Head of the River (Australia)

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The Head of the River is a name given to annual Australian rowing regattas held in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia. The regattas feature competing independent schools, and the winner of the 1st division boys or girls race is crowned the "Head of the River".

The name Head of the River is taken from similar regattas held in other countries including the Head of the River Race held annually on the Thames in London since 1926.

New South Wales[edit]

AAGPS Head of the River Regatta[edit]

The Head of the River takes place in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia at the end of the first term (normally in March) at the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC). It is the culmination of the AAGPS (Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools) rowing season, and has been held since 1893, initially on the Parramatta River and then from 1936–1995 on the Nepean River. On the Nepean the senior events were the 1st VIII, 2nd VIII, 1st IV, 2nd IV, 3rd IV and 4th IV. The VIIIs rowed over a mile and a half and the IVs over a mile.

In 1996, the regatta was moved to the then preparatory Olympic course and since then raced over 2000 metres. In 2001, a 3rd VIII event and the three year 10 VIII events were added to the programme.

The competing schools are Sydney Grammar School, The King's School, Newington College, Sydney Boys' High School, The Scots College, St. Joseph's College, Saint Ignatius' College and Shore School, compete at the Head of the River. For the first time in 2012 The Armidale School will compete.

In 2016 Sydney Church of England Grammar School won the 1st VIII Head of the River.

NSW Schoolgirl Head of the River Regatta[edit]

The NSW Schoolgirl Head of the River was first raced in 1991.[1] The inaugural Schoolgirl Head of the River Regatta took place in October 1991 on Middle Harbour Creek at Davidson Park, Roseville.[1] The regatta is now usually held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC), Penrith on the Saturday following the Schoolboy Head of the River. It is the culmination of the Schoolgirls rowing season that involves crews from Independent Schools, Catholic Colleges and State High Schools.[2]

The NSW Schoolgirl Head of the River is organised by the Combined Independent Schools Sports Council. Schools that are eligible to compete in the NSW Schoolgirl Head of the River are all affiliated schools of the NSW Combined Independent Schools Sports Council (NSWCISSC), NSW Combined High Schools Sports Association (NSWCHSSA) and the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges Sports Association (NSWCCCSA).[3] The regatta is run in accordance with Rowing NSW laws of boat racing.[4]

In 2016, Queenwood won the 1st VIII.

South Australia[edit]

South Australian School's Head of the River Regatta[edit]

The South Australian Head of the River is a collegiate rowing race held between the colleges and schools of Adelaide, Australia. It is the culmination of the SARA (South Australian Rowing Association) schools' season and is the most prestigious event on the calendar. Races are generally hard-fought, close encounters that showcase the very best of junior rowing talent, with the winning 1st VIII crew each year being crowned with the title of 'Head of the River'. This title race generally comes with immense pressure, as 1st place is all that matters, with minor placings being quickly forgotten. The event draws huge crowds of up to 15,000 (2010) from across the state, generally consisting of school students and old scholars of the various colleges.

The regatta is currently held at the world standard course at West Lakes International Regatta Centre and involves junior coxed quadruple sculling events over 1,000m and 1,500m as well as senior coxed four and eight races over 2,000m. The South Australian Head of the River is held on the second-to-last Saturday of the first school term of each year.

The event had its inception on the Torrens Lake in 1922 as the result of a challenge between St. Peters and Adelaide High School. However St. Peters and their traditional rivals Prince Alfred have been racing for the prestigious Blackmore Shield which is to be contested only between the two schools since 1892 as part of their Intercollegiate program. When the Blackmore Shield changes hands, the Captain and Vice-Captain of Boats from the losing school present the shield to their counterparts in front of an assembly of the victorious school. Since 1923 this race has been incorporated into the Boys 1st VIII race at the Head of the River. The trophy presented to the overall winning Schoolboy 1st VIII is the Gosse Shield, which was presented by Sir John Gosse and his family as a perpetual trophy in 1932.

Competing schools are drawn from Adelaide's traditional independent schools and an increasing number of state schools. Since the 1970s the number of girls competing in the regatta has steadily increased; resulting in now larger numbers of female rowers than male competing at the regatta. Seymour College (an all-girls school) gained entry to the regatta in 2006, and Annesley College (an all-girls school) competed for the first time in 2007. Loreto College, Marryatville first competed in 2012 and St Peter's Collegiate Girls' School entered in 2013. Currently 15 schools compete in the regatta: 3 all boys schools, 5 all girls schools and 7 co-educational schools. At the 2016 Head of the River, hosted by Adelaide High School, there were a total of 974 athletes entered into the regatta's 34 events. [5]

Until 2005 the Head of the River was officially known as the Public Schools' Regatta.[6] The name has since been changed to the "Schools' Regatta" by the Heads of Rowing Schools Committee, a committee of the Headmasters/Principals of the Head of the River Schools.

Competing schools[edit]

School Colours Type
Adelaide High School Black with White Trim Co-ed
Christian Brothers College Navy Shorts, White and Purple Top Boys
Loreto College, Marryatville Saxe Blue with Gold Trim Girls
Norwood Morialta High School Navy with Red and Gold Stripes Co-ed
Pembroke School Green, Blue and Gold Co-ed
Prince Alfred College Maroon with White Trim Boys
Pulteney Grammar School Navy with Gold and White 'V' Co-ed
Scotch College, Adelaide Gold with Navy Shorts and Trim Co-ed
Seymour College Green Top with White 'V' and Navy Shorts Girls
St Ignatius' College Navy with Red and Gold Trim Co-ed
St Peter's College Royal Blue with White Trim Boys
St Peter's Collegiate Girls' School Navy Shorts, Royal Blue and White Top Girls
Unley High School Oxford and Cambridge Blue Stripes Co-ed
Walford Anglican School Sky Blue Top with Gold 'V' and Navy Shorts Girls
Wilderness School Black Shorts, Pale Blue and White Top Girls

South Australian Head of the River - Boys Results[edit]

  • Boys Open First VIII - for The Gosse Shield
Year Champion Winning Time 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
1978 Pulteney 4min 40.0sec CBC
1979 Prince Alfred Unknown
1980 CBC 5min 7.5sec Prince Alfred Pultney
1981 St Peter's Unknown
1982 St Peter's Unknown
1983 Pembroke Unknown
1984 Prince Alfred Unknown
1985 St Peter's Unknown
1986 St Peter's Unknown
1987 Unley HS Unknown
1988 Pembroke Unknown
1989 CBC Unknown
1990 St Peter's Unknown
1991 St Peter's Unknown
1992 St Peter's Unknown
1993 Prince Alfred Unknown
1994 St Peter's Unknown
1995 Scotch Unknown
1996 St Peter's Unknown
1997 St Peter's Unknown
1998 St Peter's Unknown
1999 Prince Alfred 5min 54.4sec
2000 St Peter's 6min 01.8sec
2001 Prince Alfred 5min 55.0sec
2002 Prince Alfred 6min 13.9sec
2003 St Peter's 6min 05.0sec
2004 Prince Alfred 6min 02.6sec
2005 St Peter's 6min 44.1sec
2006 St Peter's 5min 56.0sec
2007 St Peter's 6min 00.6sec Pembroke Prince Alfred Scotch Pulteney CBC Unley HS Norwood
2008 St Peter's 6min 09.6sec Pembroke Prince Alfred Unley HS Pulteney Scotch CBC Adelaide HS
2009 St Peter's 6min 01.9sec Prince Alfred Pembroke Unley HS Scotch Norwood Pulteney CBC
2010 St Peter's 5min 58.9sec Scotch Prince Alfred Norwood Pembroke Pulteney Unley HS -
2011 St Peter's 6min 54.2sec Prince Alfred Scotch Pembroke CBC Pulteney Unley HS -
2012[7] Prince Alfred 6min 07.8sec St Peter's Scotch Pulteney Pembroke CBC Unley HS Adelaide HS
2013 Prince Alfred 6min 03.2sec St Peter's Pembroke Scotch Pulteney Unley HS CBC -
2014 Prince Alfred 6min 35.6sec St Peter's Pembroke Scotch Pulteney CBC Unley HS
2015 Scotch 6min 03.9sec Prince Alfred St Peter's Pulteney Unley HS Pembroke Adelaide HS -
2016 St Peter's 6min 01.6sec Prince Alfred Scotch Pulteney Pembroke CBC - -
  • Boys Open Second VIII - for The Wallman Trophy
Year Champion Winning Time 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1999 St Peter's 6min 25.4sec
2000 St Peter's 6min 22.8sec
2001 St Peter's 6min 11.0sec
2002 Prince Alfred 6min 44.9sec
2003 Prince Alfred 6min 20.0sec
2004 St Peter's 6min 30.4sec
2005 St Peter's 7min 11.6sec
2006 St Peter's 6min 05.5sec Prince Alfred Pulteney
2007 St Peter's 6min 25.7sec Prince Alfred Scotch Pulteney -
2008 Prince Alfred 6min 37.6sec St Peter's Unley HS - -
2009 St Peter's 6min 17.2sec Prince Alfred Unley HS - -
2010 Prince Alfred 6min 23.0sec St Peter's Scotch Norwood -
2011 St Peter's 1 7min 10.3sec Prince Alfred St Peter's 2 Scotch Pembroke
2012[8] Prince Alfred 6min 16.6sec St Peter's Scotch Pembroke -
2013 St Peter's 6min 22.5sec - - - -
2014 St Peter's 6min 48.3sec Prince Alfred Scotch - -
2015 Scotch 6min 28.8sec St Peter's Prince Alfred - -
2016 Prince Alfred 6min 18.1sec Scotch St Peter's Pembroke CBC
  • Boys Year 10A Quadruple Sculls - for The Menz Cup
Year Champion Winning Time 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
1999 Pembroke 5min 46.3sec
2000 Unley HS 5min 09.1sec
2001 St Peter's 5min 14.0sec
2002 St Peter's 5min 38.4sec
2003 Scotch 5min 03.0sec
2004 St Peter's 5min 13.5sec
2005 Unley HS 6min 06.0sec
2006 St Peter's 5min 11.0sec
2007 Unley HS 5min 11.0sec
2008 Pembroke 5min 31.0sec
2009 Pembroke 5min 09.6sec
2010 Prince Alfred 5min 06.3sec Pulteney Unley HS CBC St Peter's Pembroke Adelaide HS Scotch
2011 Prince Alfred 5min 49.0sec Pulteney Pembroke St Peter's Norwood Unley HS CBC Adelaide HS
2012 Prince Alfred 5min 10.3sec Unley HS Scotch Pembroke Pulteney St Peter's CBC Adelaide HS
2013 Unley HS 5min 05.1sec Prince Alfred St Peter's Scotch Pulteney Adelaide HS Pembroke Norwood
2014 Prince Alfred 5min 24.7sec Pulteney St Peter's Unley HS Scotch CBC Norwood Pembroke
2015 CBC 5min 19.0sec Unley HS Pulteney Scotch St Peter's Norwood Pembroke Prince Alfred
2016 Unley HS 5min 04.9sec Pembroke Scotch Prince Alfred St Peter's Pulteney St Ignatius Adelaide HS

South Australian Head of the River - Girls Results[edit]

  • Girls Open First VIII - for The Florence Eaton Cup
Year Champion Winning Time 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
1988 Unley HS Unknown
1989 Unley HS Unknown
1990 Scotch Unknown
1991 Walford Unknown
1992 Walford Unknown
1993 Walford Unknown
1994 Walford Unknown
1995 Walford Unknown
1996 Wilderness Unknown
1997 Walford Unknown
1998 Wilderness Unknown
1999 Walford 6min 57.3sec
2000 Scotch 6min 48.9sec
2001 Scotch 6min 49.0sec
2002 Walford 7min 03.2sec
2003 Wilderness 6min 50.0sec
2004 Walford 6min 59.3sec
2005 Pembroke 8min 00.0sec
2006 Wilderness 6min 52.6sec Pembroke Pulteney
2007 Walford 6min 56.4sec Seymour Wilderness
2008 Walford 7min 04.4sec Pembroke Seymour
2009[9] Seymour 6min 49.5sec Walford Wilderness
2010 Walford 6min 48.1sec Scotch Pembroke Seymour Annesley Wilderness Unley HS -
2011 Walford 7min 58.0sec Pembroke Scotch Seymour Wilderness Pulteney Unley HS -
2012 Walford 6min 56.8sec Pembroke Scotch Seymour Wilderness Pulteney Unley HS -
2013 Walford 6min 51.4sec Scotch Wilderness Pembroke Seymour Loreto St Peter's Girls -
2014 Walford 7min 03.0sec Scotch Seymour / Loreto - Wilderness Pembroke St Peter's Girls Unley HS
2015 Scotch 7min 08.5sec Walford Seymour Loreto Pembroke St Peter's Girls Wilderness -
2016 Seymour 6min 51.7sec Loreto Walford Scotch Pembroke St Peter's Girls Wilderness Pulteney
  • Girls Year 10A Quadruple Sculls - for The Denise Collins Cup
Year Champion Winning Time 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
1999 Wilderness 5min 44.7sec
2000 Walford 5min 45.1sec
2001 Walford 5min 48.0sec
2002 Pembroke 6min 22.2sec
2003 Walford 5min 43.0sec
2004 Scotch 5min 51.5sec
2005 Wilderness 7min 15.3sec
2006 Seymour 5min 53.0sec
2007 Wilderness 6min 06.8sec
2008 Scotch 5min 59.5sec
2009 Seymour 5min 42.3sec
2010 Walford 5min 48.3sec Annesley Pembroke Seymour Wilderness Norwood Scotch Adelaide HS
2011 Wilderness 6min 40.7sec Pembroke Scotch Walford Pulteney Norwood Seymour Unley HS
2012 Walford 5min 57.3sec Wilderness Seymour Scotch Pulteney Norwood Loreto Pembroke
2013 Walford 5min 40.4sec Scotch Pulteney Wilderness Loreto Pembroke Seymour Unley HS
2014 Seymour 6min 03.4sec Walford Wilderness Pembroke Scotch Unley HS Adelaide HS Loreto
2015 Walford 6min 05.3sec Seymour Unley HS Pulteney Norwood Loreto St Peter's Girls -
2016 Loreto 5min 40.9sec Scotch St Peter's Girls Pembroke Pulteney Seymour Adelaide HS Walford


Queensland Head of the River Regatta[edit]

The Head of the River for schoolboys is contested between seven of the nine GPS (Great Public Schools) schools in Brisbane, with schools Brisbane Boys College, Brisbane Grammar School, Brisbane State High School, Anglican Church Grammar School, St. Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace, The Southport School and St. Joseph's Nudgee College competing. The GPS Head of the River has been held since 1918, with Southport winning in the inaugural year. The races have been held on the Milton Reach of the Brisbane River, Wivenhoe Dam, Hinze Dam, Lake Kawana and now race at Wyaralong Dam. Crowds of several thousand attend the annual Championship Regatta at Lake Kawana but in earlier years there are reports of both sides of the river being lined with spectators and tens of thousands attending.

Queensland Girls Head of the River Regatta[edit]

On 13 October 1990 the Inaugural Schoolgirls' Head of the River was held on the Milton Reach of the Brisbane River. The seven schools that competed were All Hallows' School, Brisbane State High School, St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School, St Hilda's School, St Margaret's Anglican Girls' School, St Peters Lutheran College and Somerville House. Sixteen events were competed with 118 competitors and 3 entries in the Open 8+. The newly formed Brisbane Schoolgirls Rowing Association conducted the Head of the River with additional competitors from Brisbane Girls' Grammar School, Clayfield College, Indooroopilly State High School, Kelvin Grove State High School and Stuartholme School. By 1992, entries in the Open 8+ had doubled to six, the number of events expanded to 19 and 11 schools competed.

Bundaberg Head of the River Regatta[edit]

A 'Head of the River' competition is also held among Bundaberg schools. It is held on an annual basis and has been for the past 18 years. All Bundaberg secondary schools except for the Bundaberg Christian College participate in the regatta. These schools are Bundaberg North SHS, Bundaberg SHS, Kepnock SHS, St. Luke's Anglican College, Gin Gin SHS and Shalom Catholic College. St Luke's Anglican recently broke Shalom's twenty year winning streak over the other schools for the travel world overall points trophy with a score of 123, to 65.

Further information: Head of the River (Queensland)


VIC Head of the River Regatta[edit]

The Victorian race is contested between the 11 Associated Public Schools of Victoria (APS).

The race is usually the last race of the official APS rowing season and has recently been rowed on Lake Nagambie which is a full buoyed international standard course allowing six boat finals.

Further information: Head of the River (Victoria)

VIC Head of the Schoolgirls Regatta[edit]

1984 was the final year that school girls from non-APS schools participated in the APS Head of the River. As a result of being barred from further competition in the APS regatta, the Principal of Morongo Girls’ School initiated a meeting that established in the Head of School Girls’ Regatta, founded on the basic principle that any school could compete. The first HOSG was held in 1985 at Ballarat with 7 events, 16 schools and 240 competitors. In 1987, the event moved to Geelong. In 1991, the HOSG Regatta Committee became an incorporated association. In 2013 the HOSG regatta was contested by 35 schools and 1766 competitors.

Western Australia[edit]

WA Head of the River Regatta[edit]

The Perth race held in late summer/early autumn is contested between the 7 Public Schools Association members. The regatta consists of many races with points contributing to the Hamer Cup, and in the final race of the day, the 1st VIII crews from each school compete for the Head of the River trophy. Originally the race was run on the Swan River then Canning River, near Canning Bridge. Since 2009 the event has been held at the purpose built rowing course at Champion Lakes, Kelmscott.[10] Records have tumbled since the venue change with records set in 2009 and 2010. The current record time for the 2000m event is 5 minutes 48.2 seconds.[11]

WA Head of the Schoolgirls Regatta[edit]

In the winter several private Perth girls schools race for the title.


The Tasmanian Head of the River is currently held at the Lake Barrington Rowing Course. Held over the full championship distance, the schools associated with SATIS (Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools) from both the north and south of the state compete for the event. The Hutchins School, Launceston Church Grammar, The Friends School, Guilford Young College, Scotch Oakburn College, St Patrick's College and St Brendan-Shaw College all compete in the boys race, while St Michael's Collegiate School, The Friends School, Fahan School, Scotch Oakburn College, St. Patrick's College, St Mary's College and Launceston Church Grammar all compete for the girls trophy.

The Head of the River regatta is often held the Saturday before Easter. However, in 2006 the Head of the River was postponed for the first time in its Tasmanian History with a limited regatta program being amalgamated in to the Tasmanian Masters Regatta. This was able to cater for the main races with Hutchins taking out the boys' Head of the River trophy and St Michael's Collegiate School the girls.

In 2007 Scotch Oakburn won their first Head of the River in a decade in a tight race with just a second between themselves, Launceston Church Grammar and The Hutchins School. The chance for Hutchins to claim their 5th consecutive title was denied. The Friends School came a distant 4th place after much hype. In the girls event the dominant Friends School crew won easily over Launceston Church Grammar with surprise combination coming from Fahan School gaining second place.

In 2008, The Hutchins School regained the title from Scotch Oakburn in a close race, with St Patricks college in third.

The following year, The Hutchins School won after being challenged all season by a strong St Patricks College crew. In third spot was Scotch Oakburn College.

In 2010 The Hutchins School won, having dominant performances throughout the season. Scotch Oakburn collected up second spot and the Friends crew came in third.

The 2011 Tasmanian School Boys Head of the River saw yet another dominant performance from The Hutchins School taking the win by 10 seconds from Scotch Oakburn with Friends placing third. In girls race the victors were Grammar with Scotch Oakburn placing second.

In 2012, the Head of the River Champions were Launceston Church Grammar for the girls and The Hutchins School for the boys.

In 2013, The underdog crew from Scotch Oakburn took out the Head of the River by a margin of 2 lengths to The Hutchins School, who had a dominant season and went into the race as favourites. This prevented Hutchins from a 6th title, and gave Scotch Oakburn their first win in 6 years. Closely in 3rd, The Friends School.

  • First VIII - "Tasmanian School Boys Head of the River"
Year Winner 2nd 3rd Time
2007 Scotch Oakburn College, Tasmania Launceston Church Grammar School The Hutchins School 6.37.97
2008 The Hutchins School Scotch Oakburn College, Tasmania St Patrick's College 6.00.49
2009 The Hutchins School St Patricks College Scotch Oakburn College, Tasmania 6.28.84
2010 The Hutchins School Scotch Oakburn College, Tasmania The Friends School 6.03.13
2011 The Hutchins School Scotch Oakburn College, Tasmania The Friends School 6.06.64
2012 The Hutchins School Scotch Oakburn College, Tasmania Launceston Church Grammar School 6.07.16
2013 Scotch Oakburn College, Tasmania The Hutchins School The Friends School 6.01.91


  1. ^ a b Williams, Daniel (20 December 1991). "Girls steer smooth course from humble start". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 34. 
  2. ^ "Rowing NSW – Contact list of Independent Schools". Rowing New South Wales Incorporated. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  3. ^ "NSW Schoolgirl Head of the River Rules" (PDF). CISSC. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  4. ^ "NSWRA Law of Boat Racing (as revised June 2009)". Rowing New South Wales Incorporated. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  5. ^ http://www.rowingonline.com.au/Rowing/Regattas/Statistics/Default.aspx?id=78493484-710f-4349-adcd-cef7c2539b77
  6. ^ However, the SA Public Schools' Regatta was informally known as, and the Schools Regatta is informally referred to as, "The Head of the River".
  7. ^ http://roms.rowingaustralia.com.au/Rowing/Regattas/Races/RegattaRaceView.aspx?id=4ed4fd5e-a69b-4797-bb6d-e1bc2c270246
  8. ^ http://roms.rowingaustralia.com.au/Rowing/Regattas/Races/RegattaRaceView.aspx?id=16d105a0-70b6-46c7-a8c5-1afd4586d94d
  9. ^ "2010 HOR Results" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  10. ^ "Armadale Redevelopment Authority - Champion Lakes". 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 
  11. ^ "Armadale Redevelopment Authority - Champion Lakes". 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 

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