The first recorded game of Public School Football was between Melbourne Grammar School and Scotch College, on 7 August 1858, when the ‘Morning Herald’ announced that there would be a ‘grand’ football match that day. Reportedly, there were forty in each side, including three Masters.  It was played in what is now known as Yarra Park. Play began at noon and ceased when the players tired.  At the end of the first afternoon they were drawn at one goal each.  As it was agreed that two goals would comprise a win, the match continued for another two Saturdays without further scoring, and was declared a draw.

Ten years later, on 17 June 1868, John C Field, was requested by the Scotch College Rowing Club to challenge the Melbourne Grammar School boys to “a friendly four-oar gig race; the race to be rowed on Thursday 18 June, from the Botanical Bridge to Edwards’ boat-house, and subject to such conditions as the crews agree to.  He plodded from Eastern Hill through swamp and bush land and rowed across the Yarra to deliver this challenge.  This race was the first Public School Boat Race in Victoria, and is now known as The APS Regatta (Head of the River).

These two significant events, together with some other games between six Public Schools, eventually led to the formation of the Associated Public Schools of Victoria in 1908, which now has eleven member schools.  The schools participate in many sporting competitions, from junior ages through to senior levels, and abide by an accepted Code of Conduct and Regulations.

The Associated Public Schools of Victoria (APS Sport) sporting programme is administered from APS House, in Church Street, Hawthorn, Victoria, under the guidance of the Executive Officer (Mr Luke Soulos).


Celebrating 100 years, 1908 – 2008

The Associated Public Schools of Victoria: Celebrating 100 Years, 1908-2008 Publication was launched in November at the APS Delegates Dinner.

The Associated Public Schools of Victoria: Celebrating 100 Years, 1908-2008  (Publication)

The following is an extended version of the history (with footnotes, corrections and additions) without each school’s contribution.

The Associated Public Schools of Victoria: Celebrating 100 Years, 1908-2008  (Extended edited version)

A hard copy of the extended manuscript with copies of material used in research is available at the APS Sport office.

Celebrating 10 Years of AGSV / APS Girls’ Sport


The Co-Educational schools from the Associated Grammar Schools of Victoria (AGSV) and the Associated Public Schools (APS) are proud to celebrate ten years of combined Girls’ Sporting Competition.  Since 2000 the Co-Educational Schools belonging to the APS and AGSV have combined to provide an outstanding sporting competition for the girls at their respective schools.  This competition continues to grow in the number of participants and sports.  The competition has successfully provided well organised, competitive games for girls of various abilities and ages.  The twelve schools are confident that the competition will continue to flourish and expand over the coming years.

A brief history of the competition shows that girls in the APS had been playing sport against each other since the 1980s and the APS Co-Educational schools were looking to expand the competition by the late 1990s.  The Geelong schools led the way in co-education with girls fully integrated from the start to the finish in both schools in the 1970s.  At Caulfield Grammar School and Wesley College the girls competed in Firsts teams as separate campuses and both of these schools were keen to field a combined Firsts team in a number of sports so were looking at expanding the competition for Firsts teams as well as at all levels.

Three AGSV schools, Assumption College, Yarra Valley Grammar and Penleigh and Essendon Grammar, had been Co-Educational since the 1970s, girls in those schools having competed very successfully in mid-week competitions such as the Southern District Sports’ Association.

In 1997 Ivanhoe Grammar School, through Principal Mr Rod Fraser, and Girls’ Sport Coordinator Mrs Wendy Kelly, expressed interest in playing matches against some of the APS Schools as they were seeking a competition for the girls at their Plenty Campus.  During 1998 Ivanhoe participated in the APS winter season.  By late 1998, the Principals of the other four AGSV Co-Educational schools had agreed that the establishment of a Saturday morning competition for their girls should be pursued.  At the same time the APS Heads, with the strong support of the Principal of Caulfield Grammar, Mr. Stephen Newton and the Chair of Heads, Dr. Ross Millikan from Carey Grammar, were looking to expand the APS competition for girls and it was suggested that the AGSV and APS look at a combined competition.

Their vision for a combined competition, supported by the AGSV Girls’ Sport Coordinators and the APS Girls’ Delegates led to the formation of the excellent competition which we have today.  The Executive Secretary of the AGSV, Mr. Allen Crawley and the Secretary of the APS, Mr. Morris Brown were very supportive in preparing fixtures and developing the rules and regulations which guide the competition.

A combined ten school competition began in the Winter Season of 2000 with Basketball, Hockey and Netball being played by AGSV schools Assumption College, Ivanhoe Grammar, Penleigh and Essendon Grammar, The Peninsula School and Yarra Valley Grammar and APS schools, Carey Grammar, Caulfield Grammar, The Geelong College, Geelong Grammar and Wesley College.  Haileybury joined the competition in 2005 and Mentone Grammar in 2006.

The competition has continued to expand and the number of teams entered has more than doubled over ten years with up to twelve schools now competing in eight sports (Badminton, Softball, Tennis, Touch, Volleyball, Basketball, Hockey, Netball and Soccer).

AGSV/APS Premierships for Firsts teams were introduced from 2001 and the winning teams are awarded the Premiership Cup and their names are recorded in the Premiership Books.

Some Representative matches between the APS and AGSV girls commenced in 1999 and selection in these teams (Summer and Winter) is highly sought after by students from both Associations.

AGSV /APS Girls Sport – 10 Year History

APS Rowing – Celebrating the 150th Year of The APS Regatta (Head of the River) in 2017


A Brief History

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 four oar gig race to be rowed from the Botanical Bridge to Edward’s Boathouse (Princes Bridge)”. On the 18th June Scotch won the race and since then the “Head of the River” race, as it is now known, has been contested every year. The race was first rowed on the Barwon in 1879 and then every fifth or sixth year until 1916. Between 1921-1943 the Barwon saw it every fourth year and since 1948 the only use of the Yarra was in 1957 when Geelong College won. During World War 2 the Geelong Schools rowed a heat on the Barwon and the four Melbourne Schools rowed heats on the Yarra. These races were held after school, the winners met on the Yarra to decide the title except in 1943 when restrictions on travel were in force. From 1868 to 1897 racing was in fixed seat, four oared gigs, from 1889 to 1900 in sliding seat single streak outrigged fours and from 1901 to 1918 in sliding seat clinker built eights. Shells have been used since.

Scotch College has been represented every year, gradually other schools have joined in, the most recent being Haileybury College who entered the Boys First Eight event for the first time in 1991.

The first cup for competition was presented in 1875 by the Hon. T J Sumner, to become the property of the school which should first win it three times. Scotch College won it in 1875, 1876 and 1879 and have retained it since that date.

In 1911 Mr C Fairbairn presented the Challenge Cup and the winners of this handsome trophy and previous “Winners of the Race”, as it was known then, are listed in this programme.

The Head of the River races have weathered such difficulties as flooded rivers, disputes over ages, dead heats, disqualifications, and even the inability of a school to round up enough rowers to boat a crew.

Before World War 2, only the first crew of each school took part in the Head of the River Regatta, but there was a race for second crews and sometimes third crews raced on the Saturday prior to the Head of the River race.

In the early part of the century the race was held in October, but later it was moved to May and after World War 2 to April. When the race was in October it was possible for a boy to represent his school in Football, Cricket, Rowing and Athletics in the one year, as the latter was held in May after the Cricket season had ended.

The first girl to row within the APS was a lone sculler from Geelong Grammar School in 1972. By 1975 there were 32 girls rowing and talk of girls competing at the Senior Regatta which, in fact, happened in 1981 when Geelong Grammar and Geelong College competed with MCEGGS, Morongo and Lauriston in 1st and 2nd Fours over 800m on the Friday. MLC and Carey joined the racing in 1982, with Carey boating a First Four in 1983. In 1984 there were seven girls’ crews rowing in each of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Four events but in the next year the regatta reverted to an all APS affair with only GGS and GC boating a First Four. In 1986 Carey reappeared in the First Fours and Wesley joined, so finally, with Caulfield joining in 1987, all five co-educational schools were boating a first four over 1500m. Many of those who have competed have gone on to National and International success. In 1995 fourth and fifth girls’ crews were introduced, racing over 1000m in regulation fours and in 1999 Year 10 Fours competed. Girls first eights (1998), second eights (1999) and third eights (2002) have replaced the open fours in the last few years. The Girls third eights reverted back to Open Fours in 2006, but are now again in eights, over 2000m.

The schools take part in a number of Rowing Victoria (RV) Regattas, including those at Ballarat, Geelong, Footscray, Nagambie, Carrum and Melbourne while the Junior Crews compete in RV and APS School Regattas. The Girls regularly compete at The Head of Schoolgirls Regatta whilst many crews compete, when practical, for both State and National titles.

Each year the APS Delegates’ Committee invites winning Boys 1st crews of 60, 50 and 40 years ago and the winning Girls 1st Crew of 30 years ago to the Regatta. This year representatives of the Boys winning crews in 1957, Geelong College, 1967 Scotch College, 1977 winners Wesley College and Girls 1987 winners Wesley College attended as guests of the APS.

In 2017, APS Sport will conduct the 150th APS Regatta (Head of the River) on Saturday 25 March at Lake Nagambie.  We have reliably been informed that The APS Regatta (Head of the River) is the oldest continuously run School Regatta in the world, from 1868-2017.  We look forward to celebrating this incredible milestone in APS Sport history with everyone along with numerous events leading up to the actual day. 



There are only two trophies at this Regatta, the Fairbairn Challenge Cup for the winner of the Boys’ Head of the River and the Geelong Ladies Challenge Cup for the winner of the Girls’ Head of the River.


Years in which schools first competed in Boys’ First Crews

1868    Scotch College, Melbourne Grammar School

1871    Wesley College

1875    Geelong Grammar School

1906    Xavier College

1908    The Geelong College

1961    Caulfield Grammar School, Brighton Grammar School, St. Kevin’s College

1962    Carey Grammar School

1991    Haileybury College


Years in which APS schools first competed in Girls’ First Crews

1981    The Geelong College, Geelong Grammar School

1983    Carey Grammar School

1986    Wesley College

1987     Caulfield Grammar School

2007    Haileybury