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de la Hunty, Shirley Barbara (1925 - 2004)

AO, MBE, 2001 Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Born
18 July 1925
Guildford, Western Australia, Australia
Died
17 February 2004
Western Australia, Australia
Occupation
Commonwealth or Empire Games Gold Medalist, Track and Field Athlete, Athletics coach, Teacher, Lecturer and Olympian
Alternative Names
  • Strickland, Shirley (maiden name, 18 July 1925 - 1950)

Summary

Champion sprinter and hurdler, Shirley Strickland (as she was then known), became the first Australian female to win an Olympic medal in a track and field event at the London Olympic Games in 1948.

Shirley de la Hunty was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) on 26 January 2001 for service to the community, particularly in the areas of conservation, the environment and local government, and to athletics as an athlete, coach and administrator. She had been appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire (Civil) (MBE) for services to athletics on 1 January 1957.

Details

Shirley Strickland studied nuclear physics, completed an honours degree and became a science teacher. In 1948 she won the Australian sprint and hurdles titles. Later that year she represented Australia at the London Olympic Games and became the first Australian female athlete to win a track and field medal. The champion sprinter and hurdler took part in three Olympic Games (1948, 1952 and 1956) and was the winner of three gold, one silver and three bronze medals. She also set world records and won three gold medals and two silver medals at Empire (later Commonwealth) Games.

In 1950 Shirley Strickland married Lawrence Edmund de la Hunty and they had four children. In 1960 she was selected for the Rome Olympics but did not compete due to her third pregnancy.

After retiring as a competitor Shirley de la Hunty continued teaching at various Perth high schools and later became a university lecturer. She maintained her interest in sport by coaching athletes including Raelene Boyle, and was involved in athletics administration as manageress of the Australian women's team at the Mexico (1968) and Montreal (1976) Olympics.

Besides sport Shirley de la Hunty is interested in nature and conservation issues. She has featured on 'This is Your Life' and 'Australian Story'. A recipient of the Helm award (now World Trophy) and the Queen's medal, in 1995 she was elected to the Australian Sports Hall of Fame.

A Fellow of Edith Cowan University, Shirley de la Hunty won the Advance Australia Award in 1987. At the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Shirley de la Hunty was an Olympic Torchbearer along with Raelene Boyle, Betty Cuthbert, Dawn Fraser and Cathy Freeman.

1948 National Championships

80 metre hurdles

1948 London Olympic Games

4 x 100 metre relay - silver medal
100 metre sprint - bronze medal
80 metre hurdles - bronze medal

1950 National Championships

80 metre hurdles
440 yards sprint

1950 Auckland Empire Games

80 metre hurdles - gold medal
4 x 440 yards relay - gold medal
4 x 660 yards relay - gold medal
100 yards sprint - silver medal

1952 National Championships

80 metre hurdles
440 yards sprint

1952 Helsinki Olympic Games

80 metre hurdles - gold medal
100 metre sprint - bronze medal

1955 World University Games

100 metre sprint - gold medal
80 metres hurdles - gold medal
200 metre sprint - bronze medal

1956 National Championships

440 yards sprint

1956 Melbourne Olympic Games

80 metre hurdles - gold medal
4 x 100 metre relay - gold medal

1960 National Championships

4 x 110 yards relay

1962 National Championships

4 x 110 yards relay

Events

1948
Silver Medalist at the London Olympic Games - Athletics - 4 x 100m relay
1948
Bronze Medalist at the London Olympic Games - Athletics - 80m Hurdles and 100m sprint
1950
Gold Medalist at Auckland Empire Games - Athletics - 80m Hurdles; 440y medley relay; 660y medley relay
1952
Gold Medalist at the Helsinki Olympic Games - Athletics - 80m Hurdles
1952
Bronze Medalist at the Helsinki Olympic Games - Athletics - 100m sprint
1956
Gold Medalist at the Melbourne Olympic Games - Athletics - 80m Hurdles and 4 x 100m Relay
2001
Inducted onto Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Sources used to compile this entry: Arnold, John and Morris, Deirdre (eds), Monash Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Australia, Reed Reference Publishing, Port Melbourne (Vic.), 1994, 568 pp; Herd, Margaret (ed.), Who's Who in Australia 2002, 38 edn, Crown Content, Melbourne, 2002, 2020 pp; Rolton, Gloria, Outstanding Women in Australia: Women in Sport, Macmillan Education Australia, South Melbourne (Vic.), 1997, 48 pp.

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Site-wide information and acknowledgements

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