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history of psa head of the river rowing regatta western australia

1909 PSA Head of the River

This regatta saw the introduction of the Old Boys Race, rowed in fours, and was raced on Saturday 1 May 1909.

The Western Mail reported on the 9 May as follows:

The contest for the coveted title of "Head of the River" on Saturday last certainly equalled, if it did not surpass, the expectations of even the most enthusiastic. And enthusiasm of enthusiasts in amateur sport is practically limitless. Most of us who have had much to do with amateur sportsmen know the intensity of the perfervidness, "the fortitude and self-denial" which these men practise, approaches, in the eyes of their lethargic (in sporting matters) fellow citizens the marvellous. 

Before today athletes of big standing and experience have been constrained to admit that for downright and upright fervour the point of ebullition has been most closely approached by rowing men. Certainly the majority of there must have a big streak of the Viking in them. 

On a day on which the fury of either wind or water renders rowing impossible these devotees of Neptune - or is it the Naiads? - may be seen at work at their various boats, this one fixing up his poppet strings, that one lengthening his slide, the other one applying the varnish and revelling therein after the manner of the naughty small boy in the moulding of his mud pie. Enthusiasm is catching, and certainly the boys who competed in the Secondary Schools Mile Championship appeared to be thoroughly infected with the spirit of the watermen, under whose charge they have been during the whole of the first term.

And what sportsmen these coaches are! For years W. A. Goland, the Scotch College coach, did not miss a single day from the river and the shed ; and it is largely to his perseverance that the W.A. Rowing Club is now in existence, and moreover is flying the champion pennant. We all remember the parlous position the club was in in the old shed, when members were few and wins fewer, that a little band of enthusiasts, with W.A.G. at their head, plunged headlong into the sea of difficulties, from which they have now risen to the surface, and are striking out boldly. 

To speak to "Charlie" Horsborough, the popular coach of C.B.C., is but to be caught by the fire of his enthusiasm and the warmth of his geniality. As a boy C.H. held the lines, steering many of the old-time champions to victory on the Yarra. And who can take a beating like H. B. Stone? He today smilingly acknowledged his getting three thirds on Saturday."It's all in the game," quoth the High School coach. So it is -- all can't come first. 

C. R. Penny and F. Shaw displayed their enthusiasm in the welfare of their charges by the daily jaunts to Guildford. 

The Race

The Start went off to time, and without a hitch. Christians got away splendidly, assuming a slight lead on High School, Scotch in close attendance, and Grammar School a trifle slow. Christians were dipping them in at 41 to the minute, with a perfect length and swing. High School and Scotch were rowing good form, the former crew, having by this time picked up its leeway on H.S. was now second, straining every nerve to overtake the leaders. Guildford were rapidly falling behind. 

At 300 yards, Christians, for whom Child was setting an excellent stroke, were a length ahead, with Scotch, rowing well, still second. Scotch looked dangerous, but the leading crew were rowing with great judgment, and, having the lead, watched the movements in the other boats. High School were gradually falling in arrears, but still continued to pull in good form, but without the weight of Scotch or Christians. Guildford were pulling raggedly, but determinedly, and were dropping out of it at every stroke. Their strokes were lacking both length and vigour. 

The shouts of the excited crowd on the Mount, and the yells of encouragement from the steamers and launches now reached the ears of the crews, and at the Brewery Scotch, who were now a couple of lengths behind, made a determined effort to take charge of affairs. Their strokes were driven in hard and desperately, but with commendable coolness C.B.C. were content to maintain their lead, and did not appear anxious to take any risk of knocking themselves up, till in the final burst, with excellent uniformity on both stick and body work they almost lifted their boat from the water , and, amid a scene of terrific enthusiasm, crossed the line winners of the S.P.S. championship by three lengths. Scotch during the race displayed great doggedness, and fine form, but really never looked like winning. High School were five or six lengths away third, and Guildford a bad last. 

His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor presented the Headmaster's Cup to the winning crew, and the Form Prize to J. A. Child, stroke of the winning crew. The time, 5min. 27sec, is easily a record.

The Old Boys

This event was won by Scotch College, after a pood tussle with C.B.C. Near the Brewery the wash of the Zephyr struck the S.C. boat, which was nearest the steamer, and naturally threw them behind. The C.B.C. crew didn't notice the wash (it hadn't hit them yet), and, seeing their opponents falling behind, eased a little till, to use the words of one of the crew, "they found themselves on top of a wave, and pulled a stroke through the air." When they got out of it, they settled down again. But Scotch were a bit too good, and won a well-fought out finish by nearly a length. H.S. were third, and G.G.S. last. Parry, of the G.G.S. crew, lost his slide three times during the race.


Head of the River - Fours

Challenge Cup

One Mile

5:27 (Record)

4 lengths, 3 lengths & 3 lengths

1st Christian Brothers College - Bow: DG Cumming, 2: RJ Troy, 3: JJ Savage, Str: JA Child, Cox: CG Rodoreda, Coach: CW Horsburgh

2nd Scotch College - Bow: FG Medcalf, 2: AR Richardson, 3: AR Selby, Str: AV Cargeeg, Cox: DR Gawler Coach: WA Goland

3rd High School - Bow: AB Montgomery, 2: EM Riley, 3: HK Smyth, Str: TAL Davy, Cox: HL Thomas, Coach: HB Stone

4th Guildford Grammar School - Bow: KE Brockman, 2: AW Harvey, 3: GB Duce, Str: HF James, Cox: CE Maley, Cch: F Shaw & CR Penny

Old Boys' Race

One Mile

No time or margins recorded

1st Scotch College - Bow: G Bailey, 2: J Hill, 3: L Paramor, Str: A Fearby, Cox: J Campbell

2nd Christian Brothers College - Bow: W Hannah, 2: G Holmes, 3: R Joyce, Str: G Hannah, Cox: E Cort

3rd High School - Bow: SB Connor, 2: EG Pretty, 3: HD Stone, Str: C Hartrick, Cox: HL Fowler

4th Guildford Grammar School - Bow: R Long, 2: R Lukin, 3: L Parry, Str: L Davey, Cox: G Taylor 

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