1902 PSA Head of the River
The regatta was conducted on Saturday 28th June 1902. The win by Guildford Grammar in the fourth year of the event, led to the result that a crew from each of the four institutions, which would form the Public Schools Association in 1905, had its share of victory.
The Western Mail on 5th July on page 33 reported on the regatta as follows.
In fine weather, and in the presence of a large and thoroughly representative gathering, the Public Schools' Challenge Cup was rowed for on Saturday afternoon. The event was followed with the closest interest by a couple of thousand spectators, who had a splendid view of the race from the premises of the Royal Perth Yacht Club, Perth Flying Squadron, and the barges moored between the two club rooms. For the officials the steam launch Cygnet was chartered, and the presence of several private launches following in the wake of the competing crews proved conclusively that an ever-increasing interest is being taken in the race.
Four years ago - in 1899 - the headmasters of the different colleges, with the object of strengthening that good fellowship which is never so well promoted as by healthy sport, provided a Challenge Cup to be rowed for annually by the boys.
The first heat did not start until half an hour after the advertised time-so long as the colleges are going to "borrow " their boats there will always be delay - and as the Guildfords' rowed past the spectators, they were greeted with cheers. Scotch College followed some minutes later, and they were accorded a similar compliment. At the starting post-the fallen tree at the Narrows the Guildfords' took up a position on the south side. Mr. Underwood got both crews away to a good start, but it was not long before the Guildford boys established a lead, which they maintained to the end of the course, eventually beating the Scotch College champions by a length and a half.
In the second heat. Christian Brothers who rowed themselves right out, won by twenty lengths from the High School, and they were immediately whispered about as a "good thing" for the final. Those directly connected with the Guildford Grammar School, were however, sanguine that their boys would put up a great fight, but they could scarcely have ever expected them to gain the runaway victory they did achieve.
Having won the toss, Christian Brothers' had choice of boats, and naturally took the fastest in the shed. This left the Guildford crew to take any advantage that was to be gained from the stations, and they, again selected the south side of the river.
Both boats got away together, Christian Brothers' rowing the cleaner stroke of the two. Brockman, the Guilford stroke, was however, hard at it, and while Hodgson was content to set his crew 38 stroke to the minute, the Guildford boys were being asked to pull 42. Although at this stage the dark blues were throwing up a lot of water, they made substantial progress, and at the end of the first minute had established a lead of two lengths. Then their stroke lengthened out, their style improved, and rowing beautifully together they had increased their lead at the end of the next minute to three and a half lengths. From this out the Christian Brothers never had any chance with their rivals, who were holding their seats well and showing form that is not, unfortunately, too often found among older "fours" on the river. Hodgson, however, made one final effort, but it was too late, the Guildford crew rowing well within themselves, passing the judge half a dozen lengths to the good.
The win was deservedly popular, and was all the more, meritorious, taking into consideration the difficulties that Mr. Gillespie, the headmaster, had to encounter in the training of his crew. Subsequently the cup was handed over by Mr. R. B. Burnside to Mr. Gillespie on behalf of the crew, and congratulatory speeches were made, while a high tribute was paid the coaches-Messrs. R. Cobham (Christian Brothers'). W. A. Goland (Scotch College), and L. J. Dullard (High School), for the untiring zeal and energy - they had displayed in the training of the crews.
The prize for best form was won by P. Harper who pulled No. 3 in the Guildford crew.
General regret was expressed when it became known that soon after starting for the final heat. No. 2 of the Christian Brothers' crew had lost his slide. However, at this stage the Guildford boys were winning, and evidently had the race in hand.
Judge: Mr. R. B Burnside. Starter: Mr. S. E. Underwood. Umpire: Mr. C. B. Cox. Timekeeper: Mr. L. Boxhorn. Hon. secretary: Mr H. W. Hopking.
Head of the River - Fours
Time: 3: 43
Margin: 6 lengths
1st Guildford Grammar School - Bow: G Brockman, 2: D Phillips, 3: P H Harper, Str: E Brockman, Cox: J Crossland, Cch: E S Walker
2nd Christian Brothers' College - Bow: J Millard, 2: W Witte, 3: L Minihan, Str: N Hodgson, Cox: S Forbes, Cch: R Cobham
E1: 1st Guildford Grammar, 2nd Scotch College, time: 3:44, margin 1.5 lengths
Scotch College - Bow: E A Brown, 2: G Forrest, 3: G Baston, Str: H Cockram, Cox: L Miller, Cch: W A Goland
E2: 1st Christian Brothers' College, 2nd Perth High School, time: 3:34, margin 20 lengths
Perth High School - Bow: T Brown, 2: E W Grosser, 3: H A Ranford, Str: L W Snell, Cox: W Brockman, Cch: T J Dullard
Guildford Grammar crew
Source: Western Mail 5 July 1902 page 30
Western Mail 5th July 1902 pages 30 and 33.
Subsequent regatta programs providing past results.
Home and Dry - a history of rowing in Western Australia by W S Cooper, published in 2008 by Rowing WA