Decorated boat, Henley on Torrens 1914. Image courtesy State Library of South Australia PRG-280-1-16-304
Henley on Torrens Regatta
Organised by the South Australian Rowing Association, in 1914 this event was one of the most popular in Adelaide’s social calendar, growing in importance very year since the inaugural event on 17 December 1910. Based on UK’s Henley Royal Regatta held since 1839 in Henley on Thames in Oxfordshire, Adelaide’s version also rivalled Melbourne’s popular Henley on Yarra, formally established in 1904.
In the early years of the regatta, the day’s events included not only various races with entries drawn from metropolitan, country and school clubs, but also a procession of decorated boats which were judged by the current mayoress and awarded cash prizes for best and second best. Reserves along the river bank between the City and Morphett Street Bridges were roped off and the public admitted for a shilling where they could enjoy refreshments and other entertainment under the shade of a marquee. It was traditional to wear white with a fashionable hat, and for days prior to the regatta, local shops advertised their latest ‘Henley fashions’. There was also evening entertainment with concerts and dancing, against a spectacular backdrop of illuminated boats, bridges and boathouse, all decorated with coloured lights.
Also see Adelaidia for more history http://adelaidia.sa.gov.au/events/henley-on-torrens-regatta
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