Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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  • From Lady Denman to Katy Gallagher: A Century of Women's Contributions to Canberra
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Saxby, Kerry (1961 - )


2 June 1961
Young, New South Wales
Race walker and Track and Field Athlete
Alternative Names
  • Junna-Saxby, Kerry (married name)


Kerry Saxby became the most prolific world-record breaker in athletic history in Melbourne in February 1991 when she set a new record of 11 minutes 51.26 seconds in the 3 kilometer walk event. This took her number of world bests to thirty, which was one better than the previous mark, created by the distance runner Paavo Nurmi. Her world records have been established across a range of distances and venues, sometimes at mixed competitions. Saxby regularly trained with and competed against men and believes this contributed to her success. In the decade of competition when she was at her peak, she never finished outside the top five, and was only disqualified for losing foot contact with the track once.

Saxby's sporting achievements include representing Australia 24 times in major international competitions. She won 13 individual international medals, won a record 27 Australian National Championships, set 32 world records or world bests, and at 38 years of age she was the oldest athlete to win a medal at world level in 1999. She retired from competition in 2001, but not before achieving a very creditable 7th place in the 20 kilometer walk at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. In 2006, the Australian Institute of Sport selected her as one of their twenty-five 'Best of the Best'.


Kerry Saxby was born in young NSW in 1961 and moved to Ballina in northern New South Wales when she was thirteen. Initially a swimmer and middle distance running, Kerry changed to walking in 1981 competing with the Ballina Athletic Club. She won a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport in 1986 and was a scholarship holder until September 2001 when she retired from athletics.

Saxby has lived in Canberra since 1986, when she first moved there. She married Ray Junna, an assistant coach for soccer at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Since her retirement, Kerry has coached junior walkers in the Australian Capital Territory. In 2004 she became a director of the Bendigo Bank in Canberra.


Goodwill Games Gold Medallist
World Athletic Championships Silver Medallist
Conferation of Australian Sports Sports Person of the Year
1987 - 1989
Australian Institute of Sport Sports Person of the Year Ward
World Indoor Championships Gold Medallist
World Walking Cup Silver Medallist
ABC Sports person of the Year
1989 - 1990
Conferation of Australian Sports Sports Person of the Year
1989 - 1990
Australian Sports Person of the Year
1989 - 1990
New South Wales Sports Person of the year
Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist
Goodwill Games Silver Medallist
Gold Medalist at Auckland Commonwealth Games - Athletics - 10km Road Walk
World Indoor Championships Silver Medallist
Order of Australia - General Division
World Indoor Championships Bronze Medallist
Gold Medalist at Victoria Commonwealth Games - Athletics - 10km Walk
Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist
Set the world record of 20:03.00 for the 5000 meter race work. The record still stands (2007)
Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist
World Athletic Championships Bronze Medallist
Australian Institute of Sport - 'Best of the Best' award recipient

Sources used to compile this entry: From Lady Denman to Katy Gallagher: A Century of Women's Contributions to Canberra, Australian Women's Archives Project, February 2013,; Kerry Saxby File, 1986 - 2001; Newspaper Cutting Files; National Sport Information Centre; Vamplew, Vray; Moore, Katharine; O'Hara, John; Cashman, Richard; Jobling, Ian (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Australian Sport, Revised Second edn, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1997; 'Australian Insititute of Sport (AS) payes tribute to Kerry Saxby-Junna following announcement of retirement, Australian Institute of Sport Website', [accessed 2007-01-04].

Archival resources

National Sport Information Centre

  • Kerry Saxby File, 1986 - 2001; Newspaper Cutting Files; National Sport Information Centre. Details

Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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