1938 British Empire Games

The 1938 British Empire Games was the third British Empire Games, the event that evolved to become the Commonwealth Games. Held in Sydney, Australia from 5–12 February 1938, they were timed to coincide with Sydney's sesqui-centenary (150 years since the foundation of British settlement in Australia). Venues included the Sydney Cricket Ground (the main stadium), the Sydney Sports Ground, North Sydney Olympic Pool and Henson Park. An estimated 40,000 people attended the opening ceremony. A competitors' residential village was established within the grounds of the Sydney Showground.[1][2]

III British Empire Games
1938 British Empire Games.png
Host citySydney, Australia
Nations participating15
Athletes participating464
Opening ceremony5 February
Closing ceremony12 February
Officially opened byJohn Loder, 2nd Baron Wakehurst
Main venueSydney Cricket Ground
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IV →

The star of the games was the Australian athlete Decima Norman, who won five gold medals in track and field. Margaret Dovey, the future wife of Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, finished sixth in the 220 yards breaststroke.

Due to the onset of World War II, the games were not held again until 1950.

Participating teamsEdit

Countries that participated

Medals by countryEdit

  *   Host nation (Australia)

1  Australia (AUS)*25192266
2  England (ENG)15151040
3  Canada (CAN)13161544
4  South Africa (SAF)1010626
5  New Zealand (NZL)571325
6  Wales (WAL)2103
7  Ceylon (CEY)1001
8  Scotland (SCO)0235
9  British Guiana (BGU)0101
10  Southern Rhodesia (SRH)0022
Totals (10 nations)717171213

Medals by eventEdit



Event Gold Silver Bronze
Flyweight   Johnny Joubert (SAF)   Joe Gagnon (CAN)   Hugh Cameron (SCO)
Bantamweight   William Butler (ENG)   Hendrik Knoesen (SAF)   Jack Dillon (AUS)
Featherweight   Barney Henricus (CEY)   James Watson (SCO)   Kenneth Moran (NZL)
Lightweight   Harry Groves (ENG)   Harry Hurst (CAN)   William Fulton (RHO)
Welterweight   Bill Smith (AUS)   Arthur Heeney (NZL)   Andrew Tsirindonis (RHO)
Middleweight   Denis Reardon (WAL)   Maurice Dennis (ENG)   Rex Carey (CAN)
Light heavyweight   Nick Wolmarans (SAF)   Cecil Overell (AUS)   Joseph Wilby (ENG)
Heavyweight   Thomas Osborne (CAN)   Claude Sterley (SAF)   Leslie Harley (AUS)



Event Gold Silver Bronze
Time Trial   Bob Porter (AUS) 1:15.2   Tasman Johnson (AUS) 1:15.7   Ernest Mills (ENG) 1:15.9
Sprint 1000 yd   Dunc Gray (AUS)   Bob Porter (AUS)   George Giles (NZL)
10-mile Scratch   William Maxfield (ENG) 24:44.0   Ray Hicks (ENG)   Syd Rose (SAF)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Road Race   Hennie Binneman (SAF) 2'53:29.6   John Brown (NZL) s.t.   Ray Jones (ENG) s.t.


Men's eventsEdit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
3 m springboard   Ron Masters (AUS) 126.36   Doug Tomalin (ENG) 124.78   George Athans (CAN) 117.90
10 m platform   Doug Tomalin (ENG) 108.74   Ron Masters (AUS) 102.87   George Athans (CAN) 98.93

Women's eventsEdit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
3 m springboard   Irene Donnett (AUS) 91.18   Lynda Adams (CAN) 88.27   Marie Sharkey (CAN) 81.66
10 m platform   Lurline Hook (AUS) 36.47   Lynda Adams (CAN) 36.39   Irene Donnett (AUS) 34.57

Lawn bowlsEdit


All events were for men only. The double sculls competition was an invitation event and originally no medals were awarded nevertheless these medals were counted nowadays. The bronze medal is listed as won by New Zealand.

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Single sculls   Herb Turner (AUS) 8:24   Peter Jackson (ENG)   Robert Smith (NZL)
Double sculls   Cecil Pearce
and William Bradley (AUS)
7:29.4   Jack Offer
and Dick Offer (ENG)
  Gus Jackson
and Robert Smith (NZL)
Coxed four   Australia
Don Fraser
Gordon Freeth
Harry Kerr
Jack Fisher
Stewart Elder
7:16.8   New Zealand
Albert Hope
George Burns
John Rigby
Kenneth Boswell
Jim Clayton
+1.25 lgths   Canada
Donald Davis
James Temple
James MacDonald
Kenneth Jaggard
Max Winkler
+0.75 lgths
Eights   England
Basil Beazley
Desmond Kingsford
John Sturrock
John Burrough
John Turnbull
Peter Jackson
Rhodes Hambridge
J. Tim Turner
William Reeve (cox)
6:29   Australia
Joe Gould
Alfred Gregory
Ted Bromley
Frank le Souef
Gordon Yewers
Richard Paramor
W.G. Thomas[3]
Bill Dixon
Doug Bowden
+0.75 lgths   New Zealand
Gus Jackson
Cyril Stiles
Rangi Thompson
Howard Benge
John Charters
Les Pithie
Oswald Denison
James Gould
William Stodart
+2 lgths


Men's eventsEdit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
110 yd freestyle   Bob Pirie (CAN) 59.6   Terry Collard (SAF) 60.8   William Fleming (AUS) 61.0
440 yd freestyle   Bob Pirie (CAN) 4:54.6   Bob Leivers (ENG) 4:55.4   Robin Biddulph (AUS) 4:55.5
1650 yd freestyle   Bob Leivers (ENG) 19:46.4   Bob Pirie (CAN) 19:59.2   Norman Wainwright (ENG) 20:17.4
110 yd backstroke   Percy Oliver (AUS) 01:07.9   Gordon Kerr (CAN) 1:09.0   Micky Taylor (ENG) 1:09.3
220 yd breaststroke   John Davies (ENG) 2:51.9   Walter Spence (BGU) 3:00.5   Jimmy Prentice (CAN) 3:00.8
4×220 yd freestyle relay   England
Frederick Dove
Mostyn Ffrench-Williams
Norman Wainwright
Bob Leivers
9:19.0   Canada
George Burleigh
Gordon Devlin
Robert Hooper
Bob Pirie
9:20.2   Australia
Robert Wilshire
Noel Ryan
Robin Biddulph
William Fleming
3×110 yd medley relay   England
Frederick Dove
John Davies
Micky Taylor
3:28.2   Canada
Gordon Kerr
Jimmy Prentice
Bob Pirie
3:30.5   Australia
Ernest Hobbs
Percy Oliver
William Fleming

Women's eventsEdit

Event Gold Silver Bronze
110 yd freestyle   Evelyn de Lacy (AUS) 1:10.1   Dorothy Green (AUS) 1:11.1   Dorothy Lyon (CAN) 1:12.1
440 yd freestyle   Dorothy Green (AUS) 5:39.7   Margaret Jeffery (ENG) 5:40.2   Mona Leydon (NZL) 5:42.0
110 yd backstroke   Pat Norton (AUS) 1:19.5   Jeanne Greenland (WAL) 1:22.5   Margot Hamilton (SCO) 1:23.2
220 yd breaststroke   Doris Storey (ENG) 3:06.3   Carla Gerke (SAF) 3:12.1   Joan Langdon (CAN) 3:22.2
4×110 yd freestyle relay   Canada
Noel Oxenbury
Dorothy Lyon
Mary Baggaley
Phyllis Dewar
4:48.3   Australia
Dorothy Green
Evelyn de Lacy
Margaret Rawson
Pat Norton
4:49.0   England
Edna Hughes
Joyce Harrowby
Margery Hinton
Zilpha Grant
3×110 yd medley relay   England
Doris Storey
Lorna Frampton
Margery Hinton
3:57.7   South Africa
Carla Gerke
Hazel Holmes
Molly Ryde
4:07.5   Australia
Evelyn de Lacy
Pat Norton
Valerie George


All events were for men only.

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Bantamweight   Ted Purcell (AUS)   Vernon Blake (CAN)   Ray Cazaux (ENG)
Featherweight   Roy Purchase (AUS)   Larry Clarke (CAN)   Joe Genet (NZL)
Lightweight   Dick Garrard (AUS)   Vernon Thomas (NZL)   Alfred Harding (SAF)
Welterweight   Tom Trevaskis (AUS)   Felix Stander (SAF)   Jeremiah Podjursky (NZL)
Middleweight   Terry Evans (CAN)   Peter Sheasby (SAF)   Leslie Jeffers (ENG)
Light heavyweight   Eddie Scarf (AUS)   Sidney Greenspan (SAF)   Thomas Ward (SCO)
Heavyweight   Jack Knight (AUS)   Jim Dryden (NZL)   John Whelan (CAN)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sydney 1938". Commonwealth Games Federation. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  2. ^ "British Empire Games in Sydney 80 years ago was Australia's first major international event". insidethegames.biz. 21 January 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  3. ^ "1938 Sydney Empire Games – History of Australian Rowing". rowinghistory-aus.info. Archived from the original on 5 March 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
British Empire Games
III British Empire Games
Succeeded by