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Sir Edgar Tanner Kt CBE ED

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Awarded Life Membership 4 June 1977

 

Birth: 10 August 1904, Albany WA

Death: 21 November 1979, Melbourne VIC (75 years)

Edgar Tanner was one of the most influential and significant sports administrators of his time.

Born in Western Australia, he grew up in Melbourne where he was school captain at All Saints Grammar in St Kilda, studied commerce at the University of Melbourne and worked in advertising at the Herald and Weekly Times.

Through his younger days he had a penchant for boxing, earning a Blue at Melbourne University for his pugilistic pursuits.

Fighting as a featherweight he lost only a handful of his hundred or so bouts and in the 1930s became secretary of the Victorian Amateur Boxing and Wrestling Federation. This led to his first involvement with the Commonwealth Games, managing the boxing and wrestling teams to the Sydney 1938 Empire Games.

Serving as a temporary captain in the Australian Imperial Force he was posted as an intelligence officer during World War II. Captured and imprisoned by the Japanese he was an enthusiastic organiser of running races within the camp.

Immediately upon his return to Melbourne in 1945, he immediately began organising an amateur boxing tournament.

Elected Victorian Olympic Council secretary-treasurer in 1946 he began a campaign for Melbourne to host the 1956 Olympic Games.  He was appointed Australian Olympic Federation secretary-treasurer in 1947. Upon Melbourne winning the right to host the Games, Edgar served as secretary of the organising committee.

A member of the Australian delegation to six Olympics, he also served as Chair of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association from 1974 to 1977 and returned to the team headquarters staff for the first time since 1938 to act as Team General Manager in Perth in 1962.

Whilst engaging in his passion for sport, he also found time to serve in the Victorian parliament, winning the seat of Ripponlea for the Liberal and Country Party in 1955, a seat he held, followed by Caulfield, until retiring from parliament in 1976.

The President of the Amateur Boxing Union of Australia (1959-1979) for his service to sport and the Melbourne Olympic Games he was awarded the Order of the British Empire – Commander (Civil) (Imperial) (CBE) in 1957, a Knight Bachelor (Imperial) in 1968 and Life membership of the Australian Olympic Federation.

The Sir Edgar Tanner Trophy is awarded annually for the best performed team at the Australian Boxing Championships.

Sir Edgar Tanner helping with the planning of the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games. (CGA Archive)