Saturday, 22 November 2014

Olympic Games Melbourne 1956

Thursday 22 November 1956 saw the opening of the Olympic Games in Melbourne. The games continued until 8 December. As a child sitting in one of the stands of the MCG watching the athletes from 67 countries march into the arena was a wonderful, colourful experience.
The Argus Friday 23 Nov 1956
Digitised copies of The Argus are now available on Trove so it is possible not only to read about the Olympic Games in Melbourne but also events leading up to the running of the games. 
The women in the Australian Team marching into the MCG

The men in the Australian Team marching into the MCG
 The organisation of a successful Olympic Games is a mammoth task and it took four years to organise the Melbourne Games. The Official Report of the Organising Committee for the Games of the XVI Olympiad Melbourne 1956 can now be viewed online. The report consists of more than 700 pages and includes reports of all the sub-committees as well as the main committee including the report of the Press and Publicity Sub-Committee pp138-160. This sub-committee was established in January 1954 and monthly meetings were held.

One of the members of the Press and Publicity Sub-Committee was Ken Moses, a sports journalist for The Argus newspaper, who had attended the London Olympic Games in 1948.
The main role of the committee was to ensure that suitable arrangements were in place for members of the international press who would be in Melbourne to report on the Games and also to ensure that they had information about what to expect when they were in Melbourne. The press attending the Melbourne Games would not only be from print organisations but also radio and the new communications media - television.
Ken Moses is seated in the front on the left side of the table
Articles were circulated to the overseas press, particularly in the United States, such as this article entitled Are you going to the Melbourne Games? A group of journalists travelled overseas in the year before the Olympic Games to publicise the Games and Melbourne. On 10 June Ken Moses, with Harry Gordon from the Sun News Pictorial,  left for California for five weeks to promote the Games and to also report to readers on the selection of American athletes who would be coming to Australia. Ken sent regular reports back to The Argus.

The day after the Opening Ceremony the following article - 'You - the man in the street - made it tick' - appeared in The Argus congratulating the people of Melbourne for their contribution to make this sporting event occur in their city.
In the run-up to the staging of the Olympic Games in Melbourne there were many challenges to overcome, however the Games themselves generally ran smoothly and by the end of the competition they were known as the friendly games.

Melbourne Olympics - State Library of Victoria

Melbourne Olympics Committee - Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Olympic Games - Australian Olympic Committee


  1. Ivanhoe Library has a small collection relating to the Melbourne Olympic Games as the village was located in Heidelberg West. Wikinorthia also has some articles and links at

  2. Pages 121-137 of the The Official Report of the Organising Committee for the Games of the XVI Olympiad Melbourne 1956 mentioned in the above blog post includes information about the Olympic Village at Heidelberg and the catering provided for the athletes.