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1934 APS Head of the River

The sixty-seventh Head of the River was conducted on the Upper Yarra course on 17th and 18th May. Geelong Grammar had a remarkable finish being behind approaching the Henley staging and then winning by two lengths.

The Xavier coach Marcus Burke made some significant last minute changes to his crew and took the stroke and seven seat from the seconds and put them into the firsts. It did not have the required effect with Xavier being soundly beaten in the heat by the eventual winning crew from Geelong Grammar.

The junior regatta included fifth crews for the first time.


Starter: H J Green

Umpire and Timekeeper: Edward Kenny

Judge: H T James

Clerk of Scales: C G McAuliffe

Despatch Steward: T Mannix

November 1934 floods - the Judges Box on the Upper Yarra

As the many Barwon floods had done to the Geelong schools, the 1934 floods caused much grief to the Melbourne schools. It was not as bad as the 1891 floods but it was bad. Both Scotch and Xavier lost their boat sheds with all their boats. Scotch College rebuilt their shed with a bull nosed reinforced concrete shed which could withstand any flood and probably worse. It is as strong today as the day it was built and will take a lot of work to demolish.

Head of the River

Time: 5:18.4
Margins: 2 lengths and 1 length

1st Geelong Grammar - Bow: R H G P Cordia, 2: A P S Wood, 3: J M Buchan, 4: A F Caddy, 5: L W Manning, 6: J Turnbull, 7: W R Mann, Str: D R M Cameron, Cox: A G C Cameron, Cch: William H Pincott
2nd Melbourne Grammar - Bow: P J W Harris, 2: H O Stenborg, 3: W L Ross, 4: J A E Glover, 5: K I Benson, 6: M J M Lapin, 7: R W E Manser, Str: P Fraser, Cox: R N Hancock, Cch: Walter N "Wally" Ricketts
3rd Wesley College - Bow: D W Disher, 2: G C Hartnell, 3: H C Bland, 4: K I Evans, 5: E A Williams, 6: H C Jones, 7: J E T Stubbs, Cox: D S Grove, Cch: Charles Donald

The stations for the final were:
North - GGS
Centre - MGS
South - WC.

All crews got away well but WC tried to gwt too much advantage from the first bend and hit the bank taking any advantage out of it. MGS got the early lead by Morell Bridge (then Monier Bridge), but GGS start an excellent push levelling up with MGS. With the advantage of the bend, GGS then took the lead. Over the last half mile, GGS drew away from MGS who mage valiant efforts to catch them. Despite the margins, it was reported that the race was still in doubt unitil 200 yards to go.

Geelong Grammar crew


Melbourne Grammar crew


Wesley College crew


Other crews competing were:
Scotch College - Bow: Kenneth G H Parsons, 2: Walter C Birch, 3: Guy A Morrison, 4: Geoffrey H Gossip, 5: Leonard M Brown, 6: William Morgan, 7: Marshall B Addison, Str: Robert B Irving, Cox: Ernest H Clark, Cch: Archibald L Dobbie
Xavier College - Bow: B J Hayden, 2: E Andre, 3: M Doheny, 4: J W Mornane, 5: G G McKenna, 6: J S Rosel, 7: E P Trahair, Str: John M Coffey, Cox: M J Fakhry, Cch: Marcus Bourke
Geelong College - Bow: L Wills, 2: J A Thomas, 3: N J Funston, 4: J B Ferguson, 5: D W Matheson, 6: J S Hutton, 7: K N Morris, Str: G G C McKenzie, Cox: T K Robertson, Cch: R D Emms

Scotch College crew


Xavier College crew


Geelong College crew

E1: 1st GGS, 2nd XC, Time: 5:18.4, Margin: 3 lengths.
It was an even start but GGS gradually got away to 3/4 length lead. XC sprinted and a great tussle to the bend when the XC effort and pace began to show. GGS drew away to win comfortably in the end.
E2: 1st WC, 2nd SC, Time: 5:28.8, Margin: 0.25 length.
This was the race of the day. SC got the better of the start and by Morell Bridge (then Monier Bridge), got out to 3/4 length. However WC then drew up to SC and then passed them during the big bend. SC fought back without success.
E3: 1st MGS, 2nd GC, Time: 5:34.0. Margin: 3 1/2 lengths
MGS rowed long and strong anjd did not allow GC into the race. It was a comfortable win to MGS.

Second Crews

(This race was conducted at the Junior Eights Regatta prior to the Head of the River on 11th May on the Upper Yarra. It was raced amongst the Melbourne metropolitan schools.)

Time: 2:43.0
Margin: 2 lengths, 3 lengths and 1 length

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: N L Spiers, 2: E Campbell, 3: J V Conrad, 4: W T Robertson, 5: P A Black, 6: A P Guy, 7: D C Kimpton, Str: I A Scales, Cox: H S Moroney
2nd Xavier College
3rd Wesley College
- Cch: Alan W Mitchell
4th Scotch College
- Bow: B M Holmes, 2: L S Vial, 3: W H Glen, 4: A L Hare, 5: G A K Davies, 6: J J McFarlane, 7: L W Iser, Str: I O G MacCormick, Cox: unknown, Cch: C B Boyes

All crews got away well but MGS with a higher rate of striking, moved away early to a 1/2 length lead with XC in second place. MGS never lost the lead and were reported to be one of the best seconds ever seen on the river. Xavier was unable to catch MGS but moved away from WC and SC.


Alan Mitchell

Alan commence coaching the Wesley second and third crew in 1934. He continued coaching these crews from 1934 to 1945. He coached the Wesley first crews from 1946 to 1979. He was the master in charge of rowing from 1935 to 1974. The social rowers of Wesley College row as the Alan Mitchell Club.

Third Eights

(This race was conducted at the Junior Eights Regatta prior to the Head of the River on 11th May on the Upper Yarra. It was raced amongst the Melbourne metropolitan schools.)

Time: 2:52.0
Margin: 1 length and dead heat

1st Wesley College - Bow: K Smith, 2: R S Hill, 3: W Young, 4: J Tassiker, 5: J Rudduck, 6: P T Mitchell, 7: G Fewster, Str: K M Tuckfield, Cox: D Grove, Cch: Alan W Mitchell
=2nd Scotch College - Bow: T H Iser, 2: H W Kennon, 3: J C Laidlaw, 4: L H Christie, 5: G T Hastie, 6: S F Anderson, 7: J D Picken, Str: G Harvey Nicholson, Cox: unknown, Cch: A F Sloan
=2nd Melbourne Grammar

SC had the best of the start taking an early lead. WC challenged and then passed SC. WC kept the race in their safe hands and were never beaten. MGS and SC then had a great duel for second place which resulted in a dead heat.

Fourth Eights

(This race was conducted at the Junior Eights Regatta prior to the Head of the River on 11th May on the Upper Yarra. It was raced amongst the Melbourne metropolitan schools.)

Time: NTT
Margin: Dead heat for first and 6 feet

=1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: R W White, 2: T L WW Officer, 3: B F Rose, 4: D G Flanagan, 5: S H Richards, 6: L G Woolcock, 7: R E Z Nankivell, Str: J A Smibert, Cox: D R Cuming
=1st Wesley College - Bow: R G Kermode, 2: R G Curtis, 3: O B Adamson, 4: J R Mason-Cox, 5: R O MacLean, 6: A D Pearce, 7: F K Hyatt, Str: S K Pearce, Cox: D Lockwood, Cch: W H Mason-Cox
3rd Scotch College - Bow: H W Wilson, 2: David D Fisher, 3: H H "Peter" Press, 4: G G Haberman, 5: Ron Hastings, 6: H "Horrie" B Barnett, 7: W C Woodward, Str: Arthur H Atkins, Cox: Mervyn Tolson, Cch: Jack Collie

This was the most exciting race of the day with all three crews within feet of each other. WC had the best of the start taking a small early lead. However all crews raced together to the line in a thrilling struggle.

Scotch College Fourth crew

Fifth Eights

(This race was conducted at the Junior Eights Regatta prior to the Head of the River on 11th May on the Upper Yarra. It was raced amongst the Melbourne metropolitan schools.)

Time: 1:34.0
Margin: 1.25 length

1st Melbourne Grammar
2nd Scotch College
- Bow: W E Swaney, 2: H R Bourne, 3: K W Taylor, 4: A Marshall, 5: G E Dix, 6: C R Ampt, 7: B W Paton, Str: D V McLean, Cox: unknown, Cch: G Harvey Nicholson

This was the first time that a fifth crew raced at the junior regatta. Melbourne Grammar took charge early led all the way to a comfortable victory.

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