Review of the Head of the Lake Regatta

Dear Clubs,

The Board of Rowing ACT has implemented a Review of the Federal Head of the Lake Regatta and has appointed a three person expert panel to conduct the Review.

The following Terms of Reference will be considered by the Review Panel:

  1. The best possible business model to ensure that the ACT Head of the Lake Regatta becomes a leading Regatta for Schools on the Rowing Australia Calendar, including promotion and engagement with ACT and interstate schools, facility requirements, revenue options including seat-fee and merchandising settings and opportunities for sponsorship from the corporate and government sectors.
  2. The best possible regatta program to ensure that the ACT Head of the Lake Regatta becomes a leading Regatta for both independent and government Schools on the Rowing Australia Calendar.
  3. Clear descriptions for all key roles involved in the management and the promotion of ACT Head of the Lake Regatta.
  4. Other matters as they may arise during the review.

The expert panel will include the following:

  • Alice Evans is Rowing Australia National Events Co-ordinator, and formerly was a key figure in Rowing Victoria regatta administration.
  • Kent Peters is a qualified national umpire from WA who umpire refereed at the Head of the Lake this year. He is Director of Business at Canberra Grammar School, and has a son who rows at CGS.
  • Alan Butorac is a nationally accredited BRO, former RACT Board member and parent involved in local regattas in past years.

Written submissions are requested from key stakeholders in Rowing ACT, including the Chief BRO in the ACT, all Rowing Schools in the ACT and a cross section of  interstate Rowing Schools who have competed in Canberra in the past and those who may potentially compete in the future.
The opportunity for personal interviews with key stakeholders will be available.
The Review will commence in April 2018, and a draft report be completed by 13 July 2018.  A Consultation Period will then follow with a Final Report to be issued by 12 August 2018.

Written submissions and requests for personal interviews should be directed to: Alice Evans


The Head of the Lake Regatta has a long and rich history in the ACT as a schools’ regatta.  The Lake filled in April 1964 and in the following month the Australian Rowing Championships and Olympic trials were held.  Discussion started very soon after that on the possibility of Canberra hosting its very own Head of the Lake event.  In August 1964 thirty boys from Telopea Park High school were the first Canberra schoolboy organised crew to use Lake Burley Griffin in a four bought from the ACT Rowing Association.  This was seen at the time as the first stage of a plan to establish Canberra’s own Head of the Lake.  This led to the first Head of the Lake being held in April 1966.  Telopea High, Daramalan, Grammar, Lyneham and St Edmund’s all regularly competed in the 1960s.

Since then Rowing ACT has regularly hosted major school regattas on its calendar. The Federal Head of the Lake is the oldest of these regattas: it was inclusive of all schools, and events were won by government schools during the early years. Later the Independent Schools Rowing Association (ISRA) was formed in Canberra and they ran an exclusive regatta that was restricted to non-government schools based in NSW and ACT (not Victoria), and also excluded the Sydney GPS.

With the ISRA regatta migrating to Penrith, and now under the control of RNSW, RACT has re-established the Federal Head of the Lake, as a focus for schools rowing.

The 2018 Head of the Lake event was held in March attracting around 600 crew.  It was very successful and attracted good press coverage with the Canberra Times reporting that students from Canberra Girls Grammar, Canberra Grammar, Daramalan, Radford and Marist were leading the local contingent.