Henry ‘Bobby’ Pearce (rowing) carried the Australian flag at the opening ceremony of the 1930 British Empire Games in Hamilton, becoming Australia’s first Commonwealth Games flag bearer. A three-time world champion sculler, Pearce won gold medals in the 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games. At the first British Games in 1930, Pearce was Australia’s only competitor in rowing (Australia only competed in athletics, boxing, rowing and swimming) where he won gold in the single sculls. Along with Noel Ryan who won two gold medals in swimming, the pair were our first Games gold medallists. Pearce was unemployed during the Great Depression and was only able to enter the Games due to the charity of friends who raised funds for his trip. After the Hamilton Games, whisky magnate Lord Dewar offered Pearce a job as a salesman and he stayed in Canada. During World War II, Pearce joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve and trained new recruits. He became a Canadian citizen in 1972. Pearce was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1952, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985. Bobby Pearce died in Toronto in May 1976 aged 70.
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