Australian Women's Register

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    Decima Norman, Jean Coleman and Eileen Wearne win all three medals in the 220 yard sprint for Australia, Empire Games, Sydney, 11 February 1938, by Sam Hood, 1872-1953
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Wearne, Eileen (1912 - 2007)

Born
1912
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died
2007
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Commonwealth or Empire Games Gold Medalist, Olympian and Track and Field Athlete
Alternative Names
  • Wearne, Alice Eileen (birth name)

Summary

Eileen Wearne became the second woman to represent Australia in atletics at the Olympic Games when she competed in the 100 meter sprint at Los Angeles in 1932. Unfortunately, she did not compete at her best in Los Angeles; she finished fourth in her heat in the time of 12.5 seconds which meant that she did not make the finals. On her return to Sydney, however, she continued to compete and won state and Australian titles throughout the 1930s. She and the first woman to represent Australia in athletics at the Olympic Games, Edith Robinson, enjoyed a healthy rivalry. In 1938, she represented Australia at the British Empire Games where she won a gold medal in the 4 X 100 yard relay and a bronze medal in the 200 meter sprint.

An extremely attractive young woman, so much so that, whilst in Los Angeles, she caught the eye of the U.S.media. In an article entitled 'Future Weissmullers, Beautiful Amazons Keenly watched by Scurrying Studio Scouts', a journalist noted that 'scouts from the picture camps have been roving the practice fields ever since the first boatload of athletes was unloaded.' One of those at training who they noticed was 'Eileen Wearne of Australia' who had ' a beautiful figure, a great deal of poise and a nice voice.' Wearne's looks, according to her teammates, were ' proof that athletic competition does not detract from the beauty or femininity of women.'

Wearne retired from athletics in 1940 but remained involved in the Olympic movement. She was an active member of the New South Wales Olympian Club and loved attending reunion lunches.

Details

Events

1931
Winner of the first triathlon championship in New South Wales
1932
Competed at Los Angeles
1932
Set the national record of 11.2 seconds over 100 yards
1938
Gold Medalist at Sydney Empire Games - Athletics - 440y Medley Relay

Sources used to compile this entry: Eileen Wearne - photographs and papers mainly concerning the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, c. 1920 - c. 2002, PXA 998; R 941; Wearne, Eileen (1912 - 2007); Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales; Harriet Veitch, 'Athlete Blazed a Trail for Women', Sydney Morning Herald, July 12, 2007.

Related entries

Related Events

  • Sydney Empire Games (1938)

    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

Related Women

  • Mealing, Philomena (1912 - 2002)

    Bonnie Mealing and Eileen Wearne were members of the team that competed at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games

  • Norman, Decima (1909 - 1983)

    Eileen Wearne and Decima Norman competed against each other in national championships and at the British Empire Games in 1938. They were both members of the 440y relay team that won gold at the games.

  • Robinson, Edith (1906 - 2000)

    Edith Robinson and Eileen Wearne were athletic rivals in the 1930s.

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Eileen Wearne - photographs and papers mainly concerning the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, c. 1920 - c. 2002, PXA 998; R 941; Wearne, Eileen (1912 - 2007); Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

Digital resources

Title
Eileen Wearne and an unknown athlete
Type
Image
Date
1932?

Details

Title
Decima Norman, Jean Coleman and Eileen Wearne win all three medals in the 220 yard sprint for Australia, Empire Games, Sydney
Type
Image
Date
11 February 1938
Creator
Sam Hood, 1872-1953

Details

Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

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

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