Schoolgirl rowing in Brisbane has existed in one form or another for nearly a century. Both St Margaret’s and St Hilda’s include references to rowing in their school magazines dating back to the first decade of last century.
During this time, schoolgirl rowing was largely recreational. Towards the middle of the Eighties, several small groups of girls began competing in the Annual Queensland Schools Championships each September. Most of these girls came from families with an older brother who rowed at one of the GPS schools. Word of this challenging “new” sport began to spread throughout the schools and by 1989 a mini-explosion of schoolgirl rowing had taken place. Most schools were operating from a local club with the help of club coaches or parents with a rowing background.
The following year a representative from three of these schools, Tony Elliot (St Margaret’s), John Hanson (Brisbane State High School) and Peter Jell (Somerville House) decided it was time for a more structured season of racing. On 13 October 1990 the Inaugural Schoolgirl’s Head of the River was held on the Milton reach of the Brisbane River. The seven schools that competed were All Hallows’, Brisbane State High School, St Aidan’s, St Hilda’s, St Margaret’s, St Peters and Somerville House. Sixteen events were competed with 118 competitors and 3 entries in the Open 8+.
In 1991, Tony Elliot, John Hanson and Peter Jell formed the Brisbane Schoolgirls Rowing Association adopting the logo from the now folded Brisbane Districts Rowing Association. The logo depicts Brisbane’s flower, the Poinsettia, over the top of crossed oars. The newly formed 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.
This logo was respectfully updated in 2015 maintaining the historical significance of its design.
Currently there are 10 member schools:
All Hallows, Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Brisbane State High School, Lourdes Hill, St Aidan’s, St Hilda’s, St Peters Lutheran College, St Margaret’s, Somerville House and Stuartholme.