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1941 APS Head of the River

1941 Programme Cover

The seventy-fourth Head of the River was held on the Upper Yarra with Scotch College providing Harvey Nicholson his first Head of the River coaching win. It was an all the way win for Scotch with the other crews chasing. The races were conducted on 15th and 16th May.

The race was the first to be held after Australian troops had been sent to war and talk on the river bank was all about who had been sent where? This did not prevent the talk about three generations of one family who had all raced in the Head of the River. The Ritchie family had a representative in the Melbourne crew and whose father and grandfather had also raced.

 



Officials and Coaches

Organising Committee: E A Wells (Hon Secretary)

Starter: H J Green

Umpire: Edward Kenny

Judge: H T James

Clerk of Scales: G H Gossip

Despatch Stewards: Capt H E Butler, W D Kennedy

 

 

Albert Bell

This was the first time Albert Bell would coach the Geelong College crew. Bell was a good oarsman and coach. He raced and coached for his club Corio Bay and also raced in 1948 Victorian King's Cup crew. His coaching career also included an Australian four at the 1962 Commonwealth Games. He coached the Geelong College crew 27 times and won on 5 occasions. The Geelong College rowing support group is known as the Albert Bell Club in his honour.

Neil H MacNeil

This was also the first year that the Wesley Headmaster Neil MacNeil would coach the Wesley crew.

Head of the River

Time: 5:12.2
Margins: 1 length and 1/2 length

1st Scotch College - Bow: Ronald G Blacket, 2: Archibald G Simpson, 3: John B Ware, 4: John F McNicol, 5: James S Shaw, 6: Hugh Stretton, 7: George A Hagenauer, Str: Gordon D Fisher, Cox: Robert K Sim, Cch: G Harvey Nicholson
2nd Melbourne Grammar - Bow: J H Fergusson, 2: Noel A Ritchie, 3: A B Colquhoun, 4: J S Bell, 5: C G Hill, 6: B S Winslow, 7: R S Bowles, Str: M N Hodgson, Cox: G F E DeRavin, Cch: Walter E " Wally" Rickett
3rd Wesley College - Bow: C A McPherson, 2: W J Bottomer, 3: B W Lockwood, 4: L C Weber, 5: R G Holst, 6: G J Pollock, 7: M J Foley, Str: R J M Walker, Cox: V G Vivian, Cch: Neil H MacNeil and Charles Donald

Melbourne Grammar First Crew

Standing: Ritchie N.A. (2), Bell J.S. (4), W.N. Ricketts Esq., Colquhoun A.B (3), Fergusson J.H (Bow). Sitting: Winslow B.S. (6), Hodgson M.N. (Stroke), Bowles R.S. (7), Hill C.G. (5). In Front: Deravin G.F.E. (Cox). Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

Wesley College First Eight
Photo from the Wesley College Boatshed

The Age reported on the final as follows;

When the three crews first came into sight round the big bend the umpire’s launch that followed behind signaled MGS as leaders, but from the finishing post it appeared that Scotch and Grammar were almost level, and Wesley were only a few feet behind. Then the strong posts of Melburnians chanted their school song vociferously, and already proclaimed a certain victory for the “Dark Blues”, who won in 1938, 1939, 1940.

Steering a clever and fine course, the Scotch cox just called for a little extra pace, and from that point, 500 yards from the judge’s box, the race was practically over.

The work in the Melbourne Grammar boat became short and ragged, while the boat rolled badly. Scotch then swung along easily, and with a real Australian leg and body drive, rowed their best form to date. The stroke, G. D. Fisher, took his signal from the cox, R. K. Sim, and a snappy dozen finished all pretensions of Grammar, whose form had been lost half way through the race. Wesley, rowing well, found the impost of 10 and 12 lb. per man in the average weight too much, but must be complimented on a game and plucky performance.

Scotch won by a length in 5min 12.2sec, with Wesley half a length away in third.

Other crews competing were:
Xavier College - Bow: W E Burne, 2: P N Lewis, 3: G W Hiscock, 4: D J Conroy, 5: J A McCooey, 6: R A Hoppe, 7: W J Hobbs, Str: Alexander N Davison, Cox: P A Falkland, Cch: Eddie A Fakhry
Geelong Grammar School - Bow: R A B Vance, 2: I B Hartnell, 3: P C T Armytage, 4: D G Campbell, 5: R A Gilder, 6: B S Inglis, 7: B J Thewlis, Str: W S C Hare, Cox: E C Smith, Cch: William H Pincott
Geelong College - Bow: G A McKinley, 2: T V Hawkes, 3: J A C McDonald, 4: J H Anderson, 5: J M Ferguson, 6: G T Exell, 7: J A Strickland, Str: J R Morrison, Cox: W A Martin, Cch: Albert B Bell

Heat results:
E1: 1st SC, 2nd GC. Time: 5:12.2, Margin: 4 lengths
E2: 1st WC, 2nd XC, Time: 5:16.4, Margin: 5 lengths
E3: 1st MGS, 2nd GGS, Time: 5:58.5, Margin: One canvas.
The race was reported as "a magnificent struggle".

The Age reported on the heats as follows:

First Heat - Scotch v Geelong College

Scotch dashed away at the start, and shot the Morell-bridge in 52 ¾ sec., with an advantage of ¾ of a length. Racing well, and settling down to a fine swing, Scotch increased its lead to a length at the half mile, passed in 2 min 26 2-5th sec. As the crews straightened up for the final 200 yards, Scotch, two lengths in front, passed the repeated sprint challenges of Geelong unheeded. Won by four lengths in 5min 12.2sec, against full stream.

Second Heat - Wesley v Xavier

Wesley took the lead from pistol fire, and striking 37 to Xavier’s 39, was a length ahead at the Morell-bridge. Racing with a delightful body swing and solid leg drive, the light Wesley lads drew away at will. At the half-mile, clocked at 2min 27sec., the race was all over, and in the procession that followed Xavier struggled gamely but unavailingly, and saw its rival glide away without much trouble. Won by 5 lengths in 5min 16.4sec, against stream.

Third Heat - MGS v Geelong Grammar

Geelong Grammar got away from Melbourne at the start, although the Dark Blues struck 39 to the Light Blues 37. Geelong passed under the Morell-bridge, and was cheered there by a Geelong strong post, as the crew led its rivals by a third of a length. Geelong was the steadier crew at the half mile, when Melbourne faltered badly there. As the umpire’s launch was flying the white flag to indicate Geelong leading, the big crowds at the finish cheered wildly. Then a great race ensued. The Dark Blues sprinted to gain a narrow lead, when they were challenged again, and won the heat by a canvas. Time: 4min 58.5sec in dead water.

Second Crews

(These races were not part of the Head of the River regatta. The Melbourne metropolitan schools raced as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst the metropolitan schools on 10th May on the Upper Yarra. The Geelong schools raced amongst themselves on the Barwon.)

Metropolitan schools

Time: 2:40.0
Margin: 1 canvas

Geelong schools

Time: NTT
Margins: 1/3 length

Melbourne metropolitan schools

1st Wesley College - Bow: G Blewett, 2: D Paine, 3: O Miles, 4: R Boyce, 5: J Powling, 6: J Chitty, 7: D Dennis, Str: W Cowley, Cox: G Johnson
2nd Melbourne Grammar
- Bow: W F Lockington, 2: K E Spargo, 3: G L Stewart, 4: J R Gutteridge, 5L W Harper, 6: H M Ponsford, 7: J H W Birrell, StrL R H Wallace-Mitchell, Cox: B S Sargood
3rd Xavier College
4th Scotch College
- Bruce Adams

Melbourne Grammar Second Crew

From left: B.S. Sargood (cox), R.H. Wallace-Mitchell, J.H.W. Birrell, H.M. Ponsford, W. Harper, J.R. Gutteridge, G.L. Stewart, K.E. Spargo and W.F. Lockington
Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

Geelong schools

1st Geelong Grammar - McGregor, Coulson, Cox, Cumming, Donald, Gilder, Myer, Spowers
2nd Geelong College - Williams, Zimmerman, Johnson, Fearon, Neilson, Pearson, Davies, Vanrenan

Third Crews

(These races were not part of the Head of the River regatta. The Melbourne metropolitan schools raced as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst the metropolitan schools on 10th May on the Upper Yarra. The Geelong schools raced amongst themselves on the Barwon.)

Metropolitan schools

Time: 2:11.8

Geelong schools

Margin: 1/3 length

Melbourne metropolitan schools

1st Wesley College - Bow: I Parkin, 2: D Cole, 3: W Donegan, 4: J McLean, 5: J Permezel, 6: D Trigg, 7: D McVey, Str: K Donaldson, Cox: W Duncan
2nd Scotch College
3rd Xavier College
4th Melbourne Grammar

Melbourne Grammar Third Crew

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

Geelong schools

1st Geelong Grammar - Armstrong, Young, Fairbairn, Linden, Whiting, Lathan, Sargood, Allen
2nd Geelong College - Dowling, Charles, Woolley, Michael, Towns, Drury, Russell

Fourth Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on 10th May on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: 1:52.0
Margin: 1 length

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: H Wilson, 2: D Keble-Johnston, 3: J Arnold, 4: I Watson, 5: M Dickens, 6: P Lemaire, 7: C Hanson, Str: G Handley, Cox: T Mills
2nd Wesley College
3rd Scotch College

Melbourne Grammar Fourth Crew

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

Fifth Crews

Time:1:50.2
Margin: 3/4 length

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: R Jowett, 2: A Bassett, 3: W Williams, 4: M Newton, 5: J Abbs, 6: H Shain, 7: I Debenham, Str: R Johnston, Cox: D Scott
2nd Scotch College

Melbourne Grammar Fifth Crew

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

Sixth Crews

Time: 1:51.4
Margin: 3/4 length

1st Scotch College - Bow: G Hallam, C Mudie, J Mosman, K Pearson, B Robertson, V Canuer, Str: A Dix, Cox: J Todd
2nd Melbourne Grammar

Melbourne Grammar Sixth Crew

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

Seventh Crews

Time: 1:53.0
Margin: 2 feet

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: G Colquhoun, 2: F Clendennin, 3: A McDonald, 4: F Fraser, 5: J Fergusson, 6: B Kennon, 7: K Welch, Str: R Cook, Cox: K Nicholson
2nd Scotch College

Melbourne Grammar Seventh Crew

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

Sources

 

  • 1941 APS regatt program
  • The Pincott Club Handbook 2006
  • Scotch Collegian 1941
  • Lift her home to victory, lads! A centenary history of Xavier College 1906-2006 by Michael Lefebvre
  • Appendix to A Deepening Roar Scotch College 1851-2001 by James Mitchell, Allen & Unwin 2001
  • MELBOURNE GRAMMAR IN GREAT FINISH (1941, May 16). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved April 21, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article205157700
  • SCOTCH AFTER 14 YEARS (1941, May 17). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved April 21, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article205152688
  • WESLEY CREWS PREVAIL (1941, May 12). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved April 21, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article205145420

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