School Rowing in Victoria
Victorian schools have always taken a keen interest in boating. The APS Head of the River has its origins in a race between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School in 1868 and has been conducted every year since.
The first intercolonial schools race appears to have been between Geelong Grammar School, St Peters College, Adelaide and St Ignatius' College, Sydney. The first was a race on the Barwon River in 1888 between Geelong Grammar School and St Ignatius' College. A return match the following year was conducted on the Lane Cove in Sydney. The crews used string-test gigs with sliding seats.
There appears to have been regular annual races between Geelong Grammar School and St Peters College, Adelaide from 1895 onwards alternating between the Barwon River in Geelong and the Port River in Adelaide.
The first eight oared race for schoolboys in Australia was conducted between Melbourne Grammar and Geelong Grammar on Albert Park Lake on 14th October 1899. Melbourne Grammar won by a third of a length in a race where the lead changed between the crews on several occasions.
Schoolgirl rowing took a lot longer to become established and is now equally popular with girls as with boys. The Head of the Schoolgirls regatta on the Barwon is reputed to be the largest regatta on the calander.