Historic rowing photo unearthed and returned to the College

June 25, 2020

St Patrick’s College was today delighted to receive a near-100-year-old photo depicting the christening of a racing boat on the shores of Lake Wendouree in 1922.

The framed photo of remarkable quality was donated to the College by a Frankston lady Jose Francis who had found it in her late grandmother’s possession.

It seems her grandmother had been family friends of a Dr James Spring who was a generous benefactor to the College and was president of the Old Collegians Association at the time.

The College had presented the framed photograph as a gift to his wife following the boat christening which was held to coincide with the 1922 Head of the Lake, which was won by St Patrick’s.

The photo taken on Head of the Lake Day in 1922.

A photo taken from the same vantage point in 2020.

The following report covered all the glory of the boat christening on the day:

“On the day of the Race everyone was in the greatest excitement.

Green, white, and blue ribbons came forth from every nook and cranny, and the one who could not “fly his colours” was by no means a patriot.

The first event of the day was the christening of the new boat.

This ceremony took place on the College boatsheds in the presence of a large assemblage of supporters.

Very appropriate speeches were made by Dr. Spring, President of the Old Boys’ Association; Bro. Keniry, Principal of S.P.C.; and the Hon. Alexander Bell, M. L. C.

Mrs. Spring, the President’s wife, christened the boat the “YV. M. McCarthy,” in memory of a former much-revered principal of S.P.C.

The present boys then gave three hearty cheers for the Old Boys, and after a few more bottles were separated from their corks the assembly broke up.

During the ceremony two white swans were seen gliding round about the boat-sheds, and our students of Latin Antiquities immediately divined two wins—the “Old Boys’ Race” and “The Head of the Lake Race.”

The second win, however, was impossible, as our prospective crew for this event were too busy training for Henley.

It was rather late when the three College crews lined up for the big event.

The lake was not as smooth as could have been, owing to a north wind, and the sun, contrary to its previous performances for the last eight years, shone forth with all its brilliancy.

Excitement reached its highest pitch when, after much delay, a small puff of smoke and six pairs of gleaming oars appeared in the distance.

St Pat’s crew jumped off without delay and were no time in putting a length between themselves and Grammar.

They maintained the lead, and when they crossed the line, they had a little over one and a half lengths to spare.

The presentation of the Cup for the “Head of the Lake” took place on Viewpoint immediately after the race, and S.P.C/s stroke took charge of it, amidst great applause.

At tea-time Brother Keniry congratulated the crew on their magnificent win and granted a “night out.”

The crew were composed of Frank Utber (str.), Ivan Dwyer (2), Bob Dickinson (3) and Bill Wilding (bow) Arthur Carroll was in charge of the strings.”