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Frank Beaurepaire
, c. 1924

by Bain News Service

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 17.7 cm x 12.8 cm, image: 14.4 cm x 8.9 cm)

Sir Francis Beaurepaire (1891–1956) won his first state swimming titles, aged fourteen, in 1906, and two years later, as the national champion in four events, was selected to compete at the Olympic Games in London. Beaurepaire won the English half-mile and mile championships in the lead up to the Games; and then won Olympic silver in the 400m and bronze in the 1500m, despite suffering from influenza. Having won further Australian championships in 1910, he returned to Europe for a season wherein he set four world records and won 41 races, including seven English titles. He was banned from competing at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics due to his job as a swimming instructor, but returned to win Olympic silver and bronze in the 1500m and 4 x 200m in Antwerp in 1920 and Paris in 1924. In 1920 he founded the Advanx Tyre Repair Company; in 1933 the Olympic Tyre and Rubber Company; and in 1953 Olympic Consolidated Industries. He was Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1940 to 1942, the year he was knighted. An active proponent of Learn to Swim classes, he gave £200,000 towards a sports centre at the University of Melbourne and contributed substantially to Melbourne’s successful bid to host the 1956 Olympic Games. He died unexpectedly in May 1956, six months before the Games opened.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2011
Accession number: 2011.117