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Greater Public School Eights rowing blue

Date: 1953
Overall: 110 x 80 mm, 0.01 kg
Medium: Felt, embroidery
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from John Caddy
Object Name: Badge
Object No: 00038144
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    This Greater Public School (GPS) blue was presented to John Caddy for competing in the 1953 'Head of the River' Regatta as part of the Sydney Boys High Rowing Eights. The GPS Eights rowing blue was made in a shield shape from blue felt with 'Rowing', 'GPS' and '1953' embroidered on the badge.
    SignificanceThis badge is representative of high school rowing in Sydney, Australia during the 1950s.
    HistoryRowing was promoted in independent schools and university colleges in England and Australia as an athletic practice to improve the mind as well as the body, and promote the ideal of amateurism in sport - doing the task for its own sake rather than for monetary rewards. This fostered the notion of the gentleman rower and intensified divisions along religious and class lines where manual labourer amateurs (watermen) were excluded from competitions for a long time. Rowing Eights represented the most difficult form of crew rowing requiring intensive training, coordination and stamina.

    The traditional 'rowing blues' originated with the colours worn by university crews in the 19th century. In 1836 the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, a race for 'eights', was held on the Thames River over a course from Westminster to Putney. The Cambridge crew wore light blue ribbons and the Oxford crew wore dark blue ribbons. Thereafter the race was known as the Battle of the Blues. The tradition carried to school rowing where Eton crews wore light blue and Harrow wore dark blue. The term 'blue' came to describe a rower chosen to represent his or her university or school.

    The English Head of the River Race, a professional race for eights, is rowed from Mortlake to Putney on the Thames River. In Australia, Head of the River school regattas are held in all states. In New South Wales races were initially held on the Parramatta River and then shifted to the Nepean River so crews could race abreast.

    School rowing has a long tradition in Australia with early GPS regattas attracting huge crowds of spectators to rival any other sport at the time. Even today, within the rowing community, school rowers make up the majority of members and also draw out the biggest crowds at a regatta. Rowers start at around 12 years of age, and participate in a range of categories. The present Rowing Australia policy is to ensure all rowers learn the basic sculling technique (each person has two oars) first, then following some growth and personal development, move to both sculling and sweep oared (each person has an oar) rowing.

    Inter-school competition remains the essence of school rowing. Both male and female Head of the River contests are conducted annually by school rowing associations and are growing every year. They build on strong traditions of over a century of school regattas and feature well trained young athletes, and over 10,000 spectators in most states.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Greater Public School Eights rowing blue


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