The iconic Head of the Schoolgirls rowing regatta will remain in Geelong for a further five years, with the Barwon River selected as the preferred host venue until 2024.
It means Geelong’s association with the regatta will extend to 37 consecutive years, after the city first played host in 1987.
The current contract was due to expire in 2019, and following a competitive
bidding process, the Head of the Schoolgirls Regatta Committee have now
announced that Geelong is their preferred venue for another five years, from
2020 until 2024.
Contract discussions are set to begin in the coming weeks.
As the pinnacle event on the Victorian schoolgirls rowing calendar, the Head of the Schoolgirls attracts more than 2000 competitors and sees thousands of spectators lining the banks of the Barwon.
It’s estimated to inject around $2 million into the local economy each year.
Geelong’s bid to retain the event was a partnership between the City of Greater Geelong and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, with the support of Rowing Geelong.
It highlighted the unique advantages of the Barwon – a boutique rowing course that is free-flowing and protected, safe, and offers unparalleled spectator vantage points on both sides of the river.
Geelong has shown ongoing commitment to the Barwon River rowing precinct, making around $2.5 million in infrastructure improvements over the past two decades.
These have maintained the river as a top class competitive venue, and a safe
and enjoyable precinct for all users.
The improvements have been funded by a range of bodies including the state government, City of Greater Geelong, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Regional Roads Victoria, the Barwon River Parklands Group and Rowing Geelong.
The Barwon River and its banks hold important environmental and cultural
values, making it one of Geelong’s greatest natural assets. It has also been a breeding ground for Olympic rowers.
The City of Greater Geelong is proud to support the Head of the Schoolgirls via Geelong Major Events funding.
Mayor Bruce Harwood:
We have no doubt Geelong is the best venue for the Head of the Schoolgirls, and we’re absolutely delighted to retain it for another five years.
Denis Lovric, Corangamite Catchment Management
The Barwon River creates an atmosphere for competitive rowing unlike any other, with spectators on both sides of the course enjoying close-up views of the action. We’re a destination that rowers and supporters love visiting, and as with all of our major events, the people of Geelong always support the Head of the Schoolgirls by turning out in big numbers.
We thank the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and Rowing Geelong for their work on the bid, and congratulate the committee on its smart decision to keep the Head of the Schoolgirls where it belongs, right here in Geelong.
As the waterway manager for the ‘Barwon River through Geelong’, the CCMA is pleased to play its part in the hosting of the Head of the Schoolgirls.
Phil Ryan, President of Rowing Geelong:
The regatta is important for the local rowing community, and we look forward to working with the City of Greater Geelong and the organising committee to ensure this unique event continues to be a success into the future.
Geelong rowing has been a big part of the Head of the Schoolgirls regatta since the earliest days of the event, and members of our local rowing clubs and schools have participated as supporters, volunteers, competitors, and coaches.
Over the past 30-plus years of the regatta being held on the Barwon, Rowing
Geelong has managed and developed the course such that it now hosts almost a third of all rowing racing in Victoria.
We look forward to continuing to host the premier schoolgirls rowing event on the Barwon River for many years to come.