1913 saw 44 competitors dive into the Yarra River for the inaugural Race to Prince’s Bridge
The 3 mile swim ran from the old Twickenham Ferry to the Prince's Bridge in the heart of Melbourne
The 1929 event set a world record for the second year running, with 623 competitors
More than 100,000 spectators lined the banks of the Yarra, cheering on a stream of bobbing heads as they collectively made their way towards the city
"More than 75kg of grease and cocoa-nut oil was applied to the competitors to keep out the cold..." The Australasian, 10 Mar 1928
"It is without a doubt the most popular aquatic event of the season... The banks of the river for the whole three miles were lined with groups of interested spectators and over the last two miles, hundreds of motor-cars followed the race"
The Australasian , 8 Mar 1930
Each year held a unique story...
In 1946 a man by the name of R. Woods, who lost both his legs as an infant, came a remarkable 3rd place in an event that was abandoned by some due to poor conditions
Ivan Stedman, renowned Australian Olympic swimmer and teammate of Frank Beaurepaire, followed up his 1946 course record with a win at the age of 56
Melbourne hosted the iconic yarra race for half a century
By 1964, however, increasing concern over the polluted state of the river forced its cancellation
In 1987, Swimming Victoria revived the race, only to be cancelled shortly after
Since then, several initiatives have made gradual improvements to the health of the river
With strategic investment and community support, the Yarra can return to being a healthy and swimmable river - as has been the case for many urban rivers around the world