First Australian Boat Race in three years comes to a nail-biting end

17 October 2022

The results are in! It was a mighty day at Darling Harbour 

On October 16, the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne took up oars for the first Australian Boat Race in three years, reigniting their 160-year-old rivalry. 

The University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne's women's and men's rowing eights raced four-and-a-half kilometres from Woolwich to the iconic Darling Harbour. 

After the gruelling race, the Sydney men's rowing eights took home the Edmund Barton Trophy, taking the overall standing between the universities' men's teams, Sydney 10 wins, and Melbourne 4 wins.

The Sydney women's rowing eights won the Bella Guerin Trophy, continuing their reigning winning streak, taking the standing between the universities' women's teams, Sydney 4 wins, and Melbourne 9 wins. 

The Australian Boat Race women's trophy was designed and produced by Melbourne sculptor Jennifer Mann and named after the first female graduate of the University of Melbourne, Bella Guerin.


University of Sydney's men's and women's rowing eights teams. 

Jennifer also designed the men's trophy, named after Australia's first Prime Minister Edmund Barton, who represented the University of Sydney in the two seats of the first official intervarsity race between Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide universities, which took place on the Yarra River in Melbourne. 

The Australian Boat Race's grand return comes after two years of COVID-related cancellations, and it was a thrill for onlookers to watch the two universities go head-to-head on the water.

Sydney’s women’s eights, coached by Alfie Young, was represented by rowers Lucy Coleman (Bow), Nikki Greenland, Zoe McKellar, Emily Sheppard, Eleanor Price, Tara Rigney, Ella Mentzines, Jaimie Ford, Talia Barnet-Hepples (Cox), and reserves Sophia Wightman and Ella Cassin. 

While Sydney’s men’s eights, coached by Don McLachlan, was represented by rowers Hamish Danks, Marcus Britt, Kieran Riach, David Bartholot, Nick Mirow, Will O’Shannessy, Jakson Kench, Lizzie Bolster (Cox), Henry Ryan and Ryan Gibson. 

The Australian Boat Race’s rich history

The long-standing tradition between Australia’s two oldest universities is based on the famous Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race, an annual competition featuring current and alumni rowers.

In 1860 the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne rowing clubs met informally on the Yarra River in Melbourne, then by 1870, they regularly competed together with Adelaide University.


The Australian Boat Race endured two years of COVID-related cancellations. Image Credit: University of Sydney. 

The Australian race was born in 2009 when the first Australian Boat Race was contested as a time trial at the long-running Head of the Yarra rowing regatta. After the fiercely competed race, the Sydney and Melbourne vice-chancellors agreed to hold an annual competition called the ‘match race’ between their teams, which became the famous Boat Race. 

The last time the race took place was in 2019, just before the pandemic.

Faye Couros

Assistant Media and PR Advisor (Central)