1953 QLD GPS Head of the River
The 31st GPS Head of the River was conducted on Saturday 18th April 1952 on the Milton Reach of the Brisbane River.
Brisbane Boys' College were out to win their fifth consecutive O'Connor cup having last lost in 1948. They suffered a blow when their first stroke, David Street, strained his stomach and broke down in a work-out against a Toowong club crew in the lead up.
Indeed, The Southport School broke a 20 year drought proving winners by a length from Churchie.
The atmosphere on the day was described as electric. An excerpt from the Brisbane Telegraph on 18th April 1953 reads:
"The finishing line at the Toowong Rowing Club boat shed was a pageant of colour. There hundreds of yelling be-ribboned schoolboys, their teenage girl friends, gaily dressed matrons and scores of brightly-hued shades to keep off the hot sun. The race judge, Mr Lance Trout, said it was the biggest crowd he had seen at a Brisbane River regatta. “The Milton Reach is undoubtedly the most beautiful setting for a regatta in the world” Mr Trout said.” (Page 2, Brisbane Telegraph 18 April 1953)
According to the Brisbane Telegraph, 12 000 people and 2 000 cars packed the banks of the Milton Reach creating a brilliant spectacle, witnessing the Southport School unwind a great sustained finishing burst to beat the favoured crews.
The Four Schools lined up from North Bank in the following order. The Southport School, Church of England Grammar School, Brisbane Grammar and Brisbane Boys' College.
Lack of government assistance to buy and maintain boats forced Brisbane State High Schools' withdrawal.
Great Public Schools' Association
Starter: Wilf Mole
Page 2, Brisbane Telegraph 18 April 1953 edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/23835691
Page 8, The Courier-Mail 15 April 1953 edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/23835602
Page 5, The Brisbane Telegraph 17 April 1953 Edition via Trove Page 5 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/23835666
Page 19, Brisbane Telegraph 18 April 1953 edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/23835708
Page 19, South Coast Bulletin, 22 April 1953 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/24949631
Page 28, The Sunday-Mail 19 April 1953 edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/10331533
Page 18, The Truth (Brisbane) 19 April 1953 Edition via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/22075387
Pages 74-78, The Portal December 1953 Edition via Trove https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-1563366828/view?partId=nla.obj-1563467367#page/n75/mode/1up
Churchie Rowing by Peter Jell, Published by Anglican Church Grammar School