Fraser, Dawn, (AC, AO, MBE) (1937-)

Also known as
Fraser, Dawn (1937-)
Field of activity
Swimmers; Olympic athletes; Politicians; Legislators; Swimmer; Swimming Coach; Olympian; Parliamentarian; Commonwealth or Empire Games gold medalist
Libraries Australia
http://nla.gov.au/anbd.aut-an35105989
NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-472833

Biographies

Swimming champion Dawn Fraser is an iconic figure in Australian sporting history. A exceptional sportswoman with a larrikin streak, over the course of her swimming career, she won eight Olympic and eight Commonwealth medals. In October 1962 Dawn Fraser became the first woman to swim the 100 metres in less than a minute. She had to wait until after her retirement to see this record broken, and even then, it took eight years. Dawn Fraser was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) on June 8, 1988. Her citation read, "For service to the community, particularly as a sports consultant and administrator, and through organisations for people with disabilities, and to the environment." Dawn Fraser also had a short political career. She was elected as an independent MLA for the seat of Balmain, New South Wales, in 1988. The seat was abolished in a redistribution prior to the next election. She ran, unsuccessfully, for the new seat of Port Jackson in 1991.

The youngest of eight children, Dawn Fraser began swimming seriously at 16 and was coached by Harry Gallagher. Aged 19, she entered the 1956 Olympic Games held in Melbourne. She won a gold medal in the 110 yards (now 100 metres) freestyle setting a new world and Olympic Games record. Dawn Fraser won the same event at the 1960 Rome Olympics and 1964 Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first swimmer to win the same event in three consecutive games.

In 1965 Fraser retired from swimming, when the Australian Swimming Union placed her under a 10 year ban. She had always had a love-hate relationship with officials during her career. Things came to a head when, at the Tokyo Games, she marched in the opening ceremony against their wishes, wore an old swimsuit (which angered sponsors) because it was more comfortable, and it was alleged she climbed a flagpole in Emperor Hirohito's palace, taking the Olympic flag (later proved false). The ban was lifted four years later.

Fraser then became a publican, swimming coach and in 1988 became a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the New South Wales seat of Balmain. In 1961 Dawn Fraser received the Helms Award (later World Trophy) and was awarded the ABC Sportsman of the Year Award in 1962 and 1964.

Dawn Fraser was named Australian of the Year in 1964 and voted Australia's greatest female athlete in 1988.She was named Australian Female Athlete of the Century by the Sport Australian Hall of Fame as well as the World's Greatest Living Female Water Sports Champion by the International Olympic Committee in 1999. Also she is the recipient of the Australian Sports Medal on 14 July 2000 and The Order of the British Empire - Member (Civil) (MBE) on 1 January 1967 for services to sport.

Dawn Fraser was an Olympic Torchbearer for the Opening Ceremony at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. In the same year she was the recipient of the Paul Harris Fellowship Medal from Rotary.

100 metres freestyle - gold medal 400 metres freestyle - silver medal 4 x 100 metres freestyle relay - gold medal

110 yards freestyle - gold medal 4 x 110 yards freestyle relay - gold medal

100 metres freestyle - gold medal

110 yards freestyle - gold medal 440 yards freestyle - gold medal 4 x 110 yards freestyle relay - gold medal 4 x 110 yards medley relay - gold medal

100 metres freestyle - gold medal

110 yards freestyle: 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964 220 yards freestyle: 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964 440 yards freestyle: 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964 110 yards butterfly: 1960, 1962 220 yards medley: 1959 4 x 110 freestyle relay: 1957, 1958, 1959, 1964 4 x 110 yards medley relay: 1955, 1964

  • Silver Medalist at the Melbourne Olympic Games - Swimming - 400m freestyle
  • Gold Medalist at the Melbourne Olympic Games - Swimming - 100m Freestyle and Member of the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay Team
  • Gold Medalist at Cardiff Empire and Commonwealth Games - Swimming - 110y freestyle, 4 x 110y Freestyle Relay
  • Silver Medalist at the Rome Olympic Games - Swimming - Member of the 4 x 100m Freestyle and Medlay Relay teams
  • Gold Medalist at the Rome Olympic Games - Swimming - 100m Freestyle
  • Gold Medalist at Perth Empire and Commonwealth Games - Swimming - 110y freestyle, 440y freestyle, 4 x 110y Freestyle Relay, 4 x 110y Medley Relay
  • Silver Medalist at the Tokyo Olympic Games - Swimming - Member of the 4 x 100m Freestyle relay team
  • Gold Medalist at the Tokyo Olympic Games - Swimming - 100m Freestyle
  • Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

Related people and organisations

Australian Women's Register

Libraries Australia

Resources for Dawn Fraser

Selected resources (11)

Australian Women's Register

  1. Fraser, Dawn
    Published: National Foundation for Australian Women
    Series: IspartOf The Australian Women's Register
  2. The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia
    Smart, Judith and Swain, Shurlee (eds.)
    [2014]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
  3. Outstanding Women in Australia: Women in Sport
    Rolton, Gloria
    [South Melbourne (Vic.)]
    Published: Macmillan Education Australia
  4. 101 Australian Sporting Heroes
    Andrews, Malcolm
    [Frenchs Forest (NSW)]
    Published: Child & Associates
  5. The Champions: Australia's Sporting Greats
    Smith, Terry
    [North Ryde (NSW)]
    Published: Angus & Robertson
  6. Putting Skirts on the Sacred Benches: Women Candidates for the New South Wales Parliament
    Australian Women's Archives Project
    [2006]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
  7. Faith, Hope and Charity Australian Women and Imperial Honours: 1901-1989
    Australian Women's Archives Project
    [2003]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
  8. She's Game: Women Making Australian Sporting History
    Australian Women's Archives Project
    [2007]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
  9. Who's Who in Australia 2002
    Herd, Margaret
    [Melbourne]
    Published: Crown Content
  10. Australia at the Olympics
    Andrews, Malcolm
    [Sydney]
    Published: ABC Books
  11. Great Australian Women in Sport
    Brasch, Nicolas
    [Port Melbourne (Vic.)]
    Published: Heinemann

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