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1891 Head of the River

The twenty-fourth Head of the River returned to the Lower Yarra and so allowed all four crews to compete in the one race. The race was conducted on 15th May.

The race was one of the best ever staged in APS history. Not only was the margin between first and second three feet, only 2 feet separated second and third and 3 deet between third and fourth.

One of the two Scotch coaches was Stephen Morell, later Sir Stephen Morell, Lord Mayor of Melbourne and President of the Victorian Rowing Association. He was a good oarsman at the time.

Wesley rebuilt their boat shed on Albert Park Lake after its destruction the year before.

Index to Results:



Starter: Mr J L Irvine

Umpire: Mr George E Upward

Judge: Mr E Champion

1891 Floods at Princes Bridge


Head of the River

Time: 7:30.0
Margins: 3 feet, 2 feet & 3 lengths

1st Scotch College - Bow: Henry N Young 2: Herbert D Morrison, 3: William S Edgar, Str: Alexander R Lewis, Cox: Charles S Galbraith, Cchs: Frank O Johnston & Stephen J Morell
2nd Wesley College - Bow: J B Campbell, 2: H R Catford, 3: W R Thomson, Str: R C Whittingstone, Cox: H D Johnson, Cch: E A Derrick
3rd Geelong Grammar - Bow: V E Wettentall, 2: A Green, 3: T Clausen, Str: A W Whitney, Cox: H Cross, Cchs: James L Cuthbertson & W E P Austin
4th Melbourne Grammar - Bow: W G Howitt, 2: J B Calder, 3: H A Anderson, Str: A E Payne, Cox: F N Pleasance, Cchs: A S Workman & A J Evans

The Cardinal Club website records The Age report as follows:
Wesley jumped away very quickly at the start, with Geelong & Scotch close up. In the first hundred yards Wesley got a few feet, Scotch and Geelong rowing stroke and stroke on level terms, Melbourne Grammar School falling in the rear. The three crews Wesley, Geelong and Scotch were rowing at top speed and in spite of the best exertions could not separate. Geelong were rowing in the best form. Scotch were using their superior power very well while, by dint of great pluck, and good condition, which enabled them to keep up a rapid rate of striking. Wesley were making a great race and were leading by a few feet at the three quarters of a mile. Effort after effort was made by Geelong and Scotch to draw ahead of one another, but spurt was answered by spurt and neither could shake off the plucky Wesley boys. When a mile had been rowed, and the three crews had been abreast for some distance Geelong made a brilliant dash and forged a few feet ahead of Scotch, Wesley losing a few feet. The last 200 yards the race was most exciting. No sooner had the “stroke” of the Geelong finished his spurt than the stroke of the Scotch College called upon his crew and at the same instant the Wesley made his final and best effort. From the steamer the three crews appeared to be exactly level as they dashed past the winning post and the report of the Judge’s pistol was heard. The verdict Scotch by three feet, Wesley two feet ahead of Geelong – was soon forthcoming and hearty cheers were given for the crews. Melbourne Grammar School had been passed by the steamer early in the race.

Thus ended the finest race ever rowed between our public schools and it will be long time before we see such another.

Melbourne Grammar Crew

Standing: Str: A Payne, Bow: W G Howitt
Sitting: 2: J B Calder, Cch: Mr A S Workman, 3: H A Anderson

Second Crews

(This was raced on 9th and 10th October 1891 on the Barwon and so not at the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: NTT
Margin: 4 lengths

1st Geelong Grammar
2nd Wesley College

Other competitors:
Melbourne Grammar
St Patrick's College East Melbourne
(St Partrick's College was the first Catholic secondary school in Melbourne being founded in 1854. It was also an original public school of Victoria. In 1878 it opened a boarding school in Kew which later became Xavier College. The school closed in 1968.)

E1: 1st WC, 2nd SPC, Time: 6:17.6. Margin: 4 lengths
E2: 1st GGS, 2nd MGS, Time: 6:01.0. Margin: 2 lengths

Charles Shannon acted as Starter ad umpire whilst David Strachan acted as judge.

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