Series VPRS 15162
Photographs and Presentation Documents [1956 Melbourne Olympics Photograph Collection]
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1949 - 1956
  Series in Custody 1949 - 1956
  Contents 1949 - 1956
Public Access: Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
Display entries per page
Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1949 - 1956 Organising Committee for the XVIth Olympiad Melbourne [1956] VA 4153
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
Display entries per page
Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
2002 - cont Department for Victorian Communities VA 4562
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Consult the Consignment Details List for this series and order in the units containing the photographs or other records of interest.

    Leaf through the photographs, volumes, or correspondence to locate the subjects of interest.

  • Function / Content
    This series consists of photographs of the venues to be used, architectural drawings and photographs of the Olympic Village to be constructed in Heidelberg, Melbourne, and a copy of the original presentation to the International Olympic Committee in Rome in 1949 on behalf of and in preparation for Melbourne hosting the 1956 Games. The records were collated by the Organising Committee for the XVIth Olympiad, Melbourne [1956] (VA 4153) in order to compile an archive of the preparation for the 1956 Olympic Games. Photographs were mostly labelled with a caption, at least one number, and were usually stamped as being an Australian Official Photograph. Photographers included Neil Murray, Jack Gallagher, and C. Bottomley.

    Once Melbourne was awarded the honour of hosting the games of the XVIth Olympiad in 1956, it was necessary to ensure that the venues to be used were able to cater for the expected number of spectators, as well as meeting Olympic Standards for the sports involved. Venues included Olympic Stadium (Melbourne Cricket Ground), Olympic Park (including the Olympic Swimming Pool), Velodrome, St Kilda Beach and Port Phillip Bay, the Glaciarium, the Exhibition Building, and the West Melbourne Stadium. It was also necessary to ensure that competitors and officials had access to appropriate housing during their stay in Melbourne. For this purpose, the Victorian Housing Commission constructed the Olympic Village in Heidelberg with a view to use the Village for permanent housing after the Games were finished.

    The Melbourne Cricket Ground was proposed to be the Olympic Stadium for the 1956 Olympic Games, which involved the wrecking of an existing stand and the creation of a new, triple deck steel and concrete stand in its place. This extended the crowd capacity from 90,000 to at least 110,000, making it the largest Olympic arena built (in 1956). The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) was to hold the opening and closing ceremonies, eight days of athletics, hockey and soccer finals, and the start and finish of the marathon and 50 kilometre walk events. The MCG's oval was one of the largest ever provided for an Olympiad being 4.9 acres in area. The stadium's lap track was to be 400 metres long with a 110 metre sprint on the north side. The track was to be 9.75 metres wide with 8 lanes on the straight and 7 lanes in the remainder of the track. Jumping and throwing runways, pits and throwing circles for field events, and soccer and hockey fields, were to be marked on the inside of the track. There were to be two circles each for hammer, discus and shot-put, and four runways for long jump and hop step and jump. The high jump was to be placed at the west end of the stadium to avoid jumping into the sun.

    Olympic Park was a modern sports centre, newly created for the 1956 Olympic Games. It contained the new Olympic Swimming Stadium, which was designed by four young architects and an engineer who were graduates of Melbourne University and winners of a nation-wide architectural competition conducted by the local Olympic authorities. Olympic Park was to hold the swimming, diving, water polo, cycling, and soccer and hockey events. The Olympic Swimming Stadium could accommodate 5,500 spectators, and was both heated and air conditioned.

    The Olympic Village was constructed in Heidelberg. It consisted of 788 houses and was intended to accommodate 6,000 athletes and officials. Facilities included three sports ovals, post offices, medial and dental centres, barber shop, and mending and shoe repair centres. Temporary dining rooms and kitchens were constructed to accommodate the athletes and officials during their stay as no cooking stoves or clothes boilers were installed in the houses at this time. Fences separating housing was also to be constructed after completion of the Games. All houses and flats contained electric lighting, power, modern bathrooms with a shower, bath and basin, and hot and cold running water. The Village was to be fully landscaped, and contain a feature at the entrance that would remain as a reminder of its connection to the 1956 Olympic Games. Plans for the Village were prepared by the Architect's Panel of the Victorian Housing Commission.

    Unit One contains a series of black and white photographs covering the use of Melbourne Cricket Ground as the main Olympic Stadium, aerial views showing the proximity of the city venues to each other, and an internal view of West Melbourne Stadium's boxing arena. It also contains some black and white photographs of the plan for the Olympic Village, photographs of the illustrations of the types of houses to be constructed, as well as photographs of construction taking place, and the finished housing.

    Unit Two contains a series of black and white photographs covering venues such as the Williamstown Riffle Range, Melbourne Town Hall, the Exhibition Building and Port Phillip Bay, with a particular focus on the Olympic Swimming Stadium. It also contains a series of photographs of people who would appear to be members of the Organising Committee, such as the Chairman of the Committee, Mr WS Kent Hughes, and the Organising Secretary Mr PW Nette. Most photographs depicting possible Organising Committee members are uncaptioned.

    Unit Three contains 3 separate items - a book of full colour architectural drawings and miniature plans called 'The Olympic Village, Melbourne; a bound copy of Melbourne's presentation to the Olympic Committee in Rome, 1949; and a series of documents related to the presentation to the International Olympic Committee in Rome in 1949 on behalf of Melbourne in order to be awarded the honour of hosting the games of the XVIth Olympiad. These consist of copies of the statements by Councillor the Honourable James S. Disney, Lord Mayor of Melbourne; H. G. Alderson, M.B.E, President, Australian Olympic Federation; Sir Norman Martin, Agent General for Victoria in London; and Sir Frank Beaurepaire, as well as correspondence relating to the Organising Committee obtaining a copy of the original presentation booklet, containing photographs of Melbourne and illustrating the benefits of hosting the games in Melbourne.

  • Recordkeeping System
    This series was previously known as Units 1-3 of VPRS 10742/P0 Olympic Games Organising Committee Photograph Collection.

    Photographs were assigned numbers which appear to be from three different numbering systems. One consists of an alpha prefix running number (e.g. L30261). The second appears to be an official Olympic Games set of numbers, and begin with the alpha prefix O.G. and a two-part numbering sequence (e.g. O.G. 1052/1). Photographs usually contain one of the above two number types as well as a running number in brackets (eg (153)). Photographs were not arranged according to these numbering systems, and more research is needed in order to determine the recordkeeping systems the numbers relate to.

    Photographs in unit one were arranged into two segments, the first dealing with the venues (primarily Olympic Stadium, otherwise known as the Melbourne Cricket Ground) and the second dealing with the construction of the Olympic Village in Heidelberg. Within each section, photographs were arranged in rough chronological order.

    Photographs in Unit two were arranged in two segments, the first dealing with the venues (primarily the new Olympic Swimming Stadium), and the second consisting of a series of photographic portraits of individuals and groups including the Chairman of the Olympic Organising Committee, Mr WS Kent Hughes signing the invitation to Greece and the Organising Secretary Mr P.W. Nelle with the Director General of Finnish Radio in Helsinki in 1952.

    Unit three contains two volumes and some correspondence. The correspondence was arranged chronologically, the architectural drawings by house type, and the presentation book into two main sections - written information and photographs.

More research resourcesMore research resources
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
Previous SeriesPrevious Series
Display entries per page
Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
Display entries per page
Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
Display entries per page
Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1949 - 1956 Open 3
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
More research resourcesMore research resources