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1908 Head of the River

The forty-first Head of the River was conducted on the Upper Yarra on the new Henley course. The new course enabled a final containing three crews.

The very succesful Henley on the Yarra Regatta enabled many other river improvements to be made to the area of the Henley staging and Henley lawns. This followed the significant changes to the course of the river made last in the last century.

Geelong College joined the Head of the River in fine style finishing second behind Scotch College.

The six schools now enabled three heats of two crews and a three crew final. This system continued until 1961 except for the war years of 1942 and 1943.

A losers final was introduced in 1943.



Starter: T Davies

Umpire: A J Shepherd

Judge: C McDonnell

Clerk of Scales: P C Dowling

Head of the River

Time: 5:01.0
Margin: 1 1/2 lengths and 3 lengths

1st Scotch College - Bow: Clive S Steele, 2: P Athol H J Harding, 3: Ashley R Grist, 4: Keith M Edmunds, 5: Albert E V Hartkopf, 6: Olaf F de Lacy, 7: Frank O Robertson, Str: Howard C Morrison, Cox: William C Totton, Cch: Alexander B Sloan. Average: 11st 13 1/4 lb
2nd Geelong College - Bow: J V Pearce, 2: J G Kininmonth, 3: E J Phillips, 4: J D Blair, 5: P G Pullar, 6: W B McCulloch, 7: J B Gibson, Str: G C McNeilage, Cox: G D Atherton, Cch: William H Pincott. Average: 11st 1lb
3rd Xavier College - Bow: Edgar Burne, 2: H Caulfield, 3: T O'Brien, 4: J Whitty, 5: F Alston, 6: P Morrissey, 7: R MacGillicuddy, Str: Gordon Kirby, Cox: A Cussen, Cch: Jack Fogarty. Average: 10st 7lb

Other crew competing were:
Geelong Grammar - Bow: F Austin, 2: F H Lascelles, 3: B W Briggs, 4: C N Armytage, 5: E L Smith, 6: A G Hunter, 7: W H Godby, Str: J E Roe, Cox: R Chomley, Cch: Major A F Garrard. Average: 10st 12 3/4 lb
Melbourne Grammar - Bow: F G Moule, 2: A F Jolley, 3: K G Jamieson, 4: E S Anderson, 5: Harry Latham Baillieu, 6: W P Austin, 7: C L Baillieu, Str: C M Williams, Cox: I C Watt, Cch: H J Whiting, Average: 11st 8lb
Wesley College - Bow: R G Heley, 2: H L Rinel, 3: L Levy, 4: H S Dickinson, 5: J L Sandford, 6: L A Pattinson, 7: J D Newham, Str: J A Prout, Cox: F C Wittmann, Cch: Charles Donald. Average: 11st 1 1/4lb

Known heat results:
E1: 1st XC, MGS disqualified, see below for details.
E2: 1st GC, 2nd WC. Margin: 1 1/4 lengths
E3: 1st SC, 2nd GGS. Margin: 2 1/2 lengths

The heats brought out some very interesting results. Melbourne Grammar met a maligned Xavier crew in the heat. Xavier had a fast start and maintained a lead into the final stages of the race. Melbourne Grammar were beginning to overhaul the Xavierians, when the Grammar cox steered off course, causing a clash with Xavier and for Xavier to stop rowing. Melbourne Grammar won by a canvas. A protest by Xavier was upheld and Xavier raced in their first final.

1908 Xavier Crew

Photo reproduced from "Lift her home to victory, lads, a centerary history of Xavier College Rowing" by Michael Lefebvre



  • 1908 program
  • 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
  • Newspaper reports

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