The first edition took place at the Royal Henley Peace Regatta when troops from around the world were waiting in England go home. The Australian Imperial Force No. 1 won the race and were awarded the King’s Cup trophy. They brought the trophy back to Australia and since 1922 it has been given as the prize for the Interstate men’s eight race.

To celebrate the centenary, families of the original crew members attended the race which was held during this year’s Sydney International Rowing Regatta. The week of racing culminated in the much-anticipated centenary celebration of the King’s Cup held at the Sydney International Rowing Centre’s Penrith regatta course.

Australia’s state of New South Wales wrapped up the week by winning all four interstate races, including the King’s and Queen’s Cup, and the Rowing Australia Cup.

2019 King's Cup winners New South Wales toss coxswain, Kendall Brodie © Rowing Australia/Delly Carr


Coming into the King’s Cup race, New South Wales was the crew to beat, having won the title in 2018 and boasting a stacked line-up which included World Champions Spencer Turrin and Jack Hargreaves and World Championship medallists Kendall Brodie (coxswain), Rob Black and Nick and Alex Purnell. The crew led from start to finish, with Victoria making a last-effort charge in the final sprint, but to no avail.

“It’s pretty amazing, it’s my first experience in the King’s Cup, words can’t really describe how I’m feeling right now,” said New South Wales rower and Australian national team member Jack O’Brien. “There’s a lot of hype around it but you have to keep calm. But now it’s all over you are actually a part of something really big, really happy to be a part of it. The boys called me to grab the trophy which was absolutely amazing. It’s not every day you get to hold the King’s Cup up in your hands and raise it.”

New South Wales also picked up the Queen’s Cup trophy by winning the women’s eight race and breaking Victoria’s 14-year winning streak. The New South Wales crew had the lead from the start, but Victoria came charging back in the final sprint. With water running out, New South Wales managed to hang on to the lead, finishing just 0.62 seconds ahead of Victoria.

“It’s pretty exciting; it’s something the girls have been building on for a while and to be a part of it is really special,” said World Championship medallist and New South Wales crew member Georgina Rowe. “It was a really good race, we came out hot and Victoria were really tough but we just got over the line before them so it was really exciting.

“What we have worked on in training is having the confidence to get out in front and stay in front and just keep going and not wait for the Victorians to row through us.” 

The history of the King’s Cup will further be commemorated with a new race at the 2019 Henley Royal Regatta. It will feature military eights from Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, France, New Zealand, The Netherlands and the USA. The eights are considered defence force crews and must include two or more women in each crew.

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Quotes thanks to Rowing Australia