Brown Snake Row Omnium

Event photos for 2022

Finish line



Race & Finish



Saturday 9 September 2023

7am start time

Click here for course details


Welcome to the Brown Snake Rowing Omnium hosted by UQBC. We are excited to bring this event to you for the fourth time.

It is an event suited to everyone. From beginners through to elite, competitive to social for the young and the older ;)


Row the Brown Snake in September as a lead up to The Head of the Brisbane in October which feeds into The Convict Chase in November. All these events combine to ensure optimal preparation for the popular HOTY (Head of the Yarra) in Melbourne.


The Brown Snake is also ideal final preparation for school rowers competing in the Queensland School Championships at the end of September. It is great fun for the University of Queensland College rowing program as well as a HP athletes building fitness in endurance/fartlek type work.

DATE: 9 September 2023

START: 7am

Start order tbc 

All four legs are rolling starts

15 seconds between crews (numbers of crews in category dependent)


TIDES at Indooroopilly on 9 September - TBC


ENTRIES via Rowing Manager

Date entries close - Wednesday 6 September 11pm 

The conditions of entry - there are no refunds after 3 September 2023




You can row ANY boat but more than three in any category qualifies you for a wonderful prize 



Prizes ?




Yep 😊




Absolutely 😊




No worries








Crazy not to




Pretty cool prize here








You betcha



WM8+ A-C

Of course




No problem



MM8+ A-C

Got the nod on this




Why not?




Something special here 😉



Mix M4X

Ditto the above 😉



Mix M4-

Same again 😉



Varsity/Uni (M8+ or 4+)

We built this event for you - so derrrr

9 or 5


School mixed 8+

We’ll do it


Varsity/Uni (W8+ or 4+)

Twist our arm

9 or 5


Varsity/Uni (mix 8+)

Consider it done


Total available prizes*

99 +28+10 = maximum of


*You can actually enter any boat category we just limit the prizes to whatever category has 3 or more entries.

Swagger Trophy open to ALL



$10 for school entry

$25 for club entry

Presentation of prizes will be arranged individually.

Usual RQ entry requirements and protocols apply regarding entry closure, scratching and refunds.


VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION  VolunteerSignup - Online volunteer signup sheets - Brown Snake volunteer 2023 signup sheet

The Brown Snake requires 16 volunteers on the timing alone. Please ask your friends and family to commit to volunteering for this wonderful fundraisier for the UQBC. Also includes one training session on timing prior to the event (need to use your phone/tablet).

A briefing on Wednesday 6 September will occur to ensure you are well versed in the role.


MAP OF THE COURSE - Approximately 7km distance from Oxley Creek to Dutton Park

Leg 1. Excalibur (1500m ish)

Leg 2. Long Pocket (1000m ish)

Leg 3. Corso (2000m ish)

Leg 4. Tombstone (500m ish)


Four legs raced in the following order: 1500m (ish), 1000m (ish), 2000m (ish, 500m (ish

Timing for each four legs is combined for a total score and a winner is attained in 10 different categories

An aggregate score of each club wil determine the winner of the Brown Snake Trophy



An 'in person' briefing will be conducted at Rowing Queensland Board room 150 Jane Street, West End on Friday 8 September between 4:30pm - 6:30pm. Bow numbers and tshirts to be collected at this time.

We will also conduct a livestream of the briefing and the link will be available on Rowing Manager closer to the day.


TRAILER PARKING location and boat access to the river

1. UQBC on Sir William Macgregor Drive St Lucia

2. Somerville House (River City) boatshed at Brisbane Corso Reserve Park, Yeronga - for the 8+'s and any boats size. It is approx 5.5km row to the start line from this location and approx 1.5km from the finish line.

3. Kings College at 72 Upland Road, St Lucia.  It is approx 5.5km row to the start line from this location and approx 1.5km from the finish line. Across the river from Somerville House (River City)

4. The Tennyson Sea Scouts at 55 Vivian Street, Tennyson - for 1x, 2x/2- and 4x/4X+/4+/4- (not 8+'s)


Please advise event organisers which location you intend to use so that we can make appropriate arrangements.



The leg openers are listed here:

  1. The first leg is called the Excalibur – Oxley Creek to Tennyson (1500m ish). Excalibur – Timekeepers are positioned on the Start pontoon at Oxley Creek entrance and the finish line is at the end of the straight the first pontoon (the timekeepers are located on pontoon at 52 Ortive Street).
  2. The second leg is called The Long pocket – Vets Corner to the Aerial (1000m ish). There are a bunch of pontoons as you veer around Vets corner and straighten up (the timekeeper for the start is positioned on the pontoon at the end of Astolat street #35). The middle pontooon  takes advantage of the straight in this location. The finish line at the aerial is before the next corner (timekeeper is in a tinnie in line with 39 The Esplanade).
  3. The third leg is called The Corso – The Stockwell house to the end of the Corso (2000m ish) The Corso – Start line timekeepers are positioned on the pontoon at the iconic Stockwell House (it is a MASSIVE HOUSE) you will start here (even though it is on a corner) follow the pontoons around, past the Green marker on the rocks and down the Somerville straight, this is the longest leg and the end of the straight is littered with pontoons. The first of which is 101 The Corso and timekeepers are positioned here - the third leg finish line. It’s a short break and then onto the last leg.
  4. The final leg is called the Tombstone – The southern edge of the Cemetery to the Dutton Park Recreation Pontoon (500m ish). The timekeepers for the start of the last leg are positioned on last pontoon at 73 Fenton Street. It marks the beginning of the cemetery, ahhh you get it! Running start again here and past the red buoy, under the Eleanor Schonnell bridge and the finish line is the Dutton Park Recreation pontoon, directly opposite the UQ City Cat terminal. Collect your bag of snakes and head home.

You are DONE. 


COXSWAINS! All Brisbane River rules apply.

Stick to the customary side of the river

Yield to the faster crew

You can row light between the legs but DO NOT STOP

You can rotate through the crew so that crew members can rest/drink/etc, but you cannot stop

The starts are all running starts

The start and finish gates  will have a visual and auditory indicator that you are approaching the start line and/or you have finished that leg.

The visual will be a buoy/tinnie/people on a pontoon waving a flag

You should pass through these gate points at full speed.

When you come to the end of a leg you may row light, or you can have rowers drop out while they get a drink etc, but your boat MUST NOT stop.

You must keep moving even if just rowing light

If there is a crew bearing down on you, you must move out of the way

Don't cut corners and miss the gate  - look out for the timekeepers in high vis, yellow buoys and indicators of the gates

The excitement factor in the race is that you may overlap or pass other crews but it may not necessarily be in the full speed pieces but in the recovery



The Brown Snake Trophy - a club point score system awarded to the club that accumulates the most points on the day. Every participant from your club contributes to the point score so get your club


The Swagger Trophy - awarded to the boat with the best crew costume.

2023 sees the introduction of the BALLS AND ALL TROPHY for the fastest prognostic in the last 500m














An OMNIUM is a multiple race event (typically in track cycling), but UQBC is not into cancel culture, it is into reinvention and adaptation (or in the current climate "appropriation"). We are also a little bit impressed with ourselves because the word 'omnium' is from Latin: of all, belonging to all, and this just ticks all the boxes for elevating our stature beyond mere pullers of oars and paddlers.



The Brown Snake is the colloquial term for the Brisbane River. This event was brainstormed during a post row coffee session of hypoglycaemic committee members, who didn’t know they were going to be committee members (a case of right time, wrong place ). It is 5kms of racing set on 7kms of the winding Brown Snake. It starts at Oxley Creek and finishes at Dutton Park. This course takes advantage of the CITYCAT free zone and some iconic landmarks for rowers that have a unique Brown Snake perspective.



We were motivated to investigate any current research there is on The Brown Snake.

The latest news on the Brown Snake from Betoota Advocate (Clancy Overell)


The situation in Brisbane City has gone from bad to worse this afternoon, after the three-day snap lockdown has been compounded by a river paddlesteamer running aground in a narrow bend of the Brown Snake.

The Queensland Capital’s economy is now at an absolute standstill, as residents are ordered to stay home to avoid the spread of this dastardly virus, while all of the state’s exports are also left stationary by this blockage in the Brisbane River.

This maritime nightmare has left Brisbane rattled, after it was revealed that the vessel at the centre of the river blockage was the city’s iconic Kookaburra Queen.

The beautiful timber river cruise is blocking transit in both directions through one of the world’s busiest shipping channels for beef, coal, grain, midstrength beer and other trade – linking Australia to the Asia Pacific.

The BROWN SNAKE RIVER AUTHORITY (BSRA) said eight tugs were working to move the vessel, which got stuck diagonally across the single-lane southern stretch of the snake on Tuesday morning (local time) amid high winds and a dust storm.

A total of 206 large container ships have backed up at either end of the river, with roughly 30 per cent of the world’s shipping container volume transits through the mighty Brown Snake daily.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk hosted a socially distant press conference moments ago, where she assured all Queenslanders that she working around the clock to free the floating Brisbane landmark.

“We are currently exploring the idea of strapping the stern of the Queen to a fleet of eight CityCats to give it a real tug” he said.

“We are hoping that will be the nudge it needs”

“Outside of that, we’ve got a couple chippys from Hutchies down there with some tape measure, seeing if they can’t lop off a bit of the bow”

However, the Premier said it was very important that residents just focus on their own health at this moment and avoid any sightseeing”

“But please, and I cannot stress this enough. Please do not leave your homes to witness this feat of disaster management.”

“I’ve ordered Channel 9 and Seven to send some film crews down from Mount Coot-tha to livestream our crews dislodging the Kookaburra Queen.”

“Please stay home and work on your lawns. Only a couple more days to go”

“Could really use a few vaccines right now, Scotty”


Another beauty from Betoota:

For the past five years, Dan (from Sydney) has been living like a fully-fledged Brisbanean. Hasn’t worn a tie in years, drinks mid-strength beer. Think’s Kevin Rudd is both a pretty good bloke, but an absolute poon in the highest order at the same time. Plays and enjoys his contact sports and periodically gets behind the Lions when they get a bit of a roll on.

However, something has always bothered him – and his mates knew exactly what it was.

“He felt like he never truly fit in, you know, because he’s from Pymble – which to my understanding is a shitnest full of people who hate pubs and dying Catholics in North Sydney?” said fellow flanker, Gus.

“Not that we cared, we just used to make him drink Tooheys New during Origin games. That’s all. But it really used to get to him.”

So Dan’s football team hatched a plan.

“Mick and I drove him down to Mowbray Park in South Brisbane, where the rest of the team was waiting for him in the river. We were going to baptise him a Queenslander, let him be reborn from the Brisbane River.”

At 1:03pm this afternoon, just in time for RiverFire this weekend, Dan Caruthers drank a pot of Bundaberg Rum before being dunked beneath the majestic brown tide. He was held there for almost a minute, while he kicked and scratched at the hands that held him down.

Taking his first gasping breath as a Queenslander, Dan hugged his new brothers, then drank from the very river that gave him life.

“I’m never going to listen to the arthritic ramblings of Daniel Johns again. Lay some ‘Finger on me, put me in a cab to Caxton Street, I’ve got some mangos to suck.”

More to come.


In another incident involving the Brown Snake covered by Betoota:

Queenslanders aren’t overly shocked by the ‘The Brown Snake’ being lit on fire recently, and CityCat routes have not yet been affected by the blaze that burned for close to 12 hours.

“This bloody thing never surprises” says local ferry operator, Moreton Banks (65)

“I found a human arm in there once. Couple actually. Not the same arm, but yeah”

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk hadn’t even heard the news when we contacted her office.

“Haha what? Seriously. The Snake is on fire?” she said.

“F%^$ me that’s gotta be a first hahaha”

Despite the overall disinterest from locals, Marine biologists from the CSIRO are working around the clock to identify what may be the cause of the Brown Snake Fire.

Early indications suggest it might be coming from the fuel tank of a submerged Holden Commodore that was ditched in the river after the armed robbery of a South Brisbane ANZ branch while everyone was distracted by Expo 88.


Earlier from the Betoota Advocate:

Several scientists from the CSIRO have recently released images that accurately show what the iconic Brisbane River would look like had Queenslanders never been put in charge of maintaining it.

The lead researcher, Professor Mal Tuquiri says that if Queensland never decided to build their state capital on its banks, this place would look like an actual tropical estuary… Instead of the choccie milk colour we are used to”

“How the f@$k do they manage to keep the Sydney Harbour so blue?” said a confused QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, after being handed the photo during a press conference. “Our river is pretty brown, hey? But things are just different in Queensland, not many places in the world have white coral reefs, either”

Isn't she wonderful with the power of her positive spin?

The above is an excerpt from the Betoota Advocate. thank you Betoota ;)



The timing system adopted in 2022 is WEBSCORER. 


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