Strathbogie Shire Council

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APS Heads of the River turns 150

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The oldest continuously run school regatta in the world will be taking place this weekend in Nagambie, expected to attract up to 20,000 people to the region.

The Associated Public Schools (APS) Heads of the River this year celebrates 150 years of friendly rivalry between 11 elite schools in Victoria, with the event originally starting with Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College.

Back in 1868, John C. Field (on behalf of Mr Morrison’s pupils at Scotch College) challenged Dr Bromby’s pupils at Melbourne Grammar School to a friendly oar gig race to be rowed from the Botanical Bridge to Edward’s Boathouse (Princes Bridge).

In June that year, Scotch won the race and since then the Heads of the River race was born and has been contested every year since.

Over the years, the competition has moved from the Yarra River to the Barwon River, and for the last 11 years, right here at Lake Nagambie.

This year the participating schools will be Brighton Grammar, Carey Grammar, Caulfield Grammar, Geelong College, Geelong Grammar, Haileybury, Melbourne Grammar, St Kevin’s College, Scotch College, Wesley College and Xavier College.

APS Sport executive officer Luke Soulos said the numbers have increased over the years.

"Heads of the River is the largest continuously run school regatta in the world," he said.

"It (rowing) is one of the four traditional core sports that help found APS (the other being Australian Football, cricket and athletics), so it’s good to know the event has stood the test of time for the last 150 years.

"It’s a fantastic feat in terms of historical significance, with the event making a significant impact to the local community wherever it is held."

Strathbogie Shire Mayor Amanda McClaren said Council was delighted to see the 150th Heads of the River once again being fiercely contested at the Lake Nagambie Regatta Centre this weekend.

"This significant milestone is linked beautifully with our Nagambie area, as next year marks 150 years since the establishment of the Nagambie township," she said.

"Lake Nagambie and the connecting Goulburn River, also fondly referred to as the River of Dreams, have produced many champions over the past 15 years, from Olympic rowers, to Gift runners and unbeaten racehorses.

"This is the place where dreams are made and we are pleased the APS Heads of the River continues to see Nagambie as the ideal venue for the 2017 event."

Amongst the almost 1500 athletes competing, students range from years 7 to 12 and will compete in 36 events on Saturday.

All the action starts at 9am with the Girls and Boys Second Eight events, ending with the Girls and Boys First Eight Head of the River final at 3.10 and 3.20pm respectively.

For more information, go to or APS social media sites as well as APS Sport Executive Officer Luke Soulos on 0417 512 174.

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