III British Empire Games
Host citySydney, Australia
Opening5 February 1938
Closing12 February 1938
Opened byJohn Loder, 2nd Baron Wakehurst
Main venueSydney Cricket Ground
← II
IV →

The 1938 British Empire Games was the third British Empire Games, the event that evolved to become the Commonwealth Games. Held in Sydney, Australia from 5–12 February 1938, they were timed to coincide with Sydney's sesqui-centenary (150 years since the foundation of British settlement in Australia). Venues included the Sydney Cricket Ground (the main stadium), the Sydney Sports Ground, North Sydney Olympic Pool and Henson Park. An estimated 40,000 people attended the opening ceremony. A competitors' residential village was established within the grounds of the Sydney Showground.[1][2]

The star of the games was the Australian athlete Decima Norman, who won five gold medals in track and field. Margaret Dovey, later married to Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, finished sixth in the 220 yards breaststroke.

Due to the onset of World War II, the games were not held again until 1950.

Participating teams

Countries that participated

Medals by country

  *   Host nation (Australia)

1 Australia (AUS)*25192266
2 England (ENG)15151040
3 Canada (CAN)13161544
4 South Africa (SAF)1010626
5 New Zealand (NZL)571325
6 Wales (WAL)2103
7 Ceylon (CEY)1001
8 Scotland (SCO)0235
9 British Guiana (BGU)0101
10 Southern Rhodesia (SRH)0022
Totals (10 entries)717171213

Medals by event


Main article: Athletics at the 1938 British Empire Games


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Flyweight South Africa Johnny Joubert (SAF)  Joe Gagnon (CAN)  Hugh Cameron (SCO)
Bantamweight  William Butler (ENG) South Africa Hendrik Knoesen (SAF)  Jack Dillon (AUS)
Featherweight British Ceylon Barney Henricus (CEY)  James Watson (SCO)  Kenneth Moran (NZL)
Lightweight  Harry Groves (ENG)  Harry Hurst (CAN) Southern Rhodesia William Fulton (RHO)
Welterweight  Bill Smith (AUS)  Arthur Heeney (NZL) Southern Rhodesia Andrew Tsirindonis (RHO)
Middleweight  Denis Reardon (WAL)  Maurice Dennis (ENG)  Rex Carey (CAN)
Light heavyweight South Africa Nick Wolmarans (SAF)  Cecil Overell (AUS)  Joseph Wilby (ENG)
Heavyweight  Thomas Osborne (CAN) South Africa Claude Sterley (SAF)  Leslie Harley (AUS)



Event Gold Silver Bronze
Time Trial  Bob Porter (AUS) 1:15.2  Tasman Johnson (AUS) 1:15.7  Ernest Mills (ENG) 1:15.9
Sprint 1000 yd  Dunc Gray (AUS)  Bob Porter (AUS)  George Giles (NZL)
10-mile Scratch  William Maxfield (ENG) 24:44.0  Ray Hicks (ENG) South Africa Syd Rose (SAF)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Road Race South Africa Hennie Binneman (SAF) 2'53:29.6  John Brown (NZL) s.t.  Ray Jones (ENG) s.t.


Men's events

Event Gold Silver Bronze
3 m springboard  Ron Masters (AUS) 126.36  Doug Tomalin (ENG) 124.78  George Athans (CAN) 117.90
10 m platform  Doug Tomalin (ENG) 108.74  Ron Masters (AUS) 102.87  George Athans (CAN) 98.93

Women's events

Event Gold Silver Bronze
3 m springboard  Irene Donnett (AUS) 91.18  Lynda Adams (CAN) 88.27  Marie Sharkey (CAN) 81.66
10 m platform  Lurline Hook (AUS) 36.47  Lynda Adams (CAN) 36.39  Irene Donnett (AUS) 34.57

Lawn bowls

Main article: Lawn Bowls at the 1938 British Empire Games


All events were for men only. The double sculls competition was an invitation event and originally no medals were awarded nevertheless these medals were counted nowadays. The bronze medal is listed as won by New Zealand.

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Single sculls  Herb Turner (AUS) 8:24  Peter Jackson (ENG)  Robert Smith (NZL)
Double sculls  Cecil Pearce
and William Bradley (AUS)
7:29.4  Jack Offer
and Dick Offer (ENG)
 Gus Jackson
and Robert Smith (NZL)
Coxed four  Australia
Don Fraser
Gordon Freeth
Harry Kerr
Jack Fisher
Stewart Elder
7:16.8  New Zealand
Albert Hope
George Burns
John Rigby
Ken Boswell
Jim Clayton
+1.25 lgths  Canada
Donald Davis
James Temple
James MacDonald
Kenneth Jaggard
Max Winkler
+0.75 lgths
Eights  England
Basil Beazley
Desmond Kingsford
John Sturrock
John Burrough
John Turnbull
Peter Jackson
Rhodes Hambridge
J. Tim Turner
William Reeve (cox)
6:29  Australia
Joe Gould
Alfred Gregory
Ted Bromley
Frank le Souef
Gordon Yewers
Richard Paramor
William Godfrey Thomas[3]
Bill Dixon
Doug Bowden
+0.75 lgths  New Zealand
Gus Jackson
Cyril Stiles
Rangi Thompson
Howard Benge
John Charters
Les Pithie
Oswald Denison
James Gould
William Stodart
+2 lgths


Men's events

Event Gold Silver Bronze
110 yd freestyle  Bob Pirie (CAN) 59.6 South Africa Terry Collard (SAF) 60.8  William Fleming (AUS) 61.0
440 yd freestyle  Bob Pirie (CAN) 4:54.6  Bob Leivers (ENG) 4:55.4  Robin Biddulph (AUS) 4:55.5
1650 yd freestyle  Bob Leivers (ENG) 19:46.4  Bob Pirie (CAN) 19:59.2  Norman Wainwright (ENG) 20:17.4
110 yd backstroke  Percy Oliver (AUS) 01:07.9  Gordon Kerr (CAN) 1:09.0  Micky Taylor (ENG) 1:09.3
220 yd breaststroke  John Davies (ENG) 2:51.9 British Guiana Walter Spence (BGU) 3:00.5  Jimmy Prentice (CAN) 3:00.8
4×220 yd freestyle relay  England
Frederick Dove
Mostyn Ffrench-Williams
Norman Wainwright
Bob Leivers
9:19.0  Canada
George Burleigh
Gordon Devlin
Robert Hooper
Bob Pirie
9:20.2  Australia
Robert Wilshire
Noel Ryan
Robin Biddulph
William Fleming
3×110 yd medley relay  England
Frederick Dove
John Davies
Micky Taylor
3:28.2  Canada
Gordon Kerr
Jimmy Prentice
Bob Pirie
3:30.5  Australia
Ernest Hobbs
Percy Oliver
William Fleming

Women's events

Event Gold Silver Bronze
110 yd freestyle  Evelyn de Lacy (AUS) 1:10.1  Dorothy Green (AUS) 1:11.1  Dorothy Lyon (CAN) 1:12.1
440 yd freestyle  Dorothy Green (AUS) 5:39.7  Margaret Jeffery (ENG) 5:40.2  Mona Leydon (NZL) 5:42.0
110 yd backstroke  Pat Norton (AUS) 1:19.5  Jeanne Greenland (WAL) 1:22.5  Margot Hamilton (SCO) 1:23.2
220 yd breaststroke  Doris Storey (ENG) 3:06.3 South Africa Carla Gerke (SAF) 3:12.1  Joan Langdon (CAN) 3:22.2
4×110 yd freestyle relay  Canada
Noel Oxenbury
Dorothy Lyon
Mary Baggaley
Phyllis Dewar
4:48.3  Australia
Dorothy Green
Evelyn de Lacy
Margaret Rawson
Pat Norton
4:49.0  England
Edna Hughes
Joyce Harrowby
Margery Hinton
Zilpha Grant
3×110 yd medley relay  England
Doris Storey
Lorna Frampton
Margery Hinton
3:57.7  South Africa
Carla Gerke
Hazel Holmes
Molly Ryde
4:07.5  Australia
Evelyn de Lacy
Pat Norton
Valerie George


All events were for men only.

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Bantamweight  Ted Purcell (AUS)  Vernon Blake (CAN)  Ray Cazaux (ENG)
Featherweight  Roy Purchase (AUS)  Larry Clarke (CAN)  Joe Genet (NZL)
Lightweight  Dick Garrard (AUS)  Vernon Thomas (NZL) South Africa Alfred Harding (SAF)
Welterweight  Tom Trevaskis (AUS) South Africa Felix Stander (SAF)  Jerry Podjursky (NZL)
Middleweight  Terry Evans (CAN) South Africa Peter Sheasby (SAF)  Leslie Jeffers (ENG)
Light heavyweight  Eddie Scarf (AUS) South Africa Sidney Greenspan (SAF)  Thomas Ward (SCO)
Heavyweight  Jack Knight (AUS)  Jim Dryden (NZL)  John Whelan (CAN)

See also


  1. ^ "Sydney 1938". Commonwealth Games Federation. Archived from the original on 7 April 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  2. ^ "British Empire Games in Sydney 80 years ago was Australia's first major international event". insidethegames.biz. 21 January 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  3. ^ "1938 Sydney Empire Games – History of Australian Rowing". rowinghistory-aus.info. Archived from the original on 5 March 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
Preceded by
British Empire Games
III British Empire Games
Succeeded by