Compiled for OzSportsHistory by Brian Membrey
Melbourne's bid for the 1956 Games effectively commenced in January, 1948 with an invitation cabled to the International Olympic Council by the "Melbourne Invitation Committee', comprising Sir Winston Dugan, the Victorian Governor; Mr Thomas Hollway, Premier; Sir Frank Beaurepaire, president of the Victorian Olympic Council; and Sir Raymond Connelly, Lord Mayor of Melbourne.
(Somewhat sadly, three of the four never lived to see the Opening Cemetery -
The message, over Sir Raymond Connelly's signature, impressed on the Committee that finance for the organization and conduct of the Games had been assured by the City of Melbourne and the State of Victoria.
It was noted at the time that a great deal of construction work would be required, and that the Melbourne Cricket Ground was unlikely to be used, first as it was grassed, whereas most Olympic nations competed on cinder tracks, and secondly, the ground sloped down some seven feet towards the south-
The Invitation Committee was supported by a "publicity fund", which hoped to raise £20,000 for the purposes; Connelly justified the bid by saying Melbourne would be lifted out of doldrums if it was selected … "At the moment Melbourne as a city had nothing to offer the tourist apart from one or two decent hotels. A transformation of civic thought, such as the Games would bring about, was needed to make Melbourne world minded”.
Although there was nothing in the announcement to suggest where the main stadium would located, the committee did present preliminary drawings of the stadium and swimming pool
With the perfect vision always associated with hindsight, perhaps the Invitation Committee lacked an essential ingredient – the participation of those involved in amateur athletics on a regular basis, and it was probably the concerns of the latter group (as well as the anticipated cost) that saw the Invitation Committee's original suggestion of the Melbourne Showgrounds ultimately abandoned.
Despite the announcement of the Games bid, nothing happened on the Olympic Park stadium scheme -
With the acute housing shortage and perhaps with a subconscious commitment to the Showgrounds, the new premier Thomas Hollway adopted a "chicken or egg" stance : "No decision on the building of a new Olympic stadium at Olympic Park will be made by the Government until it is known whether the 1956 Olympic Games are to be held in Melbourne."
The Showgrounds Plan
In September, 1946 as part of its bid for the introduction of night trotting, the Royal Agricultural Society announced its plan for "a huge stadium" at the Showgrounds, not only for trotting, but for athletic sports "and even the Olympic Games" at a cost of £250,000. Most of the alterations detailed were for the track itself (at the time, nothing more than a parade ring for the annual Show), but there were suggestions of a double-
After more than 12 months of lobbying, Melbourne was awarded the right to host the 1956 Olympic Games on 29 April, 1949 at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee held in Rome .
It was far from a clear-
The latter certainly proved to be the case -
The four ballots progressively eliminated contenders -
In round 2, Mexico City's prospects took a belting, their nine first round votes for some reason collapsing to just three and "adios, amigo". Melbourne 18, Buenos Aries 12, L.A. four and Detroit make up the final four.
Preliminary finals in round three and the remaining two American cities go by the board, Los Angeles 5 and Detroit 4 overwhelmed by Melbourne 19 and Buenos Aires 13.
Needing a majority vote of 21 to secure the Games, the Melbourne team must have thought they were home-
|The Official Programme of Events|
|The Games And The Players|
|The Fine Arts Festival|
|The Main Stadium Debate|
|The Playgrounds of Melbourne >>|
|And Those That Weren't >>|
|The Impossible Dream?|
|... Comes True|
|1954 : The Invitations|
|No Courses For Horses|
|Our First Equestrian Team|
|Blood In The Water|
|The Closing Ceremony|
|A Letter That Changed The Games|
|Heidelberg - The Village >>|
|... and Welcome to Television!|
|Day 1, Thursday, November 22|
|Day 2, Friday, November 23|
|Day 3, Saturday, November 24|
|Day 4, Monday, November 26|
|Day 5, Tuesday, November 27|
|Day 6, Wednesday, November 28|
|Day 7, Thursday, November 29|
|Day 8, Friday, November 30|
|Day 9, Saturday, December 1|
|Day 10, Monday, December 3|
|Day 11, Tuesday, December 4|
|Day 12, Wednesday, December 5|
|Day 13, Thursday, December 6|
|Day 14, Friday, December 7|
|Day 15, Saturday, December 8|
|The M.C.G. (Main Stadium)|
|The Olympic Park Complex|
|West Melbourne Stadium|
|The Exhibition Buildings|
|St. Kilda Town Hall|
|Port Phillip Bay|
|Oaklands Hunt Club|
|The Road Runners|
|Shooting in the West|
|The Beaurepaire Centre|
|Manningham Reserve, Parkville|
|And Others ...|
|A City Within the Village|
|Hungary vs Russia|
|Ballarat : The Forgotten Village|