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History of the Queensland GPS Head of the River rowing regatta

1928 QLD GPS Head of the River

The 7th Head of the River was conducted on Saturday May 12th 1928 on the Bridge Reach of the Brisbane River.

In order to capitalise on the progress and interest that had been made thus far in the All School's Championship, The Queensland Rowing Association and the Queensland Secondary School Association innovated to include the staging of a Second Four competition. This was met with great enthusiasm as all school's were represented in the inaugural event.

The 1928 Head of the River was moreover distinguished on account of St. Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace's addition to the competition. Their welcomed inclusion to the event demanded the running of heats for the First and Second Four contests on Thursday May 10th, two days prior. There would be two heats for each First and Second Races, with the top two out of three in the respective heats progressing to the final and the third placed crew being eliminated.

Despite bowing out early in their first Head of the River, Gregory Terrace far from disgraced themselves. 

Greater than usual enthusiasm punctuated the 1928 contest with several thousand spectators either lined on the banks of the river or riding on a motor launch.

The Officials for the day were as follows:

Referee: Archbishop Sharp 

Starter: Mr A. A. Watson 

Judge: Mr. L. Blakely 

Partisans of Brisbane State High School and Brisbane Grammar School reached fever pitch as their representatives crossed the finishing line in exhilarating fashion at the end of the First Crews' race. The result was a dead heat, with the race's judge, Mr. L. Blakely, unable to seperate the two schools. 

In presenting the O’Connor Cup, Archbishop Sharpe revealed that the rules governed that a re-race shall not be granted in the event of a draw and as such State High and Brisbane Grammar would therefore each hold the trophy for six months. 

That State High were not clear winners came as a surprise to many given their strong lead up to the Head of the River having proved victorious in the Under 20 Event at the University Boat Club and Labour Day Regatta where they defeated Brisbane Grammar School by five lengths.

The positions in the senior race from the left to the right bank were as follows: The Southport School, Brisbane Grammar School, Brisbane Boys’ College and State High School.

 

Organising Committees:

The Queensland Metropolitan Secondary Schools' Association

Queensland Rowing Association 


All Schools' Championship Four Final

The O'Connor Cup

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:29.00

Margins: 

Dead Heat for First.

1 length (1-3)

0.5 length (3-4)

1st Brisbane State High School & Brisbane Grammar School 

B.S.H.S - Bow: R. Trickett 9st 9lb, 2: A. Polkinghome 11st 2lb, 3: F. Whyatt 12st 3lb, 

Str: V. Crew 10st 5lb, Cox: F. Briant 

B.G.S - Bow: K. V. Sylow 11st, 2: E. R. Collings 11st 4lb, 3: L. D. Lawton 11st 7lb, 

Str: F. M. Nicholson 11st 7lb, Cox: R. T. Priestley 

3rd Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: D. Clarke 10st 11lb, 2: R. Paterson 10st 10lb, 3: C. Fraser 11st 1lb, 

Str: R. Thomason 11st, Cox: L. Fielding

4th The Southport School - Bow: I. A. Archer 9st 7st, 2: E. S. King 11st 2lb, 3: P. C. Lahey 11st 1lb, 

Str: J. K. Cullen 10st 1lb, Cox: B. Nixon  



From left to right: R. T. Priestly, F. M. Nicholson, L. D. Lawton, E. R. Collings, K. V. Sylow

From Left to right: F. Briant, V. Crew, F. Whyatt, A. Polkinghome, R. Trickett 


The Race Described

A second start was required when the starter's gun misfired and Brisbane Boys' College had broken away. Having called the crews back, a great restart was then effected just after 10.30am. Brisbane Grammar got off to the poorest start with College and State High School hitting their top speed by the fifth stroke. 

At the Victoria Bridge, State High and Clayfield, both rating 36 and 34 strokes per minute respectively, led Grammar, 36 by a quarter length who in turn had a few feet's advantage on Southport, 33.

Emerging from the the bridge, Grammar settled down in a smooth stroke having appeared nervous in the first half of the race and were executing strong bladework that enabled them to gradually reduce the deficit. 

From here, Brisbane Boys' College and Southport gradually fell back and with 200 yards to go the contest had resolved itself into a struggle between State High School and Brisbane Grammar, with the former being a quarter length ahead. Southport were rowing well overall but lacked a strong combination through the boat with one crew member rowing out of time. They trailed Grammar by 1 length and were neck and neck with College.

Almost simultaneously, the four crews let loose their finishing sprints, and Grammar, owing to brilliant stamina, came in with a brilliant spurt and began reigning in State High School. The exasperate expressions on the faces of Brisbane Grammar's crew symbolic of their burning desire to win the school’s first Head of the River title for eleven years. 

Brisbane State High School, having led the most of the race, was caught on the line by their relentless chasers. With excitement intense amongst the large crowd gathered in the Domain, the first dead-heat in the history of the race was declared by the umpire, Mr L. Blakely.

The time of 4:29.00 was slower than usual on account of the race being rowed on slack water. 


All Schools' Championship Four Heat 1

The O'Connor Cup

Distance: 0.75

No Times Recorded for Heats 

Margins:

1.5 Lengths (1-2)

2.5 Lengths (2-3)


1st State High School - Bow: R. Trickett 9st 9lb, 2: A. Polkinghome 11st 2lb, 3: F. Whyatt 12st 3lb, Str: V. Crew 10st 5lb, Cox: F. Briant 

2nd Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: D. Clarke 10st 11lb, 2: R. Paterson 10st 10lb, 3: C. Fraser 11st 1lb, Str: R. Thomason 11st, Cox: L. Fielding

3rd Church of England Grammar School - Bow:  K. G. Holtorf 10st 12lb, 2: J. C. Schmidt 9st 11lb, 3: C. L. Watts 10st 6lb, Str: A. W. Spence 9st 13lb, Cox: A. J. Spence 

The first heat was fairly even to within a few hundred yards of the post, when the State High put in a good final dash. Clayfield challenged but failed to appreciably cut down the lead.


All Schools' Championship Four Heat 2

The O'Connor Cup

Distance: 0.75

No Times Recorded for Heats 

Margins:

1.5 Lengths (1-2)

3 Lengths (2-3)


1st The Southport School - Bow: I. A. Archer 9st 7st, 2: E. S. King 11st 2lb, 3: P. C. Lahey 11st 1lb, Str: J. K. Cullen 10st 1lb, Cox: B. Nixon  

2nd Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: K. V. Sylow 11st, 2: E. R. Collings 11st 4lb, 3: L. D. Lawton 11st 7lb, Str: F. M. Nicholson 11st 7lb, Cox: R. T. Priestley 

3rd St. Joseph's College Gregory Terrace - Bow: L. Barnes 10st 7lb, 2: J. Ahern 10st, 3: J. Portley 11st 7lb, Str: F. M. Nicholson 11st 7lb, Cox: E. Smith 

A Close finish looked very looked very likely as the crew in the second heat of the First Crews race went down the river. Grammars were extending Southport and the finishing post was not very far away when Southport definitely took the lead to win by a length and a half.


All Schools' Second Four Final

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:14.00

Margins:

0.5 Lengths (1-2)

0.5 Length (2-3)

4 Length (3-4)

1st Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: W. Hart 10st 6lb, 2: W. Moodie 10st 5lb, 3: J. Lawson 10st 7lb, Str: F. James 9st 11lb, Cox: A. Rudd 

2nd Anglican Church Grammar School - Bow: J. Stephens 10st 10lb, 2: J. C. Crombie 11st 3lb, 3: R. M. Allan 13st 1lb, Str: H. Royle 10st 13lb, Cox: S. D. C. Robinson

3rd The Southport School - Bow: L. E. N. Lahey 9st 11lb, 2: B. J. Butcher 10st 9lb, 3: W. H. Michod 9st 11lb, Str: G. B. Greensill 9st 4lb, Cox: E. R. Isaacs

4th Brisbane State High School - Bow: Birkbeek 8st 4lb, 2: S. Atherton 10st 12lb, 3: G. Gutteridge 8st 4lb, Str: H. Wood 9st 3lb, Cox: H. Cantor 

Brisbane Boys' College Crew




The Race Described

With the race underway by 10am, State High moved off at 41 strokes per minute, Southport hit 39 and College and Churchie started slowly at 34. The four crews were close together and at the Victoria Bridge, Southport were leading State High School by three feet with Clayfield and Churchie a quarter of a length behind.

A hundred yards on from here and tragedy struck for State High. With the slide of one of the crew jamming, the crew were rendered stationary and hopes of victory dashed. 

College and Churchie then rallied to reign in the leading Southport and both crews had displaced the southern crew as the boats passed Brown's wharf. From here with 200 yards to fo, Churchie took a quarter of a length lead through their powerful and long rowing stroke.

However College put in a great spurt with 100 yards remaining and would maintain this momentum until the finishing post where they took victory from Churchie's clutches, winning by half a length. Southport came third by the 1 length and State High School was a further 3 lengths behind. 


All Schools' Second Four Heat 1

Distance: 0.75 Mile

No Times recorded for the Heats 

Margins:

1.5 Lengths (1-2)

1.25 Lengths (2-3)


1st Anglican Church Grammar School - Bow: J. Stephens 10st 10lb, 2: J. C. Crombie 11st 3lb, 3: R. M. Allan 13st 1lb, Str: H. Royle 10st 13lb, Cox: S. D. C. Robinson

2nd The Southport School - Bow: L. E. N. Lahey 9st 11lb, 2: B. J. Butcher 10st 9lb, 3: W. H. Michod 9st 11lb, Str: G. B. Greensill 9st 4lb, Cox: E. R. Isaacs

3rd Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: F. Moore 10st 7lb, 2: A. K. Moore 10st, 3: A. W. Gilmour 13st, Str: R. H. Walker 9st 2lb, Co: D. Row 


All Schools' Second Four Heat 2

Distance: 0.75 Mile

No times recorded for heats

Margins: 

1.5 Lengths (1-2)

5 Lengths (2-3)

1st Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: W. Hart 10st 6lb, 2: W. Moodie 10st 5lb, 3: J. Lawson 10st 7lb, Str: F. James 9st 11lb, Cox: A. Rudd 

2nd Brisbane State High School - Bow: Birkbeek 8st 4lb, 2: S. Atherton 10st 12lb, 3: G. Gutteridge 8st 4lb, Str: H. Wood 9st 3lb, Cox: H. Cantor

3rd St. Joseph’s College, Christian Brothers - Bow: J. Larkin 10st, 2: E. O’Brien 9st 7lb, 3: P. Clark 9st 9lb, Str: K. Lynch  9st 10lb, Cox: R. Tucker


Sources

Page 20, The Telegraph, Friday 18th May 1928 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/179722165?searchTerm=The%20innovation%20of%20staging%20a%20race%20for%20second%20crews%20proved%20very%20popular

Page 13, The Telegraph, Friday 11th May 1928 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/179706021?searchTerm=School%20rowing

Page 3, The Telegraph, Monday 14th May 1928 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/179712909

Page 2, The Telegraph, Monday 14th May 1928 edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/179712810?searchTerm=School%20rowing

Page 6, The Brisbane Courier, Friday 11th May 1928 edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/21285928?searchTerm=School%20rowing

Page 18, The Brisbane Courier, Friday 11th May 1928 edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/1651375

Page 10, Daily Standard, Friday 11th May 1928 edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/178946343?searchTerm=School%20rowing

Page 10, Daily Standard, Friday 18th May 1928 edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/178947510?searchTerm=School%20rowing

Page 10, Daily Standard, Monday 14th May 1928 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/178946653?searchTerm=School%20rowing

Page 11, The Sunday Mail, Sunday May 13th Edition 1928 via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/100130944

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