Apartheid in sport

The third RG Neale Lecture was delivered by Professor Richard Cashman of the School of Leisure, Sport and Tourism at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), on Australia’s role in the apartheid sports boycott.

The lecture was given at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra on 30 October 2008, before an audience that included academics, former and current Department of Foreign Affairs officials and members of Professor Neale's family.

Records release

To coincide with the lecture, the National Archives released digital copies of nearly 100 records of the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1977. Among these records are files from the Australian Embassy in South Africa (Pretoria) which reveal the political positions of Australia and South Africa on apartheid in sport throughout the 1970s.

More information is available about records relating to Australia’s policy on apartheid in sport:

Australia and the issue of apartheid in sport

About this presentation

In June 1977, Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in London. The most significant outcome of the meeting was the Gleneagles Agreement which was drafted by a five-nation team at a retreat in Gleneagles Scotland.

Professor Cashman’s presentation discusses the key role played by Australia in the implementation of the apartheid sports boycott. Australia was the only white Commonwealth nation to fully accept and implement CHOGM and United Nations’ resolutions on sporting relations with South Africa.

Richard Cashman biographical note

Photograph of Richard Cashman

Before joining the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 2004, Richard Cashman was Director of the Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Associate Professor, School of History, UNSW from 1972 to 2004. He was Visiting International Chair, Olympic Studies at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain in 2002. 

He is co-editor of Staging the Olympics: The Event and its Impact (UNSW Press, 1999). He has also produced monographs on the Green Games, Local Impacts, and Aboriginal People and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Professor Cashman has written extensively on sport in Australia and Asia and was editor of both the Oxford Companion to Australian Sport and General Editor of the Oxford Companion to Australian Cricket. He is the author of two histories of Australian sport, Paradise of Sport (1995) and Sport in the National Imagination (2003) and was President of the Australian Society for Sports History from 2001 to 2004.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017