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History of the Victorian APS Head of the River rowing regatta

1943 Head of the River

The seventy-sixth Head of the River was again compromised by the requirements of WWII. The Geelong crews raced each other and the metropolitan schools did the same. Interestingly, a losers final was conducted for the first time for the metroplitan schools. The metropolitan schools raced heats on Wednesday 14th April and the finals were conducted on Saturday 17th April. Finals day brought a strong cross breeze and choppy water which made for difficult rowing.

The junior regatta was also held on 17th April.

Geelong Grammar won the Geelong race and challenged the winning Melbourne Grammar crew to find the Head of the River. Melbourne Grammar declined the invitation. Geelong Grammar then challenged Wesley, the crew who came closest to the winning Melbourne crew. Wesley accepts but Geelong Grammar wins easily. Both Geelong Grammar and Wesley called for Geelong Grammar to be given the title of the Head of the River. Eventually the Headmasters declared both Geelong Grammar and Melbourne Grammar joint winners.

Head of the River - Barwon

Time: NTT
Margin: 1 length

1st Geelong Grammar - Bow: W B Patterson, 2: I N Southey, 3: A M Campbell, 4: W H Morshead, 5: H Murton, 6: T E Legoe, 7: R A Kennison, Str: R F Jones, Cox: D L Martin, Cch: William H Pincott
2nd Geelong College - Bow: J W Foreman, 2: M A Spittle, 3: C F Ostberf, 4: R K Fullager, 5: E J Errey, 6: D B Rolland, 7: J C C Shuter, Str: P W Grutzner, Cox: G A Buchanan, Cch: E S Kishere

Head of the River - Metropolitan

Time: 5:15.4
       Margin: 4 lengths


Losers final:
Time: 5:23.4
       Margin: 2 lengths        

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: V C Morgan, 2: M Wallace-Mitchell, 3: G J Colquhoun, 4: B Kennon, 5: R D Watson, 6: J R Gutteridge, 7: W R Harper, Str: I D Watson, Cox: D A Clendennen, Cch: W E " Wally" Ricketts
2nd Scotch College - Bow: Vernon R Camier, 2: Alexander W Ogilvy, 3: Alexander T Dix, 4: Malcolm L Fitzpatrick, 5: Robert R Trengove, 6: Robert I Gillies, 7: John D Davis, Str: David M McLaren, Cox: Michael J Smith, Cch: Charles B Boyes

The Grammar crew were a far stronger crew than the College crew and they won well. 


Melbourne Grammar First Crew
Standing: M. Wallace-Mitchell (2), B. Kennon (4), W.N. Ricketts Esq., G.J. Colquhoun (3), V.C. Morgan (bow). Sitting: J.R. Gutteridge (6), I.D. Watson (stroke), W.R. Harper (7), R. D. Watson (5). In front: D.A. Clendinnen (cox)      

Losers Final 
1st Wesley College - Bow: G L Fudge, 2: A S Wood, 3: G W Eastaugh, 4: I F Hibbins, 5: W K Boynton, 6: K G Donaldson, 7: I S Parkin, Str: R J Purdue, Cox: G A Carbines, Cch: Neil H MacNeil
2nd Xavier College - Bow: C Dawson, 2: P Chapman, 3: B Dooley, 4: M Doyle, 5: D Watson, 6: J Tuthill, 7: G Byrne, Str: Kevin O'Brien, Cox: G Larkin, Cch: James Byrne    

The Wesley crew led from the start but were checked heavily by the wind coming out of new cut corner. Xavier made the best out of north station and the shleter it provided. However the bigger and stronger Wesley crew prevailed. 

Heat results:
1st MGS, 2nd WC, Time: 4:55.2, Margin: 3/4 length
  1st SC, 2nd XC, Time: 5:06.1, Margin: 3 lengths

Second Crews 

Time: Not known
Margin: 1 length

1st Melbourne Grammar
2nd Wesley College

3rd Xavier College
4th Scotch College
- Bow: K A Fraser, 2: B L Gorham, 3: J W Dandie, 4: T P Ritchie, 5: G E Price, 6: W A M Blair, 7: B L Adams, Str: R deC Shaw, Cox: J L todd, Cch: J A Booth

Scotch raced Geelong College in training and lost to them by 1/2 length.

Third Crews

Time: Not known
Margins: 1/2 length, 1 length and 1 canvas

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: K J A Asche, 2: F J Richardson, 3: D B Parrington, 4: H B Clark, 5: B McK Birrell, 6: P L Gray, 7: A P R Hamilton, Str: R J Scott, Cox: R McN Decker
2nd Wesley College
3rd Xavier College
4th Scotch College
- Bow: T I Leslie, 2: K C Walton, 3: D M Jamieson, 4: D G Holloway, 5: R D Purnell, 6: J A Beyer, 7: B L Burns, Str: D F Walton, Cox: D Smith, Cch: A W L Mitchell

Melbourne Grammar Third Crew

R. McN. Decker (cox), R.J. Scott (Stroke), A.P.R. Hamilton (7), P.L. Gray (6), B. McK.Birrell (5), H.B. Clark (4), D.B. Parrington (3), F.J. Richardson (2), K.J.A. Asche (Bow)
Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

Fourth Crews

Time: Not known
Margins: Several lengths & one canvas

1st Wesley College
2nd Melbourne Grammar
3rd Scotch College
- Bow: D F Macleish, 2: J S Galbraith, 3: R S Salthouse, 4: B Hughes, 5: L R Stuber, 6: J Peacoulakis, 7: A J Gillespie, Str: K R Cox, Cox: B Ricker, Cch: Alex T Dix

Fifth Crews

Time: Not known
Margins: 1/2 length, 1/3 length

1st Wesley College
2nd Melbourne Grammar
3rd Scotch College
- Bow: J C Boyd, 2: W B Mather, 3: J A Taylor, 4: J N Cann, 5: J D Aberdeen, 6: J Coburn, 7: I R Johnson, Str: W Philip, Cox: D Elliott, Cch: D M McLaren

Sixth Crews

Time: Not known
Margin: 1 length

1st Mebourne Grammar
2nd Scotch College
- Bow: P Roberts, 2: J B Matthew, 3: J D Cathcart, 4: A J Martin, 5: D S McGregor, 6: T Glazebrook, 7: J L Lavett, Str: E D Lloyd, Cox: R B Haywood, Cch: A L Burns

Seventh Crews

Time: Not known

1st Melbourne Grammar 7th crew
2nd Melbourne Grammar 8th crew
3rd Scotch College - Bow: L D Gilsenan, 2: A B Falk, 3: A R Johns, 4: F E Gibson, 5: P G Dent, 6: H Middleton, 7: F C Snell, Str: W R Wood, Cox: T C West, Cch: R deC Shaw

Melbourne Grammar Seventh Crew

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives


  • The Pincott Club Handbook 2006
  • Scotch Collegian 1943
  • Lift her home to victory, lads! A centenary history of Xavier College 1906-2006 by Michael Lefebvre
  • Appendix to A Deepening Roar Scotch College 1851-2001 by James Mitchell, Allen & Unwin 2001
  • Wesley College Chronicle 1943

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