Sydney Victorious in the 2019 Australian Boat Race


Home advantage counted for little in the 2019 Australian Boat Race, with the University of Melbourne finishing behind the University of Sydney in the men's and women's races.

Hundreds of spectators lined the banks of the Yarra River in the sunshine to watch the 4.1km race from Burnley to Princes Bridge in the heart of the city.

The first event of the day was the ‘novice race’, offered for the first time in 2019, where all members of the two mixed crews were in their first year of competitive rowing. Both novice crews competed valiantly, but the Sydney crew gained an early lead and won the race. The novice race was created to make university rowing more accessible to students without a rowing background.

Tension mounted during the second race of the day between women’s colleges Ormond College (Melbourne) and Wesley College (Sydney), with the Melbourne crew winning by a slim margin of 0.78 seconds. The Melbourne men’s college crew (Ormond College) won their race by default after the Sydney crew (St Andrew’s College) forfeited.

The University of Sydney men’s crew made the most of a strong start in the main men’s race and kept their lead, securing what the commentators called a “convincing win”. The commentators noted that the Sydney men’s crew had more experienced rowers than their Melbourne rivals, with six members having represented Australia in international rowing.

The final race of the day drew gasps as the two women’s crews went head to head. The Melbourne crew enjoyed an early lead but Sydney soon caught up. The two boats were side by side for several hundred metres and came so close that the rowers’ oars were overlapping, with the blades almost touching. The boats were expertly steered apart by the two coxes and Sydney took the lead, winning the race.

Chris Hargreaves, captain of the Melbourne men’s crew, said it was a great feeling to represent the University on home water. “It was a disappointing result but I’m proud of the crew’s effort. We’ve progressed a lot in a short period of time. For the younger athletes in our crew, this will motivate them for next year and beyond.”

Women’s captain Pheobe Georgakas said “It was a pretty awesome race. You’re always going to be disappointed to come second out of two teams but I’m proud of all the girls in our boat and I’d like to say a big congratulations to the Sydney crew. It was a tough race and they did well to come out on top.

“We’ll learn from this experience and we’re looking forward to seeing them again next year on Sydney Harbour.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell was there to cheer on the Melbourne crews. “It’s great to be here on a beautiful day and see fantastic young athletes competing in a friendly way,” Professor Maskell said. “It’s a shame that Melbourne lost, but it’s the sport that counts.”

Now in its 11th year as the Australian Boat Race, the on-water rivalry between the two universities stretches back to 1860, when they first raced against one another on the Yarra River.

Full gallery here.


  • Novice race – University of Sydney won

  • Men’s College race (Ormond College vs. St Andrews College) – Ormond College won (St Andrews College forfeited race)

  • Women’s College race (Ormond College vs. Wesley College) – Ormond College won

  • Men’s Australian Boat Race – University of Sydney won

  • Women’s Australian Boat Race – University of Sydney won

Historic Melbourne-Sydney rivalry continues on the Yarra River

Original story available here:

Both highly trained athletes and novice rowers will take to the Yarra River on Saturday 12 October in the fiercely contested annual rowing race between the Universities of Melbourne and Sydney.

Now in its eleventh year, the 2019 Australian Boat Race is proudly hosted by the University of Melbourne. Kicking off at midday, crews from the two universities will once again compete for state bragging rights, racing 4.1km from Burnley to the heart of the city, with hundreds of spectators expected to line the river banks.

The two rowing clubs first met informally on the Yarra River in 1860. A decade later the competition had become a regular feature of university life, in the spirit of the famous Boat Race between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The tradition was revitalised in 2009, heralding a new chapter in the 150-year-old rivalry between Australia’s two oldest universities.

University of Sydney rowers

Andrew Le, the cox of the University of Sydney’s men’s crew, will be the first rower from an Asian background to participate in the Australian Boat Race.

His father, a refugee from Vietnam who came over to Australia by boat, is one of his biggest fans.

“Dad didn’t know anything about rowing when I first started in Year 7, and now he knows more about what is going on than I do,” Andrew says.

“The sport is really unique because it grabs the tallest and biggest guys and puts them in the hands of someone who isn’t as tall or as big as them. I think that’s really cool because not a lot of sports do that.”

University of Sydney civil engineering student, 21-year-old Marcus Britt, will captain the men’s crew for the second time this year, continuing a family tradition his father Rob started when he captained the University of Sydney Boat Club in 1983. A third-generation rower, Marcus represented Australia at the under 23 World Rowing Championships.

“My father introduced me to rowing when I was 11 years old and he has been supportive of me ever since. In the last ten years of my rowing career, I think he has been to just about every race,” says Marcus.

Fourth-year Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours) student Kate Rowan will be competing in the Australian Boat Race for the first time for the Sydney women’s crew after moving here from Queensland.

“I moved to Sydney University because I wanted to be a part of the great culture that the boat club has built. The exceptional standard of the coaches as well as the opportunities for racing provided by the club has produced many world-class athletes.

“I’ve always loved the atmosphere around rowing. Working in a team every day and improving as a unit is something that is fun no matter what level I’ve been at in the sport.”

Novice race and new scholarship

A new feature of this year’s race is the ‘novice race’, which will see mixed teams from both universities competing. Each member is in their first year of competitive rowing. The race was created to make university rowing more accessible to students without a rowing background.

Alongside the races, the University of Melbourne is celebrating the launch of the inaugural Jopling Family Rowing Scholarship, Australia’s preeminent university rowing scholarship. Created to attract the best and brightest rowers to study and row at the University of Melbourne, the scholarship will provide financial support of up to $25,000 per year (plus further in-kind support) for up to four years. From 2020, the scholarship will be awarded to students who have demonstrated community leadership, a strong academic record, and rowing talent.

Next year the Universities of Melbourne and Sydney will celebrate the 150th anniversary of intervarsity sport in Australia.

All the action will be streamed live at: and

Follow the hashtag #AusBoatRace on Instagram and Twitter.

Media enquiries:

Sam Burt (University of Melbourne), +61 466 808 788,
Sally Sitou (University of Sydney) +61 29351 8647, +61 481 012 597,

Inaugural Beginners Race to Open 2019 Australian Boat Race

8 October; Liam Petterson

For the first time in a decade, the universities of Melbourne and Sydney will face off in a race between beginners to open the 2019 Australian Boat Race.

In this exciting addition to the rivalry, the Novice Race will see mixed crews of eight first-season rowers compete in the event’s opening race at midday. These students had never rowed before commencing their university studies and have not rowed competitively for more than one season, though they will be led by experienced coxswains.

It is also the first time a mixed race has been included in the ABR race schedule.

The Novice Race is an opportunity for more students to get involved in Australia’s oldest university sporting rivalry.

“It’s a great opportunity to introduce new people to the sport and further strengthen that pathway between university study and rowing,” said Tom Lutwyche, Sport Performance Coordinator at the University of Melbourne.

“Most of these students would never have raced on the Yarra… so this will certainly be different as a head-to-head style race which is a unique part of the Australian Boat Race,” he said.

The race also provides students with the benefits of engaging in competitive sport.

“Rowing is a wonderful sport that provides many university students with the teamwork, fitness, leadership and friendships that become defining features of their life; the event exists to encourage more of the student body to engage with this sport,” said former Olympian Tobias Wehr-Candler from the Sydney University Boat Club.

The novices will race on the same course as the college crews, starting at the Punt Road Bridge and running 1600m to the Melbourne University Boat Club near Princes Bridge.

For more information, and to watch the Australian Boat Race live and free from midday Saturday 12 October, visit:

See the full crews below.

UoM Novice.jpg
USyd Novice.jpg

Melbourne Announces Squads for 2019 Australian Boat Race


The University is excited to announce the official men's and women's squads for the 2019 Australian Boat Race.

The annual race encapsulates the 160-year rivalry between Australia's oldest universities, Melbourne and Sydney.

The 2019 chapter will take place on the Yarra River, following a 4.5km course from Toorak to the heart of the Melbourne CBD.

It will be Chris Hargreaves' third Australian Boat Race, but his first on the Yarra.

"One aspect I’m looking forward to is the atmosphere," he told Melbourne University Sport.

"Having a peloton of bikes following the race and other supporters lining the riverbank makes this a unique racing experience compared to when we’re on Sydney Harbour."

Women's coxswain Phoebe Georgakas is also looking forward to racing on home water.

"The aim is always to execute our best race on the day, but a bit of a home-ground advantage might help us in winning back the women’s trophy for Melbourne Uni," she said.

For more information about the event, visit the Australian Boat Race website.

See below for the full squad lists.


Milla Marston - Bachelor of Commerce

Fiona Macklin - Master of Development Studies

Brigid McKeagney-Douglas - Bachelor of Science

Kate Duggan - Master of Teaching (Secondary)

Eleanor Price - Bachelor of Science

Olivia Honore - Master of Teaching (Secondary)

Eliza Gaffney - Bachelor of Biomedicine

Georgia Lenton-Williams - Master of Global Media Communication

Phoebe Georgakas (coxswain) - Bachelor of Science

Sophie Walmsley - Bachelor of Agriculture


Zane Kosovich - Bachelor of Commerce

Fergus Ellis - Bachelor of Agriculture

Maxwell Fisher - Bachelor of Commerce

Robert Corden-McKinley - Bachelor of Agriculture

Christopher Hargreaves - Master of Teaching (Secondary)

Harry Isles - Bachelor of Arts

Thomas Page - Bachelor of Science

Seb Francis - Bachelor of Commerce

Jamima Jamieson (coxswain) - Bachelor of Agriculture