History of Edwin Flack

Berwick Little Athletics Centre is proud to call the Edwin Flack Reserve our home, a facility named in honor of a remarkable individual. Edwin Harold Flack, affectionately known as Teddy, left an indelible mark on the history of athletics and our local community.

Born on November 5th, 1873, in Islington, East London, Teddy Flack embarked on a transformative journey when he and his family relocated to Australia in 1878. His educational path led him to Melbourne Grammar School, where he studied from 1886 to 1892.

In 1896, Edwin Flack etched his name in history as he unexpectedly arrived in Athens for the inaugural modern-day Olympics. His charisma and exceptional athletic prowess captured the hearts of all who witnessed him in action, earning him the title “The Lion of Athens.” Flack’s participation was pivotal, as without him, Australia’s claim to being one of only two countries to have contested every Olympic Games would not exist.

Five years before Australia’s Federation and its flag, Flack achieved a historic feat by winning Gold Medals in both the 800m and 1500m events at the 1896 Olympics. To this day, he remains the only Australian male to accomplish this remarkable double in Track and Field Events at the Olympics.

Yet, Edwin Flack was not just a sports legend; he was also a prominent figure in the world of accounting. After leaving school in 1892, he joined his father’s accountancy partnership, Davey, Flack & Co., which later became Flack and Flack and is known today as PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Edwin Flack Room at one of their Melbourne sites, 215 Spring Street, stands as a testament to his lasting legacy.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Flack was a farmer, managing the scenic “Burnbank” property in Beaumont Road, Berwick, renowned for its top dairy herd. He was deeply involved in the Berwick community, supporting the local primary school and even showering the children with Christmas presents. Flack’s philanthropy extended to backing the Berwick K.S.P. Football Club, making him an integral part of the town’s fabric.

Sadly, Edwin Flack passed away on January 10th, 1935, at the age of 61, at Mount St. Evins Private Hospital, Victoria Parade, Fitzroy. His death followed a Prostatectomy Operation and was attributed to heart failure resulting from long-standing valvular heart disease. He was cremated at The Melbourne Crematorium in Fawkner, the only crematorium in Melbourne at the time.

Today, Edwin Flack’s ashes rest in peace at the Berwick Cemetery, Inglis Road, in the Church of England Section.

Edwin Flack’s Olympic Record in Athens 1896:

  • 800m Heat (April 6th): 1st place with a time of 2:10
  • 800m Final (April 8th): 1st place with a time of 2:11 (Gold Medalist)
  • 1500m Final (April 7th): 1st place with a time of 4:33.2 (Gold Medalist)
  • Marathon (April 9th): Did Not Finish (DNF)
  • Tennis (April 8th): Singles – Lost in the First Round
  • Tennis (April 8th): Doubles – Lost in the First Round

Edwin Flack’s incredible achievements continue to inspire and resonate with our community, embodying the spirit of dedication and excellence that we aim to foster in our young athletes at Berwick Little Athletics Centre.