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History of the Queensland GPS Head of the River rowing regatta

1945 QLD GPS Head of the River

The 1945 Head of the River was the third unofficial Head of the River with the formal competition suspended for the duration of World War II. 

An excerpt from the 1945 Brisbane Boys' College Newsletter reads: 

"Following last year's wonderfull record breaking successes in the unofficial Head of the River, College was encouraged to try for even higher honours this years. The School entered five crews, and once again was successful in "scooping the pool" in all events."

Page 58, The Portal, December 1945 Edition via Trove

The Sunday Mail stated that "B.B.C. crews had a day out. As well as winning the big event they won both minor races." (Page 7, Sunday Mail, Sunday 6th May 1945 Edition via Trove) 

"A pleasant innovation to the usual "Head of the River" programme this year was a broadcast descripion of the race on short and long wave by the A.B.C. The broadcast was made by Mr. J. J. Delahunty, Chairman of the Queensland Rowing Council, and by this means old boys on service at home and abroad were given the oppurtunity of hearing the description of the Big Race, which must have been a sure reminder of many happy memories."

Page 59, The Portal, December 1945 Edition via Trove


Organising Committee:

Great Public Schools Association

The Officials were:

Starter: Mr. G. N. Smoothey

Judge: Rev. Mr. Mervyn Henderson

Umpire: Mr. G. R. H. Gill  

First Four

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:29.40


4 Feet (1-2)

0.25 Length (2-3)

2 Lengths (3-4) 

1st Brisbane Boys' College - Bow: B. N. Richards 9st 6lbs, 2: H. J. Wall 11st 11lbs, 3: B. A. Junner 9st 12lbs, Str: N. B. Nimmo 10st, Cox: E. R. Whelan 7st 9lbs

2nd Church of England Grammar School - Bow: P. Bekkers, 2: N. Gow, 3: W. Roos, Str: C. Taylor, Cox: Cole

3rd Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: I. D. Brown 10st 5lbs, 2: J. R. Wylie 11st 2lbs, 3: R. R. Pilbeam 13st 6lbs, Str: R. A. James 11st 11lbs, Cox: M. W. Brown 7st 13lbs

4th The Southport School - Bow: D. Clouston, 2: H. J. Ball, 3: G. T. Benness, Str: J. H. Ferris, Cox: J. Hassall

Winning Crew: Brisbane Boys' College

The Race Described

"With conditions almost perfect, except for a slight head wind, the four crews lined up before the starter at 11.15 a.m. At the sound of the gun, B.B.C., who has the disadvantage of a dead boat, began rating 32 and dropped into fourth position. T.S.S. took the lead, followed by B.G.S. and C.E.G.S. At the end of a dozen strokes, T.S.S. led by half a canvas from B.G.S. who had a lead of half a length on C.E.G.S.

After settling down these crews kept up their rating of over 40, while B.B.C., who remained in fourth position, rated a steady 28 with a perfect run in the boat. At this time B.G.S. followed by C.E.G.S. began to pull away from T.S.S. After a quarter mile, B.G.S. led by 1.5 lengths from T.S.S. with C.E.G.S. and B.B.C. close behind. By this time B.G.S. and T.S.S. began to tire and T.S.S. dropped back into last position. At the half-way, B.G.S. led by 1/2 length from C.E.G.S. with B.B.C. a canvas further back.

With a quarter of a mile to go, C.E.G.S. and B.G.S. began to sprint, and C.E.G.S. took the lead followed by B.B.C. and B.G.S. who were now level. With a hundred yards to go, B.B.C., who were a half canvas behind C.E.G.S., increased their rating to 32 and passed the high-rating B.G.S. crew. T.S.S. at this time was two lengths behind B.G.S. Fifty yards from the finish, B.B.C. drew level with C.E.G.S, who, while rating 39, moved ahead of B.G.S. with T.S.S. dropping back.

As the crews neared the finishing line, B.B.C., while rating only 33, began to draw away from the high-rating C.E.G.S. crew went on to win by half a canvas from C.E.G.S. with B.G.S. a quarter of a length behind Churchie. T.S.S. came in fourth, 3.5 lengths behind B.G.S."

Page 60, The Portal, December 1945 Edition via Trove

Second Four

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:00.60


3 Lengths (1-2)

0.25 Length (2-3)


1st Brisbane Boys' College II - Bow: K. Donnollan 9st 6lbs, 2: L. Hudson 10st 13lbs, 3: R. Hartley 11st 13lbs, Str: J. Cameron 9st 2lbs, Cox: M. Lockhart 8st 3lbs

2nd Brisbane Grammar School - Bow: I. C. Chester 9st 5lbs, 2: D. R. Steele 11st 1lbs, 3: P. F. Gillham 12st 3lbs, Str: P. J. Coates 10st 8lbs, Cox: C. L. Dart 7st 12lbs

3rd Church of England Grammar School - Bow: N. Dutney, 2: N. Blocksidge, 3: Matthews, Str: P. Heulens, Cox: G. McNamara 

4th Brisbane Boys' College III - Bow: E. Lewis 9st 2lbs, 2: C. Beck 10st, 3: G. Boyd 10st 10lbs, Str: E. Clarke 9st 9lbs, Cox: N. Geldard 7st

5th The Southport School

Winning Crew: Brisbane Boys' College II

The Race Described


"In this race, B.B.C. entered two crews, their seconds and thirds. At the start, B.G.S., with a high rating, forged into the lead, followed by B.B.C. II., who gained half a length on C.E.G.S., with B.B.C. III and T.S.S. behind. After settling down B.G.S. led by half a length from B.B.C. II who were a length ahead of C.E.G.S. and B.B.C. III., while T.S.S. dropped back.

At the quarter mile, B.B.C. II challenged B.G.S. and took the lead by a quarter of a length. After passing the half-way mark, B.G.S. made a determined effort to catch B.B.C. II, but though rating much higher, they were unable to make any impression. At this stage B.B.C. II led by 1.25 lengths from B.G.S. with C.E.G.S. a length further back and a quarter of a length ahead of B.B.C. III.

Over the last few hundred yards, B.B.C. II. increased their lead on B.G.S. and while rating 35 went on to win by three lengths from B.G.S. C.E.G.S. came in third ahead of B.B.C. III and T.S.S. fifth."

Page 60, The Portal, December 1945 Edition via Trove

Third Four

Distance: 0.75 Mile

Winning Time: 4:07.40


1 Length (1-2)

2 Lengths (2-3)

1st Brisbane Boys' College IV - Bow: G. Thurecht 9st 1lbs, 2: N. Wilson 9st 6lbs, 3: N. Holland 11st 8lbs, Str: R. Newell 10st, Cox: I. Wedemeyer 7st 4lbs

2nd Church of England Grammar III - Bow: Mellor, 2: Gray, 3: Wells, Str: Biggs, Cox: H. Fraser

3rd Brisbane Boys' College V - Bow: A. Scott 9st 6lbs, 2: L. Ward 9st 12lbs, 3: R. Kitching 9st 7lbs, Str: K. Duncombe 8st 9lbs, Cox: B. Treverton 7st

4th Church of England Grammar IV - Bow: n/a, 2: Young, 3: A. Quant, Str: B. Guttridge, Cox: G. Pearson 

The Race Described:

"This year the College made history in the annals of G.P.S. rowing by entering a fourth and fifth crew in the third's race. Although our fourths raced against crews senior to them, they proved themselves definitely superior. All crews got away to a perfect start. B.B.C., rating 30, did a hard dozen and kept level with the other high rating crews. After lowering their rating and settling down, B.B.C. IV began to draw away from B.B.C. V and C.E.G.S. III with C.E.G.S. IV well in the rear.

Just before reaching the 1/4 mile post, B.B.C. IV held a lead of half a length on C.E.G.S. III, with B.B.C. V rowing perfectly and keeping level with C.E.G.S. III. At the half-mile post, B.B.C. IV increased their lead to 1.5 lengths from C.E.G.S. III who began to draw away from B.B.C. V. With only a hundred yards to go, B.B.C. IV, who then held the lead of three lengths from C.E.G.S. III crabbed severely, bringing the boat to a stop.

By the time the crew commenced rowing again. C.E.G.S. III had come to within half a length of their bow but the coolness of the stroke enabled them to pick up and win by one length from C.E.G.S. III. B.B.C. V came in third one length behind Churchie and C.E.G.S. IV fourth."

Page 61, The Portal, December 1945 Edition via Trove 


58-63, The Portal, December 1945 Edition via Trove

Page 7, Sunday Mail, Sunday 6th May 1945 Edition via Trove

Page 5, The Telegraph, Saturday 5th May 1945 Edition via Trove

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