Australian Jews and Sport
Australian Jews and Sport
Australians have featured in Australian sporting history over the years, as swimmers, boxers, runners or footballers. There are Jewish Sports associations such as , Maccabean Sports and many participate in the international Maccabean games. Sadly, these games came to public attention in the Maccabean bridge trajedy of 1997, when a bridge collapsed while athletes were marching over it and fell into the Yarkon River in Israel. Several Australians lost their lives or suffered horrific injuries. However, tragedies aside, Australian Jews have an interesting sports' record.
Myer Rosenblum achieved fame as a sportsman and was a hammer thrower at the 1938 Empire Games. He was an Arts-Law graduate of Sydney University, and a triple Blue in Rugby, Tennis and Athletics. He was fluent in five languages, an accomplished pianist and had a good tongue for reciting poetry. He continued to play tennis into old age. In 1928 Myer was completing a course at the Conservatorium of Music. On one occasion he was selected to play the contra basson as a solo in an orchestra performance of the Sorcerers' Apprentice, at the Conservatorium at the same time he was to be leading his rugby team to the oval at St George. The problem was resolved by the Orchestra conductor restructuring the selection, by starting with Myer's solo, allowing him to dash from the stage to Hurstville to lead his side onto the field. He also was skilled with the hammer and shot putt, continuing to represent the University in Athletics throughout the thirties. In 1932 Myer won the Australian title in the hammer at Adelaide. In 1938 he competed in the Empire Games in Sydney, retiring from active competition in hammer throwing in favaur of a short 'stint' of coaching. This lasted for forty years in which time he coached many state champions.
Myer was born in South Africa in 1907 to Russian parents. They immigrated to Australia in 1914, living in Marrickville and became involved in building the Western Suburbs Synagogue at Newtown. His sister Sarah and himself won scholarships to Fort Street Girls' and Fort Street Boys' Schools and later to the University of Sydney. His son Rupert Rosenblum, also a solicitor and in practice with his father, was an Australian university star and a Wallaby international- the first father and son to represent Australia in rugby. In December 1985 the Sydney University Sports Union established the Rosenblum Family Award, presented annually to a member of the Union who has contributed towards sport at the university. At the time it was established, Myer had been associated with Sydney University sport for 60 years.
In 1959, the former Prime Minister John Howard worked in Myer Rosenblum's office in Elizabeth Street as an articled clerk for six pounds a week.