one; through a hard race he stroked his crew to victory, and never once lost his practice form. 

The Association wish to thank all those gentlemen who kindly officiated in the race, also the Acting Commissioner of Police (Superintendent Lawrence), Major I Hobbs, Mr. W. Darbyshire, and Mr. E. J. Child for generously placing their launches at the disposal of the committee. A word of praise must be accorded Mr. J. L. O'Sullivan, the hon. secretary, under I whose management all arrangements were most smoothly and successfully carried out. 



Hon Secretary: J L O'Sullivan

Head of the River - Fours

Challenge Cup

Distance: 1 Mile

Time: 6:20.2

Margins: 3/4 length, 4 lengths, 4 lengths

1st: Scotch College - Bow: S Sloss, 2: AV Cargeeg, 3: W Higham, Str: WE Bennett, Cox: DR Gawler, Cch: WA Goland

2nd: Christian Brothers College - Bow: J Gonzales, 2: G McCarthy, 3: JJ Savage, Str: F Dorney, Cox: CG Rodoreda, Cch: CW Horsburgh

3rd: Guildford Grammar School - Bow: R Lukin, 2: HF James, 3: GB Duce, Str:RM Forrest, Cch: CR Penny & CS Hutchinson

4th: High School - Bow: FT Maley, 2: TAL Davy, 3: CM Foss, Str: SB Connor, Cox: HL Fowler, Cch: F Goldsmith

The winning crew from Scotch College.

Source: Western Mail 9 May 1908 (Page 27)


Western Mail  9 May 1908 - Pages 27 & 38

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