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1940 APS Head of the River

The seventy-third Head of the River was conducted on the Upper Yarra on 26th and 27th April, three weeks earlier than normal.

Wally Ricketts coached his Melbourne Grammar crew to his third win.

The war was impacting most parts of life but in this year, it had little impact on rowing. Both the Head of the River and Junior Regatta were undertaken in the same way as before with one exception. The Scotch Collegian of May 1940 described the arrangements for the Junior Regatta in stark words: ...the arrangements for the Junior Regatta was transferred in somewhat unprecendented fashion from the hands of the Capytains of Boats to the control of a meeting of "Rowing Delegates".The meeting decided to hold the Junior Regatta on April 20th a few weeks earlier than usual, and to limit it to five races, instead of the usual half-dozen or more, "Unofficial" races were arranged for the Eights and Ninths on the afternoon before the regatta.

 


This year was to be the last time Charles Donald would coach the Wesley crew.

Charles Donald

Charles Donald was appointed coach of Wesley when the change was made from fours to eights in 1901. He was a leading Victorian oarsman at that time with Albert Park Rowing Club. He began at Wesley with a sequence of six wins, and for 40 consecutive years coached the Wesley crew. He gained the title as the "Prince of Coaches". He was known by all as "Charlie" and held in the deepest of regard by all who rowed under him for his lessons in the art of rowing and the lessons in life that he passed onto his rowers.

Charles Donald's last Wesley Crew in 1940

Head of the River

Time: 5:04.2
Margins: 1 1/4 length & one canvas

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: H R Martin, 2: R K Lamont, 3: R S Bowles, 4: M N Hodgson, 5: J C Currie, 6: H A C Jowett, 7: R C Rollason, Str:R A Hoffert, Cox: J W Skinner, W E "Wally" Ricketts
2nd Scotch College - Bow: John H Young, 2: Barry A Taylor, 3: Ian F Beaurepaire, 4: Robin StG Summons, 5: Robert J Titcher, 6: Alan M Marshall, 7: George A Hagenauer, Str: Gordon D Fisher, Cox: John D Gates, Cch: G Harvey Nicholson
3rd Geelong Grammar - Bow: G R Armytage, 2: J D Nevett, 3: J D Hemphill, 4: W S C Hare, 5: G H Lester, 6: C William Hidgcock, 7: C M Murray, Str: F G Davison, Cox: E R Searle, Cch: William H Pincott

The MGS were regarded as not smooth but very relaxed coming forward, thus enabling a high rate whilst looking very relaxed. They gained half a length by the half mile and increased it to 2 lengths coming out of the bend. From that point MGS were being slowly caught up but were in never serious danger. It was a superb race by MGS.

Melbourne Grammar winning the 1940 Head of the River
Photo: The Age

Scotch College First Crew
Photo: The Scotch Collegian August 1940

Other crews competing were:
Wesley College - Bow: A G Trathan, 2: G J Pollock, 3: K M Macdonald, 4: R J M Walker, 5: D J M Bartram, 6: M Bradbury, 7: P Watkins, Str: I D Dawes, Cox: V G Vivian, Cch: Charles Donald
Xavier College - Bow: Frank Thomas, 2: D Conroy, 3: P Condon, 4: R Power, 5: J Hobbs, 6: J Weldon, 7: A Davison, Str: Hugh McKenzie, Cox: A England, Cch: James Byrne
Geelong College - Bow: R J L Dennis, 2: T V Hawkes, 3: A F Blackwood, 4: L A Cartwright, 5: J M Ferguson, 6: G T Exell, 7: A G Barrett, Str: Robert R Aitken, Cox: R Lyall, Cch: Charles G Saleh

Heat results:
E1: 1st SC, 2nd WC. Time: 4:53.6. Margin: Canvas
E2: 1st GGS, 2nd XC, Time: NTT but coaches timed it at 4:54. Margin: 1 1/4 length
E3: 1st MGS, 2nd GC. Time: 4:48.5. Margin: 2 1/2 lengths

Scotch College win heat one of the Head of the River
Photo from The Scotch Collegian

Second Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on April 20 on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 2:32.0 (Half mile)
Margin: 2/3 length and 2 lengths

1st Scotch College - Bow: G B Littlejohn, 2: J G Law, 3: R g Blacket, 4: H Iser, 5: J S Shaw, 6: G G Stobie, 7: A C Wann, Str: R StG Summons, Cox: F H Smith, Cch: C B Boyes and Harvey Nicholson
2nd Melbourne Grammar
3rd Xavier College
4th Wesley College

After an awkward start having to negotiate a ferry on south station, the crews got away not exactly on their desiganted stations. SC got away well and were never headed. MGS stuck deperately with SC and showed that they too were a good crew.

GC and SC second crews met again in a private race, this time on the Barwon. SC won frohe event this year.

Third Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on April 20 on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 2:20.2
Margins: 1 1/2 lengths and a canvas

1st Scotch College - Bow: R C Barbour, 2: A G Mathew, 3: M Stephen, 4: H Stretton, 5: A G Simpson, 6: K G Williams, 7:A J Salthouse, Str: W L Goldsworthy, Cox: R K Sim, Cch: D D Shaw
2nd Wesley College
3rd Xavier College
4th Melbourne Grammar

Despite a bad start due to not being ready, the SC quickly gained the lead and never lost it. The XC crew led for the first part of the race with a very high rating. Unfortunately they were unable to maintain that pace and eventually finished third. Wesley were rowing well and were able to eventually pass a tiring XC crew but could not make an impression on the SC crew.

Fourth Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on April 20 on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 2:04
Margins: 5 feet and 1/2 length

1st Scotch College - Bow: P Y Permezel, 2: E K Simmons, 3: R B Martin, 4: J F McNicol, 5: J B Ware, 6: A G Mathew, 7: A C Strickland, Str: A E Gaze, Cox: W G Grano, Cch: David D Shaw
2nd Wesley College
3rd Xavier College
4th Melbourne Grammar

An interesting race with SC looking very good out of the start but were then rocked by a bad crab which allowed WC to take a length lead and leave SC last. The SC crew fought back very well clawing back the other crews to win by 5 feet in a superb display of rowing.

Fifth Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on April 20 on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 1:55
Margin: 3 lengths

1st Scotch College - Bow: A Bastow, 2: D Hume, 3: H B Edwards, 4: K G Jamieson, 5: D M Powell, 6: G R Walpole, 7: J R Trengrove, Str: R McQueen, Cox: J C Fussell, Cch: Cliff Hull
2nd Melbourne Grammar

Unfortunately this was not a competitive race. One commentator stated: This was not a boat race - it was a procession.

Sixth Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on April 20 on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 2:02
Margin: Canvas, dead heat and a canvas

1st Scotch College Seventh Crew - Bow: J M Shaw, 2: K S Andrews, 3: I H Gray, 4: K F Graham, 5: D P Bradshaw, 6: L M Muir, 7: N R Ampt, Str: J D Gates, Cox: E W Newnham, Cch: A L Burns
=2nd Scotch College Sixth Crew - Bow: J C Lee, 2: H V Wood, 3: S G Clark, 4: W A M Blair, 5: E H Alstergren, 6: J Mosley, 7: C A Hurst, Str: W J Mitchell, Cox: J Dyer, cch: G D Fisher
=2nd Melbourne Grammar Sixth Crew
4th Melbourne Grammar Seventh Crew

This was a close race with only a canvas between the top three crews and only half a length across the field. The lead changed many times and the better sprint in the end by the SC seventh crew was the deciding factor.

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