Head was born in Tollington Park, London, the son of the Rev. Canon George Frederick Head and his wife Mary Henrietta, née Bolton. Educated at Alton School, Plymouth, Windlesham House School, near Brighton, Repton School, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Head graduated B.A. with first class honours in history in 1896, proceded to M.A. in 1900, and received a B.D. degree in 1929. He was ordained deacon in 1902 and priest in 1903, was dean and tutor of Emmanuel College from 1903 to 1907, then senior tutor and chaplain of the college from 1907 to 1921. During the First World War he was senior chaplain to the Guards Division and was awarded the Military Cross with bar. He was vicar of Christ Church, East Greenwich from 1922 to 1926, chaplain to King George V from 1922 to 1929, and canon and sub-dean of Liverpool Cathedral from 1926 to 1929. In September 1929 he accepted the archbishopric of Melbourne, was consecrated in Westminster Abbey on 1 November 1929, and enthroned in St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, on 23 December 1929.
In Melbourne, Head soon made himself acquainted with the various parishes and clergy. He found a diocese that already had many commitments in connexion with church schools and social work, and the financial depression which began just about the time of his arrival made a strong forward policy inopportune. He interested himself in the question of the re-union of the Christian churches, and in the holding together of his own diocese by preaching peace and goodwill to all, and setting a personal example of plain living and high thinking. At one period he voluntarily gave up a quarter of his stipend, and refused to countenance any expenditure which might lighten his own burden of work. If it was possible to help a parish by attending some function or service he made it his duty to be there, and his relations with his clergy were of the friendliest. From 1933 he was chaplain general to the Commonwealth military forces. Tactful, unassuming, and modest, scholarly and hard-working, much interested in social questions, Head was a steady influence for good in Melbourne. On 7 December 1941 he was driving his car to a confirmation service and ran into a post; he died from his injuries on 18 December 1941. His ashes are interred in St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne. He married in 1904 Edith Mary Colman, who survived him with one son. Head was the author of The Fallen Stuarts, published in 1901, and Six Great Anglicans, which appeared in 1929.