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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  • She's Game: Women Making Australian Sporting History

Sydney Empire Games (1938)

5 February 1938
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
12 February 1938
Sports Event


The Sydney Empire Games were planned to form part of the celebrations for the sesquicentenary of the foundation of the City of Sydney, which also marked 150 years of white settlement in Australia. The celebrations went for three months between January 26 (Australia Day) and April 25 (ANZAC Day). The Games were held during the week of 5-12 February.

98 Australian men (68) and women (30) competed with athletes from fifteen Empire countries in seven sports (athletics, boxing, cycling, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming (including diving) and wrestling. Women could only compete in two of those categories (athletics and swimming). Of the 16 medals won by Australians in the pool, women won 9. Of the 29 won on the track, they won 10, 5 of them gold medals to Decima Norman. She was the unrivalled star of the games.

Related entries

Related Women

  • Norman, Decima (1909 - 1983)

    Decima Norman won five gold medals at the Empire Games held in Sydney in 1938.

    Date: 1938

  • Wearne, Eileen (1912 - 2007)

    Eileen Wearne competed in the 1938 Empire Games in Sydney. She came third in the 220y (behind Decima Norman and Jean Coleman) and was a member of the gold medal winning 440 yards medley relay team.

    Date: 1938

Nikki Henningham

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