It’s finally here! The Australian Boat Race returns to Sydney waters after two long years of Covid-related cancellations. In a longstanding rivalry between the two oldest universities in Australia – the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne - the respective crews are set to go head-to-head again and race, this time in Sydney’s iconic Darling Harbour on October 16th.
The two rowing clubs met informally on the Yarra River in 1860. By 1870 the rowing competition between Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide universities became a regular feature, eventually growing into the annual intervarsity competition still held today.
Almost 150 years after the first regatta, the first Australian Boat Race was contested as a time trial as part of the 2009 Head of the Yarra, with Melbourne claiming victory in both Men’s and Women’s. Following this, the Vice-Chancellors agreed to an annual “Match Race” between Men’s Eights and Women’s Eights from each university.
Over the years, the race has become a showcase event on each of the cities’ iconic watercourses celebrating what is now a 160-year-old rivalry both on and off the water. With the first Australian Boat Race taking place in 2009, the current standing for the Edmund Barton Trophy (Men’s Eight) is Sydney 9 wins and Melbourne 2 wins. The current standing for the Bella Guerin Trophy (Women’s Eight) is Sydney 3 wins and Melbourne 8 wins.
The University of Sydney and Melbourne rowing clubs were founded in 1859 and 1860, respectively and are currently the two most successful rowing clubs in Australia.
The Australian Boat Race trophy for the men’s race was designed and produced by Melbourne sculptor Jennifer Mann and is named after Australia’s first Prime Minister. Edmund Barton represented the University of Sydney in the two seats of the first official intervarsity race between Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide universities. The race was in fours and held on the Yarra River.
The trophy for the women’s race, also designed and produced by Jennifer Mann, is named after the first woman graduate of the University of Melbourne – Bella Guerin.
This October, the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne call on their students and communities to don their varsity colours and join us in support of this not-to-be-missed event down by our iconic Darling Harbour.
For the full schedule, stay across our socials for the latest updates.
Australian Boat Race Website: Australian Boat Race