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History of the Queensland GPS Head of the River rowing regatta

1937 QLD GPS Head of the River

The 16th Head of the River was conducted on Saturday 1st May 1937 on the Milton Reach of the Brisbane River.

According to the Telegraph, "The weather conditions were ideal. The races were rowed over a course of three-quarters of a mile, starting at Davies Park and finishing at the Knoll opposite Morrows'. River road was lined with motor cars, while thousands of spectators lined the river banks at various vantage points, an especially large crowd gathering at the finish." (Page 7, The Telegraph, Saturday 1st May 1937)

The five crews would line up in the following order from the North Bank:

First Crews (2.30PM): No. 1 Brisbane Grammar School, No. 2 The Southport School, No. 3 Brisbane Boys’ College, No. 4 Church of England Grammar School, No.5 Brisbane State High School.

Second Crews (2PM): No. 1 Brisbane Grammar School, No. 2 Church of England Grammar School, No. 3 Brisbane State High School, No. 4 The Southport School, No. 5 Brisbane State High School 

Church of England Grammar and Brisbane Grammar School were both considered by the tabloids as experienced, powerful and proficient crews that would be there at the finish. However it would be the lighter crew, Brisbane Boys' College, who would secure the double for the second year in a row, prompting this note in the College's 1937 School newsletter:

We had done it! Wild was our jubilation and resonant our war-cry! The College had made rowing history, being the first metropolitan school to win a “double-double”.”


 

Organising Committee:

The 1938 head of the River was conducted by the Queensland Great Public Schools Association

Known Official:

Stater: Mr. G. Smoothey 


All Schools Championship Four

The O'Connor Cup

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:17.00

Margins:

1.5 Lengths (1-2)

1 Length (2-3)

1 Length (3-4)

½ a length (4-5) 

1st Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: K. Dawson 9st 5lbs, 2: N.C. Foulkes 10st 7lbs, 3: N. T. Chenoweth 14st 2lbs, Str: R. S. Chandler 10st, Cox: J. J. Wilson 

2nd Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: E. F. Reik 8st 13lbs, 2: T. Dimmock 10st 2lbs, 3: H. Behrman 11st 3lbs, Str: V. G. Gipps 9st 7lbs, Cox: J. V. Gillies 

2nd Church of England Grammar School - Bow: B. Hall 10st 7lbs, 2: C. J. Geddes 10st 11lbs, 3: J. E. Dods 11st, Str: T. J. Meldrum 11st 2lbs, Cox: R. McGregor 

4th The Southport School - Bow: J. G. McLaughlin 10st 9lbs, 2: K. H. Butler 10st 6lbs, 3: T. J. Briggs 11st 3lbs, Str: R. Newton 11st 11lbs, Cox: K. W. Stevenson 

5th Brisbane State High School - Bow: A. Lee 9st 3lbs, 2: K. Salisbury 9st 7lbs, 3: N. Bradbury 9st 5lbs, Str: E. Tinnerman 9st 1lb, Cox: A. Gynther.  

In 1937, Anglican Church Grammar School named a new foar-oared racer in honour of Sir John Monash. General Sir John Monash was Australia’s greatest soldiers and he commanded one of Australia’s most magnificent feats of arms - the break though the Hindernverg Line, which lead more than anything else to the German Surrender in 1918. With nearly 200 000 men under his command he formed the spearhead of the Allied 100 day offensive that broke the German will to fight. Four days later he received a distinction not accorded a British Soldier in 200 years - he was knighted on the field of battle by King George V. John Monash was a great soldier, a master mind in engineering, a scholar of the widest scope. Yet he was an easy man to work with, open to suggestions, grateful for assistance, king and encouraging to subordinates, friendly to all who had relations with him.


The Race Described

“Church of England and Brisbane Grammars dashed off at high ratings, with the latter if anything, slightly in the lead in the first 100 yards. Boys’ College started slower, but more steadily, while Southport rowed very short, and High had not enough weight to jump off with the others. At the end of a minute, Church of England and Brisbane Grammars were level, a few feet ahead of Boys’ College, who were gradually creeping up at a lower rating.

At the Milton ferry, Boys’ College were level with Church of England, Grammars having dropped back half a length. Church of England were apparently feeling the effects of the high rating at the start and their work shortened. 

Boys’ College went on rowing in perfect unison and went away a few inches on every stroke. Grammars again came up on Church of England Grammar, and those crews fought desperately for second position, but the sting had gone out of their rowing.

Southport and High were battling along level a length and a half further back. Continuing their steadiness and fine length, Boys’ College went on to win comfortably by a length and a half from Church of England, Southport and High were a couple of lengths astern.”

Page 7, The Telegraph, Saturday 1st May 1937 Edition 

All Schools' Second Four

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 5:01.00

Margins:

0.5 length (1-2)

Dead heat for second

0.75 Length (2-4)

0.75 Length (4-5)

1st Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: K. Dawson 9st 5lbs, 2: N.C. Foulkes 10st 7lbs, 3: N. T. Chenoweth 14st 2lbs, Str: R. S. Chandler 10st, Cox: J. J. Wilson 

2nd Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: E. F. Reik 8st 13lbs, 2: T. Dimmock 10st 2lbs, 3: H. Behrman 11st 3lbs, Str: V. G. Gipps 9st 7lbs, Cox: J. V. Gillies 

2nd Church of England Grammar School - Bow: B. Hall 10st 7lbs, 2: C. J. Geddes 10st 11lbs, 3: J. E. Dods 11st, Str: T. J. Meldrum 11st 2lbs, Cox: R. McGregor 

4th The Southport School - Bow: J. G. McLaughlin 10st 9lbs, 2: K. H. Butler 10st 6lbs, 3: T. J. Briggs 11st 3lbs, Str: R. Newton 11st 11lbs, Cox: K. W. Stevenson 

5th Brisbane State High School - Bow: A. Lee 9st 3lbs, 2: K. Salisbury 9st 7lbs, 3: N. Bradbury 9st 5lbs, Str: E. Tinnerman 9st 1lb, Cox: A. Gynther.  

Winning Crew: Brisbane Boys' Second IV


The Race Described

“The water was slack when Mr Smoothey sent the crews off to a perfect start. Boys’ College got their boat moving quickly and in half a dozen strokes showed a few feet in front. Church of England were next to them when the first burst died down, with Grammars close up. Southport were slow getting away, as also was State High. 

At the end of half a minute’s rowing Boys College were a quarter of a length in front of Grammars, with Southport and State High Level, half a length back. Boys’ College were rowing with great freedom and increased the lead on every stroke, and at half way were two and a half lengths to the good. Grammars and Church of England were now level. 

Boys’ College appeared to have the race well in hand when a crab stopped their boat almost dead, and by the time they got going again the three crews were about level. Spurting desperately, Boys’ College quickly picked up half a lengths lead. The three crews fought hard to the finish. Boys’ College crossing the line half a length to the good, with Church of England and Grammars finishing level. Southport were three-quarters of a length away and Highs a similar distance further astern.”

Page 7, The Telegraph, Saturday 1st May 1937 Edition 

Sources

Page 7, The Telegraph, Saturday 1st May 1937 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/186836453?searchTerm=head%20of%20river

Page 11, The Courier-Mail, Friday 30th April 1937 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/36892037?searchTerm=School%20rowing

Page 17, The Telegraph, April 30th 1937 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/184067289?searchTerm=head%20of%20river

Page 14, The Courier-Mail, Monday 3rd May 1937 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/37064117?searchTerm=head%20of%20river

Page 11, The Telegraph, Wednesday 28th April 1937 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/184065362

Page 16, The Telegraph, Tuesday 27th April 1937 Edition via Trovehttps://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/184063477

Page 1, The Telegraph, Saturday 1 May 1937 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/19897395

Page 19, The Telegraph, Wednesday 28th April 1937 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/19896153

Page 10, The Telegraph, Saturday 1st May 1937 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/search/advanced/category/newspapers?l-advstate=Queensland&date.from=1937-04-26&date.to=1937-05-07&keyword=crew&l-advIllustrationType=Photo&l-advIllustrationType=Illustration

Page 83, The Portal, December 1937 Edition via Trove https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-1470704948/view?partId=nla.obj-1470861766#page/n84/mode/1up

Page 31, The Portal, December 1937 Edition via Trove https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-1470704948/view?partId=nla.obj-1470826790#page/n32/mode/1up

Page 14, The Sunday Mail, Sunday 2nd May 1937https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/10200175

Page 18, The Courier-Mail, Friday 30th April 1937 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/1971946

Page 8, The Telegraph, Friday 30th April 1937 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/19896234

Pages 31-44, Churchie Rowing by Peter Jell, published by Anglican Church Grammar School 

Pages 68-98, Churchie Rowing by Peter Jell, published by Anglican Church Grammar School 

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