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1937 APS Head of the River

The Upper Yarra was used again on 13th and 14th May for the seventieth Head of the River with vastly different weather conditions on the adjoining days. The heats were rowed in perfect conditions but the final was rowed in a squally north wind.

Xavier College won after a break of 7 years. The winning Geelong College crew from the last year was not placed after being defeated by Xavier in the heat. This was to be the last year Marcus Bourke coached the Xavier crew.

Over the recent past, the schools had been concerned about the adulation and hero status afforded to Head of the River winning crews. They were also concerned about the extent of the jubilation expressed during the presentation of the trophy. For the first time, the trophy was presented to the crew after the event at the school of the winning crew. Fortunately this decision has not survived the test of time.

 


Starter: H J Green

Umpire and Timekeeper: Edward Kenny

Judge: H T James

Clerk of Scales: J B Curt

Despatch Steward: T L Mannix

 

Head of the River

Time: 5:38.4
Margin: 2 lengths and 1 length

1st Xavier College - Bow: Jack F McDavitt, 2: John F Fallon, 3: Gerald O C O'Day, 4: Des J Breheny, 5: John J O'Brien, 6: Paul J Lachal, 7: John H Marron, Str: John J Bourke, Cox: Kevin L McEncore, Cch: Marcus Bourke
2nd Wesley College - Bow: C J Osborn, 2: K F Hartnell, 3: C H Dunning, 4: A W Anderson, 5: J Rudduck, 6: L E R Williams, 7: L F Taylor, Str: T G Treloar, Cox: R G Duncan, Cch: Charles Donald
3rd Melbourne Grammar- Bow: W B Dobbyn, 2: A A M Lapin, 3: A N Skinner, 4: A J Weir, 5: R D Meighan, 6: W H Luxton, 7: B F Rose, Str: K J Laycock, Cox: K C Westfold-Scott, Cch: Walter E "Wally: Ricketts

The weather turned for the finals with a strong head wind and a sheltered north bank. This was a race for the stronger and heavier crews. Despite the unpleasant weather, some 30,000 spectators witnessed the event.

Despite some initial steering difficulties by the XC crew who were pointig towards the WC crew, the crews got away well at the start. By Morell Bridge, MGS led by 3/4 length followed by WC and then XC. This lead was maintained through to the half mile when the race changed. Both MGS and WC were hit by a wind squall which XC was spared the worst of being on the shelterd north station. XC went from third to first in a small number of strokes and then led for the rest of the race. The XC crew with its weight, strength and steadiness were essential qualities against the wind.

Other crews competing were:
Geelong Grammar - Bow: G S A Stogdale, 2: C C Bird, 3: A H Angus, 4: C D Smith, 5: J McA H Lockwood, 6: R B Lefroy, 7: F A O (Tony) Gaze, Str: E J P Jones, Cox: A R Walker, Cch: William H Pincott
Scotch College - Bow: William E Swaney, 2: Alexander Marshall, 3: Gordon R Henderson, 4: Samuel F Anderson, 5: Greig McCracken, 6: John A Blanch, 7: Rodney C Bretherton, Str: David D Fisher, Cox: Harold G Boulter, Cch: Charles B Boyes
Geelong College - Bow: T M Collins, 2: R H A Wettenhall, 3: K S McDowall, 4: T T Laidlaw, 5: J A Forbes, 6: F J H Moreton, 7: I H McPherson, Str: T H Kelsall, Cox: I H Buchanan, Cch: Charles G Saleh

Scotch College First Crew
Back row: J A Blanch, G McCracken, S F Anderson, G R Henderson
Front row: W E Swaney, D D Fisher, Mr C B Boyes, R C Bretherton, A Marshall
Seated: H G Boulter

Photo: The Scotch Collegian December 1927

Heat results:
1st WC, 2nd GGS, Time: 5:22.0. Margin: One canvas.
This was a great race where the lead changed on several occasions.
1st XC, 2nd GC, Time: 5:19.0 Margin: 3/4 length.
XC led most of the way by a spirited GC crew fought the wole race.
1st MGS, 2nd SC Time: 5:17.6. Margin: 2 lengths.
MGS led for most of the race but were pushed at every stage by the SC crew.

Many of the school rowers competing at this time were to serve with distinction in WWII. One such rower was Tony Gaze from Geelong Grammar who was a Spitfire ace with 12.5 victories. He was the only Australian to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two bars during WW2. He flew with Douglas Bader's famous Tangmere Wing for the early part of the war and finished the war as Australia’ first jet fighter pilot as Squadron Leader of RAF 616 flying the first Allied jets (Meteors). He later went onto become Australia’s first Formula One driver by competing in the 1952 Belgian GP and would have much success in car racing competing around the world.

Second Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta on Saturday May 8th amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 2:28.5
Margins: 2 feet, 2/3 length and 1/2 length

1st Scotch College - Bow: J F M Scholes, 2: S C McCracken, 3: W E I Littlejohn, 4: R L Law, 5: M A Barr, 6: T Darling, 7: C Malmgren, Str: J T Mitchell, Cox: R A Mullett, Cch: Bill Morgan
2nd Xavier College
3rd Wesley College

4th Melbourne Grammar

The stations were: SC north, XC north centre, MGS south centre and WC on the south. SC and XC broke away from WC and MGS early in the race and two races in one took place. There was nothing between SC and XC for the rest of the race. It was only a final sprint from SC that seperated the crews in the end.

Third Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta on Saturday May 8th amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 2:16.2
Margin: 2 lengths and a canvas

1st Scotch College - Bow: G McNaught, 2: R N Atkinson, 3: A Rogers, 4: A Marshall, 5: K L Blackham, 6: A Hall, 7: P Turner, Str: J Hipwell, Cox: A B Chivers, Cch: G Harvey Nicholson
2nd Mebourne Grammar
3rd Wesley College

4th Xavier College

The crews started on the following stations - XC on north, SC north centre, WC south centre and MGS on the south. SC got away well and led early. SC gradually increased their lead finishing a comfortable 2 lengths in front. A great race was held between the other three crews who all finished within a canvas.

Fourth Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta on Saturday May 8th amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 1:45.0
Margins: 3 feet and one length

1st Wesley College
2nd Scotch College
- Bow: L Barnett, 2: A L Burns, 3: R A McKimmie, 4: D D Shaw, 5: R G Cole, 6: J A S Jolly, 7: W J Proud, Str: J J Inkster, Cox: F H Smith
3rd Melbourne Grammar

SC were drawn on north station, WC on centre and MGS on the south station. WC led early but were passed by SC. SC and WC then fought out a great race in which WC won by 2 feet with MGS a length further behind.

Fifth Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta on Saturday May 8th amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 1:47.0
Margin: 1/2 length

1st Scotch College - Bow:W D Matheson, 2: C D Hull, 3: P E Gartner, 4: J N Duckett, 5: K N Harris, 6: R J Austin, 7: G G Sprigg, Str: G D Fisher, Cox: R J Carter
2nd Melbourne Grammar

Sixth Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta on Saturday May 8th amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 1:49.4
Margin: 1 length

1st Scotch College - Bow: B A Bretherton, 2: R D Fahle, 3: J Coop, 4: S J McQuarrie, 5: D Todd, 6: W M Davis, 7: C C Crampton, Str: J A Matheson, Cox: N Wright
2nd Melbourne Grammar

An all the way win for SC.

Seventh Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta on Saturday May 8th amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 1:52.4
Margin: 4 feet

1st Scotch College - Bow: G B Littlejohn, 2: A P Flockart, 3: J H Hood, 4: J B Steele, 5: J A Laing, 6: P L Waters, 7: G R Liddell, Str: T F Klemke, Cox: R R Sim, Cchs: Messrs Fisher and Barr
2nd Melbourne Grammar

A tight race throughout.

Eighth Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta on Saturday May 8th amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 2:02.0
Margin: 1 1/4 length and canvas

1st Melbourne Grammar
2nd Scotch College ninth crew
- Bow: H Day, 2: A C Wann, 3: A J Griffiths, 4: J W Street, 5: A McKay, 6: D J Mackay, 7: W H Whiney, Str: K W Johnstone, Cox: A K Beattie, Cch: Mr Robotham
3rd Scotch College eighth crew - Bow:K I Robertson, 2: A C Knight, 3: W G Davidson, 4: E R Johnson, 5: B R Harrison, 6: T S Esson, 7: R R Cohen, Str: R J L Moore, Cox: J D Gates, Cch: Mr Robotham

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