Bill Barwick

Ernest William (Bill) Barwick MBE (190597), athlete, was born in Cleveland, and in 1933 held every Tasmanian distance record from 800 yards to 15 miles. He specialised in the mile, and at the 1932 national championships in Melbourne, despite being seasick all the way across Bass Strait, set a new national record of 4 minutes 14.4 seconds. He gained a place in Australia's Olympic squad, the first Tasmanian runner to compete at that level, but in Los Angeles injured his Achilles tendon, and only came sixth in his heat.

Back in Tasmania, in 1933 Barwick tried to break the world two-mile record, watched by a crowd of 11,000, but wet weather made the track too heavy. Barwick did break the Australian record. He retired in 1934, and played a major part in athletics administration.

Further reading: B Barwick with M Bingham, Out of the blocks, Hobart, 1995; D Young, Sporting Island, Hobart, 2005.

Alison Alexander and David Young