Skip navigation

Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of NSW

Head of the River

Although the date of the first AAGPS rowing championship was 1893, there were several inter-school races before that date. Shore is reported to have had a crew in 1875 and in 1881, Sir Matthew Harris, then Lord Mayor of Sydney, offered a cup for the annual competition among schools. Royston College and Grammar (Shore) competed with the former winning.

Other races were also conducted prior to the first AAGPS regatta in 1893 including intercolonial competitions. In 1888, St Ignatius raced Geelong Grammar of Victoria in the first inter-colonial inter-school race on the Barwon River in Victoria.

At the time this event commenced, there were nine members of the GPS - Grammar, Shore, King's, Scots, Newington, St. Ignatius', St. Joseph's, All Saints (Bathurst) and Coerwull Academy (Lithgow). Only three, Shore, Grammar and St Ignatius boated crews in the early years.

Alan May in Sydney Rows reported that:

In 1893, the Great Public School authorities decided to stage a premiership event and set the date for 13 May, two weeks before the St. Ignatius' regatta. The latter school was, apparently, not very pleased and did not start in the race, in which Shore had an easy win over Grammar.

He goes on to state that the first official race was not until 1894. He appears to be the only proponent of this claim. This may be that the Major Rennie trophy was first awarded in 1894.

The first convenor of this event was R H Bode of Sydney Grammar School.

From 1893 to 1935 the AAGPS Head of the River regatta was held on the Parramatta River. In 1936 the races were moved to the Nepean River and were 1 ½ miles in distance. Since 1996 the schoolboy head of the river has been held at the Sydney International Rowing Centre at Penrith.

Year of Schools First Entering the Head of the River

1893 - Sydney Grammar School
1893 - Sydney Church of England Graamar School (Shore)
1898 - St Ignatius College
1908 - St Josephs College
1918 - Scots' College
1920 - The King's School
1921 - Newington College
1925 - Sydney High School (but raced 1924 in fours)

Summaries:

 

Detailed Results by Year

  1893 1894
1895 1896 1897 1898 1899
1900 1901 1902 1903 1904
1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
1910 1911 1912 1913 1914
1915 1916 1917 1918 1919
1920 1921 1922 1923 1924
1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934
1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940 1941-45 no racing
  1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954
1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964
1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
2005 2006 2007 2008

 

 

> next: First Eight Summary

top of page