Australian identity, the press and major international sporting events : a study of two Olympic and two Commonwealth Games held in Australia since 1956

Rachel Payne, Edith Cowan University


This thesis explores links between perceptions of Australian identity and the national press reporting of two Olympic and two Commonwealth Games staged in Australia: the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games, and the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. When Australia plays host to the world or Commonwealth of Nations it is the press' role to communicate to Australians and international visitors how Australia and its people are seen, and where Australia positions itself in global or Commonwealth contexts. The assumption guiding this study is that during these major international sporting events Australia's newspapers depicted athletes and Games rituals, such as opening and closing ceremonies, in ways that conveyed a sense of national identity and consciousness. The newspaper is selected as the main medium for analysis because written reports consistently provided substantial coverage of each of the selected Games.