War and sport

War and Sport

War and sport

Courage, teamwork, leadership, mateship and loyalty, are all fundamental parts of both the sporting and serving communities -- qualities that have defined Australia’s identity over time.

Western Front map

The Centenary of ANZAC provides an opportunity to tell remarkable stories of the importance of sport to Australians serving overseas, as well as the war-time experiences of some of most loved sporting stars.

Sporting images were used to recruit during World War One through a series of posters.

Talented sportsmen and women put up their hands to serve their country in war, many falling casualty to a battlefield far from home.  Over the last 100 years, Australia lost many great athletes.

These conflicts caused serious disruption to professional sporting organisations in Australia and around the world. War single handedly caused the Olympics to be cancelled three times, the only times ever since the commencement of the Olympics in 1896.

World War One was devastating for Tasmanians, their families and communities, with 2,432 Tasmanians losing their life. Some of Tasmania’s top sportsmen and women played an important role in Tasmania’s military history.

The Centenary of ANZAC commemorative program provides an opportunity to reflect on how Tasmanian communities coped with life during wartime and the impact wars had.

Through the Centenary of ANZAC website you may view stories about some of Tasmania’s top sportsmen and women who have played an important role in Tasmania’s military history.

The Centenary of ANZAC also welcomes Tasmanian sporting bodies to conduct research and plan events around their respective fields, especially on how particular sports have contributed to Tasmania’s rich military history. Share your research and stories so the stories do not get lost.

Sport inspired war posters

Tasmanian created posters with sporting theme for World War One recruitment.

Stuart Crosby Walch

Stuart Walch is the only Tasmanian to appear on the Battle of Britain Honour Roll in Westminster Abbey, London. Before going aboard he enjoy football, cricket and rowing.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hazell Elliott

Major Charles Elliott was a courageous soldier and active sportsman and contributed to many sporting organisations in Tasmania.

Three-legged fun

Sport and novelty races are fun. Tasmanian nurse Sister Barbara Ingram competed in the three-legged race while serving in New Guinea in World War Two.

Frederick House

Fred House was a talented rower and the State amateur middleweight champion in 1909.

William Keith Eltham

Cricketer William Keith Eltham has a sports pavilion named in his honour.

Jim Pugh

Sprinter and footballer, Jim Pugh, captained the 1914 Northern Tasmanian Football Association premiership team and his enlistment papers, dated 1 March 1916, noted he was in very good physical condition with a pulse rate of 66 beats a minute. Jim Pugh trained with the 40th Battalion at the Claremont Camp but headed north to his home city of Launceston in May 1916 with other soldiers to play a football match.

Winners of the peacetime regatta

After the cessation of World War One, rowing clubs in England planned a peacetime regatta with races for amateur oarsmen of the Allied Armies. Two Tasmanian soldiers Sergeant Archibald Robb and Lieutenant Fred House were selected to row against top crews from nearly all the Allied nations in the Royal Henley Peace Regatta in England in 5 July 1919.

Captain Keith Heritage MC

Talented oarsman Keith Heritage was a member of the Australian crew that won the Grand Challenge Cup at the Royal Henley Regatta in 1912.

Archibald Robb

Archibald Robb was one of two Tasmanians selected to row against the top Allied rowers in the Royal Henley Peace Regatta in England in 1919.

Captain Cecil McVilly

Tasmania's first Olympian Cecil McVilly went to Europe and the Britain to compete in rowing in the years leading up to World War One.

Leigh Bishop

Leigh Bishop loved football and developed a passion for bowls after World War Two, and enjoyed a 65-year career as a pennant bowler.