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Photographs supplied by Heather Stevens

The monument over the grave, erected by public subscription, commemorates the "Champion Swimmer of the World", Bernard Kieran (1886 - 1905). 

Bernard Kieran`s brilliant swimming career began in 1904 when swimming for the Sobraon Club he finished four times a close second to the champion Dick Cavill and beat him in the Australasian 880 yards and mile championships in record time. Coached by Robert Robertson Craig, by April 1905 Kieran had won six State and six Australasian freestyle titles, equalled F. C. V. Lane`s 220 yards freestyle world record and set `world` record times for 200, 300, 400, 500 and 1000 yards and mile, the last in the astonishing time of 23 minutes 16.8 seconds. At an international meeting in Sweden he won four events and set a world record for 500 metres.

On the 28th August 1904 at Leeds he defeated Billington for the 500 yards title in the world record time of 6 minutes, 7.2 seconds. In September he won the 220 yards title and his third English record medal, for the 300 yards. Kieran also gave diving displays and set new records in Scotland and Ireland in addition to `newspaper` records over unrecognized distances. His modesty and sportsmanship won him many admirers and on his return to Australia in November he was accorded a hero`s welcome. He died at 19 years of age after an appendix operation. 

In miserable weather the unveiling of the memorial erected to the memory of Bernard Bede Kieran late champion swimmer of the world, took place yesterday afternoon at the Gore Hill Cemetery, in the presence of a large gathering of representatives of the athletic bodies of the metropolis. The ceremony was performed by Sir Francis Suttor.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 20th August 1906.



Address:Pacific Highway , Catholic Old Section, Sect: E8, 34, Gore Hill Memorial Cemetery, St Leonards, 2065
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.824601
Long: 151.190238
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Designer:Mr Johnson (Gore Hill, NSW)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 19th August, 1906
Front Inscription

In loving memory of Bernard Bede Kieran
Died December 22, 1905 Aged 19 years.


Erected by the public as a tribute to the late champion swimmer of the world.

He won his laurels by courage, self denial and patient effort.

His achievements and manly qualities will long be remembered in this, and other countries in which his victories were gained.

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