The games were organized by Hamilton Spectator sportswriter Bobby Robinson after he attended the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam as manager of the Canadian track and field team and was inspired to create a similar event for the British Empire. After campaigning for the idea among contacts he met at the Olympics, he was asked to organise the first British Empire Games in Hamilton.
The events included athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming, and wrestling. Women competed only in aquatic events. The opening ceremonies and many events were held at Civic Stadium (later renamed Ivor Wynne Stadium) in east Hamilton.
The games were opened by the Governor General of Canada, Lord Willingdon on 16 August. Canadian triple jumper Gordon Smallacombe won the first ever gold medal in the history of the Games a few hours later.
|I British Empire Games|
|Opening ceremony||16 August|
|Closing ceremony||23 August|
|Officially opened by||Lord Willingdon|
|Athlete's Oath||Percy Williams|
There were 11 teams participating in these first British Empire Games:
|Totals (9 nations)||59||57||49||165|
Notable venues include:
| British Empire Games
I British Empire Games
At the 1930 British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, there were two aquatics disciplines – swimming and diving. There were four diving events contested and eleven swimming events. The aquatics programme included the only women's events of the games.
These events were held at the Municipal Pool (now the Jimmy Thompson Memorial Pool), which was built specifically for these games. At that time, it was the best competition pool in the British Empire.Athletics at the 1930 British Empire Games
At the 1930 British Empire Games, the athletics events were held at the Civic Stadium in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The programme featured 21 men's events, with all measurements being done in imperial units.
England came away with the most medals in the athletics competition, winning nine gold medals and twenty-five medals overall. The hosts, Canada, were the next most successful and won 19 medals altogether, six of which were gold. South Africa were the other nation to take away a large athletics medal haul, having three golds and ten medals in total. Eight nations featured on the medal tally at the first British Empire Games.
South African Harry Hart was highly successful in the throwing events and he came away from the games as the champion in the shot put and discus throw, as well as being the javelin throw bronze medallist. David Burghley took a hurdles double for England, winning both the 110-yard and 440-yard races. Reg Thomas won the mile run and was the 880 yards silver medallist. John Fitzpatrick of Canada won a medal of each colour in the sprinting events, winning his gold with the Canadian 4×100 metres relay team. Englishman Reg Revans won silver medals in the horizontal jumps, while Canadian Len Hutton won long jump gold, but only a bronze in the triple jump. Johannes Viljoen of South Africa showed his versatility by winning the high jump and reaching the podium in the long jump as well.Athletics at the 1930 British Empire Games – Men's 100 yards
The Men's 100-yard dash at the 1930 British Empire Games as part of the athletics programme was held at the Civic Stadium.
The event was competed over 3 heats and a final.Australia at the 1930 British Empire Games
Australia at the 1930 British Empire Games was represented by a handful of athletes and abbreviated AUS.
Australia was one of only eleven countries to be represented at these inaugural Games.
At these first Games, Australia won only eight medals against England's 61. The Australians' return home was delayed because the RMS Tahiti on which they were due to travel sank during the Games.Billy Savidan
John William Savidan (23 May 1902 – 8 November 1991), nicknamed "Billy", "Bill" or "Jack" and born in Auckland, was a New Zealand long distance runner from 1926.
At the 1930 British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario he won the six mile race with a time of 30:49.6 mins, despite stopping over the finish line after what he thought was the last lap and being told that there was a lap to go. The official had inadvertently turned over two discs instead of one. He beat Ernie Harper from England. In the three mile race (equivalent to 5000 meters) he did not finish.
At the 1932 Summer Olympics at Los Angeles he finished fourth in both the 5000 metre event and the 10000 metre competition.
He did not compete in the national championships in 1935 and 1936 as he was working as a stonemason and could not spend the necessary time training, but competed against two Japanese runners who were visiting New Zealand in 1937. Like Malcolm Champion before him he was then for some years Custodian at Auckland's Tepid Baths.Boxing at the 1930 British Empire Games
At the 1930 British Empire Games, the boxing competition was held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and featured contests in eight weight classes.British Guiana at the 1930 British Empire Games
British Guiana at the 1930 British Empire Games was represented by a total of seven athletes.
British Guiana was one of only eleven countries to be represented at the inaugural Games. At these first Games, British Guiana won two medals.Canada at the 1930 British Empire Games
Canada at the 1930 British Empire Games was abbreviated CAN.
Canada was the host country for the inaugural games, which were held at Hamilton, Ontario, and was one of only eleven countries to be represented at the inaugural Games.
Melville Marks (Bobby) Robinson of Canada had been asked to organise the inaugural British Empire Games in 1928.
At these first Games, Canada won 54 medals against England's 61.
Newfoundland competed separately at the 1930 British Empire Games, but did not win any medals. Newfoundland also sent a team to the 1934 British Empire Games, but from 1938 has competed as part of Canada.Doreen Cooper
Mary Doreen Cooper-Wright (30 December 1907 – August 2003) was an English swimmer who competed in the 1930 British Empire Games, where she won a gold medal alongside Olive Joynes, Phyllis Harding, and her younger sister Joyce in the 4x100 yard freestyle relay. Outside of sports she worked as a textile designer and was involved in local politics in Buckinghamshire. Recorded in the form of a diary, her letters to her husband, who went missing while serving in World War II, were published in 2012.Ellen King
Ellen Elizabeth King (16 January 1909 – February 1994) was a Scottish competitive swimmer who represented Great Britain twice in the Olympics, and Scotland at the inaugural British Empire Games. King was a versatile swimmer, and competed in various backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle swimming events.
As a 15-year-old at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, although ill, she competed in the semifinals of the 100-metre backstroke and finished with the seventh best time overall. At 15, she was the youngest member of the British team.Four years later at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, King won two silver medals. She won the first medal as a member of the British women's team in the 4×100-metre freestyle relay, together with her teammates Joyce Cooper, Cissie Stewart and Iris Tanner, coming second behind the American women. In individual competition, she won her second silver in the 100-metre backstroke, finishing second behind Dutch swimmer Marie Braun and ahead of British teammate Joyce Cooper. King had set a new world record in her semifinal heat, only to have it broken by Braun in her own qualifying heat.
In the late 1920s King set the world records in the 150-yard and 220-yard breaststroke.At the inaugural 1930 British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, she won a silver medal in the 100-yard freestyle and a bronze medal in the 200-yard breaststroke. As a member of the Scottish relay team with Jean McDowell, Cissie Stewart, and Jessie McVey, she won her second bronze medal in the 4×100-yard freestyle competition.Ellen King attended James Gillespie's High School, swam for the Warrender Baths Club in Scotland and was a swimming teacher at Edinburgh schools for 40 years until her retirement in 1974. In 2002, she was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.England at the 1930 British Empire Games
England competed at the 1930 British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, from 16 August to 23 August 1930.The athletes that competed are listed below.Ireland at the British Empire Games
Representation of the island of Ireland at the British Empire Games (now the Commonwealth Games) has varied:
At the first games in 1930, a single team represented the entire island.
Irish athletes competed at the 1934 games though the affiliations of several of these to either Northern Ireland or the Irish Free State are unclear.
Since the 1938 games, there has been a Northern Ireland team only.Joyce Cooper
Margaret Joyce Cooper (18 April 1909 – 22 July 2002), later known by her married name Joyce Badcock, was an English competitive swimmer who represented Great Britain at the Olympics and European championships, and England at the British Empire Games, during the late 1920s and early 1930s.
At the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, she won a silver medal in the 4×100-metre freestyle relay, and a pair of bronze medals in the 100-metre freestyle and 100-metre backstroke events. In the 100-metre freestyle she finished together with Jean McDowell, but the judges gave the bronze medal to Cooper in a 3–2 vote.
Cooper also won one gold, four silver and one bronze medals at the 1927 and 1931 European championships, and, while representing England, four gold medals at the 1930 British Empire Games.
When Los Angeles hosted the 1932 Summer Olympics, she won a bronze in the women's 4×100-metre freestyle relay. In individual competition, she was fourth in the 400-metre freestyle, and sixth in the 100-metre backstroke.
Cooper was born in the British island colony of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where her father owned a tea plantation. In 1934 she married British Olympic rowing champion John Badcock. Their son Felix won a bronze medal in rowing at the 1958 British Empire Games.Lawn bowls at the 1930 British Empire Games
At the 1930 British Empire Games, the lawn bowls competition featured three events for men: a singles, pairs, and a fours contest. The event was held at Gage Park.New Zealand at the 1930 British Empire Games
New Zealand at the 1930 British Empire Games was represented by a team of 22 competitors and three officials. Team selection for the Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was the responsibility of the New Zealand Olympic and British Empire Games Association. New Zealand's flagbearer at the opening ceremony was Stan Lay.
These were the first British Empire Games, although in 1911 there was an Empire sports competition at the Festival of Empire in London. New Zealand has competed in every games since.Olive Wadham
Olive Louise Wadham (née Joynes, 23 March 1909 – October 2004) was an English freestyle swimmer who competed for Great Britain in the 1936 Summer Olympics.
She was born in Christchurch, Hampshire and died in Bournemouth.
In 1936 she was a member of the British relay team which finished sixth in the 4×100 metre freestyle relay event. In the 100 metre freestyle competition she was eliminated in the semifinals.
At the 1930 British Empire Games she won the gold medal with the English team in the 4×100 yards freestyle relay event.Rowing at the 1930 British Empire Games
At the 1930 British Empire Games, the rowing competition featured five events for men only. In the double sculls event, only Canada was represented, so the organisers simply invited a couple of crews from the United States to provide some opposition.Wilfrid Tatham
Wilfrid Tatham (12 December 1898 – 26 July 1978) was a British hurdler. He competed in the men's 400 metres hurdles at the 1924 Summer Olympics. Tatham was fourth in the 440 yard hurdles at the 1930 British Empire Games.Wrestling at the 1930 British Empire Games
At the 1930 British Empire Games, the wrestling competition featured men's contests in seven weight classes.