Origins of the Commonwealth Games?

There was a bit of chatter around the bar on the weekend about the origin of the Commonwealth Games, and Australia's participation in the original competition.

One camp maintained that the CG's started as a fishing competition between a group of ex-pats. The other camp said this is rubbish, Wikipedia not withstanding.

Can anyone cast some light on this?

1 Answer

  • 6 years ago
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    A sporting competition bringing together the members of the British Empire was first proposed by Reverend Astley Cooper in 1891.

    It was proposed every four years as a means of increasing the goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire.

    In 1911, the 'Festival of Empire' was held in London to celebrate the coronation of King George V. As part of the festival, an Inter-Empire Championships was held in which teams from Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom competed in events such as boxing, wrestling, swimming and athletics. A trophy in the form of a silver cup, 2ft 6in high and weighing 340oz, the gift of Lord Lonsdale, was presented to the winning country, which was Canada.

    The first Games

    No further development took place until 1928, when the Olympic Games were in progress in Amsterdam. The splendid feelings of friendliness between the Empire athletes at that Olympiad revitalized the idea for the revival of Empire meetings.

    The first Commonwealth Games, known as the British Empire Games at the time, were held in Canada in 1930 in Hamilton, Ontario. 'Bobby' Robinson, who was a major player within athletics in Canada at the time, was the driving force behind the event. The first Games included 400 athletes from 11 countries. To help cover the traveling costs for the visiting nations, the City of Hamilton provided $30,000.

    The success of the first Games at Hamilton in 1930 provided enough incentive to make them regular. Since 1930, they have taken place every four years except for 1942 and 1946, when they were disrupted due to World War II. The Melbourne Games are the 16th to be held. From 1930 to 1950 the Games were known as the British Empire Games, then the name was changed to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games until 1962. From 1966 to 1974 they had the title of British Commonwealth Games and from 1978 onwards they have been known as simply the Commonwealth Games.

    A unique characteristic of the Commonwealth Games is being the only Games which share a common language. All athletes and officials can converse with each other in English, creating an atmosphere that has led to the Commonwealth Games being long known as the "Friendly Games".

    The info on the Commonwealth Games Federation site is not as detailed as on the topend sports site.

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