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Jack DonaldsonPrint Page Print this page

26-November-2014
26-November-2014

Photographs supplied by Nancy Alford / Graeme Saunders

A fountain commemorates Jack Donaldson (1886-1933) a professional runner.

Donaldson was a professional sprinter in the early part of the 1900s. He held various world sprinting records ranging from 100 yards to 400 yards, some of which stood for many years.  In 1906, aged 20, Donaldson started as favourite in the Stawell Gift with a handicap of 11 yards, but was narrowly beaten by E W Thompson.

Donaldson was one of the rare professional athletes in the world at that time. With his stride of 8 ft 4 in and from his humble beginnings in Inglewood, he skyrocketed to world fame with six world records in distances from 100 yards to 400 yards. He travelled to London, New York and South Africa to compete in exhibition races. He was nicknamed the 'Blue Streak' due to his blue running singlet with a large white 'A'.

At Johannesburg, South Africa, on 12 February 1910, he established a world record of 9 3/8 seconds for the 100 yard dash. It was 38 years before American Mal Patton reduced that time.

He created yet another world record in beating an American opponent (Charles Holway) at the Sydney Sports Ground on 23 September 1911, a record that stood until 1951. The covering of 130 yards in 12 seconds is generally regarded as Donaldson's most notable performance.

The "Blue Streak," the late Jack Donaldson, generally conceded to be the fastest sprinter Australia has produced, and in his heyday, the world's fastest human, lies buried in a lonely little cemetery at Galilee, Pennsylvania, In the United States ot America, but sportsmen in Australia have made possible a fitting memorial to the former great athlete. As the result of an appeal launched for funds, £150 was raised, and the collection of that sum made possible the erection of a fine granite drinking fountain at Central Stawell Park (V.). lt is a fitting site, for it was the scene of Donaldson's debut in class company in 1906, and is now the venue for the greatest professional pedestrian carnival in Australia, and one of the biggest of its kind in the world. The memorial was unveiled recently by the Minister for Defence ( Brigadier  Street), who paid a tribute to Donaldson as athlete, sportsman, man, and soldier.
The Mercury (Hobart), 12th May 1939

Location

Address:Lower Main Street, Central Park, behind No. 1 Grandstand, Stawell, 3380
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.05796
Long: 142.77467
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Sport
Monument Manufacturer:Stawell Athletics Club
Link:http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/adbonli…

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 9th April, 1939
Front Inscription

To the memory of Jack Donaldson, world`s professional sprint champion runner, born Raywood (Vic.) 16th March 1886, died New York, USA, 31st August 1933

Unveiled by Brigadier G. Street MHR

9 April 1939

Source: MA,RUMV,VMR,ADB,RHSV
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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