1936 Olympic Team Civic Reception

Over the years, Adelaide has hosted many events to celebrate the spirit of the Olympic Games. The recent celebration in Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga held on 1st September 2016 welcomed home our heroes from Rio with a crowd of hundreds recognising the successes, hard work and determination of the Australian athletes.

On the 25th of May 1936 the Adelaide Town Hall opened its majestic doors to welcome the 1936 Australian Olympic Team.  The team comprised of just 32 competitors, 28 men and 4 women from across the country who passed through Adelaide on their way to 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

At the reception the Lord Mayor, Jonathan Robert Cain praised the team saying that they would have a ‘marvellous time and that the German people would give them a great reception.’ He was sure they ‘would comport themselves as true Australians and that they would bring honour to Australia’ and ‘come back loaded with honours, and satisfied that Australia was the best Country in the world.’

Alderman Bendall echoed the Lord Mayor’s patriotic praise ‘he knew the team would win with becoming modesty and, if they met defeat, would lose like gentlemen.’

At the reception, the team manager made an assurance to ‘uphold the prestige of the former Australian Olympic Games teams, and that the team would maintain the high percentage of wins recorded in past Olympiads’.

Unfortunately the team secured only the one medal, a bronze by Jack Metcalfe in the Triple Jump.

Within the photograph of the Olympic Team taken at the Civic reception are three of the   four female Athletes who took part in the 1936 Olympic Games, including Doris Carter (seated on left) who was Australia’s first female track and field athlete to make an Olympic final. She was placed an equal 5th in high jump at the games.  

The Lord Mayor also welcomed the New Zealand Olympic Team who were travelling on board the RMS Mongolia with the Australian team. 

The lengthy 37 day voyage for the two Olympic Teams ended in Marseille in the South of France, the team then travelled by train to Paris, Cologne and finally Berlin.


Photo thanks to the National Library of Australia