The Australasian Athletics Championships was an athletics competition between male athletes principally from Australia and New Zealand that was held between 1893 and 1927. They were the precursor to the national Australian Athletics Championships, which replaced the competition from 1930 onwards.[1]

The competition emerged from an inter-colonial athletics event in 1890 between New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and New Zealand before becoming a formalised event. This marked a progression towards organised sports competition among the emerging colonial regions in the British Empire and occurred at the same time as the Sheffield Shield cricket developed into a formal regional tournament.[2][3] An Australasian Championships in tennis for the colonies was established in 1905 and would later become the Australian Open.[4]

During the same period, athletics organisers of the region began to cooperate more and the Amateur Athletic Union of Australasia (AAUA) was established in 1897.[3] This became the basis for the modern-day national federation, Athletics Australia, after New Zealand split in 1928.[5] Sports cooperation between Australia and New Zealand also resulted in a combined national team being sent as Australasia at the Olympics in 1908 and 1912.[6]

The main base of the athletics programme consisted of track and field events measured in imperial units. The first edition in 1893 featured ten track events and five field events for men. The track events were three sprints, two middle-distance races, a 3-mile long-distance race, two hurdling events, and two track walking events. On the field, there were high jump, long jump, pole vault, shot put and hammer throw. The programme remained in this format until 1922, when three new events were added (javelin throw, discus throw, and mile medley relay). A decathlon was held for three editions from 1924 onwards and a men's triple jump was contested in 1927 only.[1] A marathon event was included on the programme in 1909 and the prominence of the event marked the growing importance of the newly developed distance in the region.[7]

Among the winners during the competition's lifespan were three-time Olympic sprint athlete Stan Rowley, 1908 Olympic race walk medalist Harry Kerr, sprinter Nigel Barker and hurdler George William Smith.[1]


  Precursor inter-colonial competition
Ed. Year City Country No. of
1890 Sydney Australia 11
1st 1893 Melbourne Australia 15
2nd 1896 Christchurch New Zealand 15
3rd 1897 Sydney Australia 15
4th 1899 Brisbane Australia 15
5th 1901 Auckland New Zealand 15
6th 1904 Melbourne Australia 15
7th 1905 Sydney Australia 15
8th 1908 Hobart Australia 15
9th 1909 Brisbane Australia 16
10th 1911 Wellington New Zealand 15
11th 1914 Melbourne Australia 15
12th 1920 Sydney Australia 15
13th 1922 Adelaide Australia 18
14th 1924 Hobart Australia 19
15th 1926 Brisbane Australia 19
16th 1927 Wellington New Zealand 20


100 yards

220 yards

440 yards

880 yards

Mile run

Three miles

120 yards hurdles

440 yards hurdles

High jump

Pole vault

Long jump

Triple jump

Shot put

Discus throw

Hammer throw

Javelin throw


One mile walk

Three mile walk

One mile relay


  1. ^ a b c Australasian Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-07-29.
  2. ^ Nielsen, Erik (2014-06-13). Sport and the British World, 1900-1930: Amateurism and National Identity in Australasia and Beyond, pg. 41. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137398512. Retrieved on 2015-07-29.
  3. ^ a b Letters, Michael & Jobling, Ian (1996). Forgotten Links: Leonard Cuff and The Olympic Movement in Australasia, 1894-1905. Olympika, Volume V. Retrieved on 2015-07-29.
  4. ^ Inter-state Tennis Australasian Championship. The Age (1905-11-27). Retrieved on 2015-07-30.
  5. ^ About Athletics Australia. Athletics Australia. Retrieved on 2015-07-30.
  6. ^ Australasia. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2015-07-30.
  7. ^ Athletics Australasian Championships. New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVI, Issue 14145, 21 August 1909, Page 10. Retrieved on 2015-07-29.