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History of the Queensland GPS Head of the River rowing regatta

1939 QLD GPS Head of the River



The 18th Head of the River was conducted on Saturday 6th May 1939 on the Milton Reach of the Brisbane River. 

According to the papers, "“A Crowd of about 1000 enthusiasts gathered at the vital finishing point, the Knoll, a few hundred yards above the Grey Street Bridge, and many cars raced along Coronation Drive for the starting point near the Davies Park Baths. There was the usual brilliant showing of school colours and hearty barracking.” (Page 8, The Telegraph, 6 May 1939 Edition) 

In the lead up to the event, The Telegraph reported that "“Present indications coupled with past performances suggest that the race will be a thrilling one between Brisbane Boys’ College, Church of England Grammar School and State High School, with the Southport School and Brisbane Boys’ Grammar School settling matters between them at the tail end of the field.”

Church of England Grammar secured a magnificent double, but didn't win every race on the programme. Brisbane Boys College thwarted what would have been an impressive Churchie treble in the inaugural All Schools' Third Race by a mere canvas.

The 5 crews lined up in this order from the North Bank. 

First Crews (12.30PM): No. 1 Brisbane Boys’ College, no. 2 Brisbane State High School, no. 3 Brisbane Grammar School, no. 4 Church of England Grammar School, no. 5 The Southport School 

Second Crews (12PM): No. 1 Brisbane State High School, No. 2 Church of England Grammar School, No. 3 Brisbane State High School, No. 4 The Southport School, No. 5 Brisbane Grammar School 

 

Organising Committee:

The 1939 Head of the River was conducted by the Queensland Great Public Schools Association 

Known Officials:

Starter: Mr George Smoothey 


All Schools' Championship Four

The O'Connor Cup

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:33.00

Margins:

1.5 Lengths (1-2)

Dead Head for Second

2 Lengths (2-4) 

1st Church of England Grammar School - Bow: J. H. G. Murray 10st 0lb, 2: A. Bray 11.10, 3: J. S. Parkinson 13.0, Str: J. Mactaggart 11.3, Cox: D. P. Henry 7.10

2nd Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: R. N. O’Reilly 10.0, 2: M. L. Armstrong 13.0, 3: L. G. Ricketts 13.0, Str: R. S. Chandler 10.11, Cox: D. A. Peterson 7.0 

2nd Brisbane State High School - Bow: J. Stedman 11.4, 2: O. Bobroff 12.7, 3: A. Grant Taylor 12.2, Str: J. Ralston 11.3, Cox: H. Field 7.2

4th The Southport School - Bow: L. R. Dixon 12.0, 2: T. M. Knox 12.0, 3: B. M. Geissman 12.6, Str: D. A. Fletcher 10.0, Cox: K. W. Stevenson 7.0 

5th Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: E. R. Crosier 10.0, 2: K. M. Gregor 11.8, 3: N. W. Campbell 11.4, Str: H. Bryan 10.8, Cox: F. D. Rutledge 6.10


Brisbane Boys' College Crew



The Race Described

“The starter, Mr. George Smoothey, got the firsts away in an excellent line. B.B.C., B.S.H.S and C.E.G.S. went to the front quickly leaving B.G.S and Southport a couple of yards behind after the first 50 yards had been covered. B.B.C. got to work in fine style a little later and after about 150 yards had been put behind they had a slight advantage over B.S.H.S with C.E.G.S little father back.

C.E.G.S improved considerably approaching the half mile mark and passing the ferry were a canvas ahead of State High and B.B.C., who were almost on terms. Southport too, was almost up with the leaders at this stage but were dropping back. B.G.S. were last. B.B.C. and B.G.H.S. crews were called upon for an extra effort shortly afterwards and they established a narrow lead. C.E.G.S. however were rowing well within themselves and hitting up the rating to 40 they slid into the lead from from B.B.C with B.S.H.S. running close third. T.S.S. and B.G.S. were well out of the race at this stage, battling along almost together lengths behind the leaders.

Approaching the finishing line C.E.G.S obviously had the race won, but B.B.C and B.S.H.S were still fighting out second place with B.B.C having a slight advantage. Over the last 50 yards B.S.H.S with a great burst drew level right on the line and the judges failed to separate them. Officially this pair were a length and a half behind C.E.G.S.. T.S.S. were nearly two lengths away in fourth place, with B.G.S. last.”

Page 8, The Telegraph, 6 May 1939 Edition 

All Schools' Second Four

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Times: 4:51.00

Margins:

2 Lengths (1-2)

1 ½ lengths (2-3)

½  a length (3-4)

½ a length (4-5)

1st Church of England Grammar - Bow: D. Lee-Warner 11.4, 2: J. Whittle 11.9, 3: R. Hoskins 12.10, Str: K. Shaw 11.0, Cox: J. F. Bourne 7.0

2nd Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: E. R. Staffsmith 9.7, 2: G. Ricketts 10.7, 3: D. R. Menogue 10.6, Str: R. Berglind 10.2, Cox: N. S. Whitehead 7.0

2nd Brisbane State High School - Bow: V. Zaccour 10st 0lb, 2: K. Brown 10.12, 3: H. Widdop 10.9, Str: P. Winterflood 9.12, Cox: R. Parry 7.4

4th The Southport School - Bow: R. C. Wehl 9.8, 2: S. B. Anderson 9.9, 3: J. L. Young 11.0, Str: W. L. Atherton 10.2, Cox: E. H. Cardnow 7.0

5th Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: K. E. Jones 9.1, 2: W. K. Watson 10.8, 3: R. A. Henderson 11.11, Str: P. H. G. Oxley 10.10, Cox: A. R. Bialse 7.7

Brisbane Boys' College's Senior Crews:


The Race Described

“The five second crews got away well, except that Southport were about two feet behind. C.E.G.S., rating at 41, were the first to show out, while Southport showed early signs of being left during the race. After a little over 100 yards, B.S.H.S, were on terms with C.E.G.S., then coming B.B.C., B.G.S., and Southport. B.S.H.S and C.E.G.S. drew away from the others, and set up a lead of about half a length approaching the half mile mark.

It was close racing between State High, C.E.G.S. and B.B.C. and at the ferry C.E.G.S. had worked into a lead of half a length from B.S.H.S with B.B.C. a close third. T.S.S were next, with B.G.S., rowing very raggedly, a bad last. Just after passing the ferry, State High went to pieces and stopped rowing to pick up timing again. By the time they had settled down once more, C.E.G.S., had gained a big lead, and B.B.C had run into second place. 

C.E.G.S went on to win very comfortably by two lengths from B.S.H.S with B.B.C a length and a half farther away in third place. Southport were half a length away in fourth place, leading B.G.S by half a length.”

Page 8, The Telegraph, 6 May 1939 Edition 

All Schools Third Four

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Times: n/a

Margins:

A canvas  

1st Brisbane Boys’ College - Bow: R. Winterbotham 9st 12lbs, 2: E. J. Carter 11st 3lbs, 3: C. J. Minty 11st 5lbs, Str: D. G. Hinwood 10st 9lbs, Cox: B.B. Ledlie 7st 

2nd Church of England Grammar School  

“The crews got away well, B.B.C. securing an early lead over C.E.G.S.. At the ferry C.E.G.S. went to the front and seemed to have the race well in hand when B.B.C. put in a magnificent spurt to head C.E.G.S. by a length.”

Page 69, The Portal, December 1939 edition 

Sources

Page 15, The Telegraph, 5 May 1939 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/185112652

Page 8, The Telegraph, 6 May 1939 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/20017312

Page 12, The Courier-Mail, 6 May 1939 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/40829026?searchTerm=head%20of%20river

Page 23, Sunday Mail, 7 May 1939 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/10215174

Page 8, Truth, 7 May 1939 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/21890173

Page 69, The Portal, December 1939 edition via Trove https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-1497409895/view?partId=nla.obj-1512510213#page/n70/mode/1up

Page 70, The Portal, December 1939 edition via Trove https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-1497409895/view?partId=nla.obj-1512510213#page/n70/mode/1up

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