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Toowong Rowing Club (TRC) welcomes you to their annual Head of the Brisbane regatta, which is held on the third Saturday in October. Racing kicks off at 7:30 am from the TRC pontoon off Keith Street, St Lucia. The Head of the Brisbane is open to all rowing boat categories: 1x to 8+, and rowers from all age groups: School, Open, and Masters.

The 2020 race briefing will be via YouTube video. We will also have banners up displaying the course when you come to pick up your t-shirt and bow number from the TRC club from 6 pm the Friday night before the race.

Any cars left in the TRC car park after 8:00 pm on the Friday night before race day WILL BE TOWED AT THE OWNER'S EXPENSE. We need to close the car park off for trailers.

The Head of the Brisbane is an approximate 10 km time trial starting at the TRC pontoon. With each crew heading off at 30-second intervals, the challenge will be to hold off the competition while trying to catch the boat in front.

The start and finish line will be slightly upstream from the Toowong Rowing Club pontoon. The turnaround, which will be marked by anchored buoys, will be approximately 5km upstream of the start as shown in the map below.

HOTB Start Finish


Crews entering the river will do so via the Toowong Rowing Club pontoon situated in front of the TRC lower shed. The Pontoon Marshals will advise crews when it is safe to depart the pontoon and safely make their way down river past the start line. At a point that the cox deems safe and while obeying any instructions of the Course Marshal the crew will row across to the northern bank to row downstream for the purpose of warming up and joining the start queue. Crews approaching the marshalling area from a club located along the Brisbane River (i.e. they didn't boat from the TRC pontoon) must ensure they avoid crews starting and finishing the race and other crews entering the marshalling area.

The BBC pontoon will be available as a "hot swap" area for crews who need to swap rowers out of the boat.

Any crew wishing to come off the water or to collect bow numbers can do so via the Toowong Rowing Club pontoon.

A 500m zone downstream of the Start Line is the designated Start Marshalling Area. Crews that are not preparing to join the start queue should not enter this zone and should carry out their warm up exercises downstream of this area.

Crews should endeavour to be on the water at least 30 minutes prior to their start time in order to give themselves plenty of time to warm up. Crews must be prepared to be lined up at least 10 minutes prior to their start time. The Start Marshals will assist crews in forming up for the start.

While the start time for your race is set out in the draw the actual start time will be determined by the Start Marshal in order to best deal with the prevailing conditions and the movements of other river craft including the City Cats.

Cox should note that the tide will be going out during the regatta race period. The tidal run will allow crews to sit in their starting order without being washed over the start line.

Each crew shall form up for their start in single file following the alpha numeric order. From a stationary position crews will be called to commence rowing approximately 100m from the actual start line by the Starting Umpire. Each crews' starting time will be taken as they cross the start line. Crews are encouraged to be at full race pace as they cross the start line, which will be marked by a red buoy on the rowers' stroke side, but no horn or other noise will announce the crossing of the start line.  

Please note that the City Cat service will continue to operate throughout the event and crews must be aware of their presence and give way to the City Cats.

 The Start/ Finish area will be a very busy place, so it is vitally important that coxes stay alert and obey the instructions of the Marshals and put safety first at all times.

 Full HOTB Course





The course winds its way down the river under the spectator friendly Eleanor Schonell Bridge. The sharp turn after the bridge will test each crews’ mettle as they vie for the best line. The straight past the University of Queensland and King’s College will see the pressure turn on, and the rating escalate. Be prepared to hear lots of yelling from coxswains. Not for the faint-hearted, the hairpin turn opposite Paringa Place park will challenge many crews.

We have noticed that some crews start the turn only after they have passed the Turn Start Yellow Buoy which means that they are travelling further than they need to. We recommend, while being safe, that crews hug the bank and time their turn so that they are already on the rudder as they pass the Turn Start Yellow Buoy in order to shorten the distance rowed.  

Once successfully (or not) through the turn, they will make their way back up the river parallel to the Brisbane Corso, and Somerville House rowing shed.




On their way back up the river, crews must stay in their third of the river (as per the Brisbane River Code of Conduct 2011) along the Somerville reach and ensure that they pass the Red Rocks Marshal and the Red Rocks Buoy with both markers on their stroke side. As fatigue sets in, crews will find themselves back under Eleanor Schonell Bridge where the notorious Brisbane River swirls have been known to undo even the best of crews. Once clear of the bridge, it will be time to unleash the power and make the dash for the finish line back at TRC where a buzzer will announce that you have crossed the finish line. Well done. 

Congratulate yourselves. When safe to do so, paddle over to the Toowong Rowing Club pontoon where pontoon helpers will assist you in getting your oars and boat off the water. Cool down, change clothes if you brought them, and then head up to the Toowong Function centre where you can savour the food catered by the iconic Regatta Hotel, grab a drink from the bar, and keep an eye out for race updates. While you wait for the medal presentation groove along to the smooth tunes of Brisbane's Matt Kairl. We will be handing out medals for first, second, and third place.


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Emergency Services Rowing Challenge


Toowong Rowing Club (TRC) gives thanks to the Queensland Emergency Services—Ambulance, Fire, and Police—for their service and commitment to our community in the best way we know, a rowing race.

After the last Head of the Brisbane race, Emergency Services crews, comprised of members of the Ambulance, Fire, and Police, will race from a starting point between the Guyatt Park Ferry Terminal to the Toowong Rowing Club pontoon; they will race a distance of approximately 700 metres, to raise funds for their respective charities:

Please, join us in supporting this oarsome cause by donating on the day. We will have a donation bin at the bar—we figure that's where many people will hang out. Keep up to date on the crews' training sessions and blister formation (there will be plenty of blistered hands) on our Facebook page: @HeadOfTheBrisbane, or Instagram:@headofbrisbane.

We encourage friends, family, Emergency Services colleagues, and the public to rally together to cheer on all the emergency service crews. Register your interest to watch the race live at Toowong Rowing Club or the many vantage points along the river.

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