In Search of Mina Wylie

Australians Fanny Durack (Olympic gold medal) and Mina Wylie (Olympic silver medal) in
Stockholm 1912
The first winners of Women’s Olympic Swimming medals: Australians Fanny Durack (Gold) and Mina Wylie (Silver) Stockholm 1912

Sunday 21 May, at The Women Library 4.30pm

Come and meet author Grace Barnes
There will be plenty of opportunity for Q&A
Free entry, all welcome

RSVP on the ticketing page.

In 1912, against a backdrop of growing feminist and national movements, the Australian public united behind a fundraising campaign to send two female swimmers to Stockholm to compete, for the first time, at an Olympic Games.  

Coogee resident Mina Wylie was one of those women, and after winning silver at the 1912 Olympics she went on to become one of Australia’s greatest swimmers. Her career coincided with a growing view of beach culture and swimming as essential to a unique Australian way of life, and Mina became a role model for the vigorous and healthy ‘Australian Girl’.  

Join author Grace Barnes for an insightful presentation about her latest work In Search of Mina Wylie, which takes an in-depth look at the life and legacy of Mina Wylie, who along with her friend and rival Fanny Durack, won the first ever swimming medals awarded to women at the Olympic Games.

Learn how these two remarkable Sydney swimmers typified the new modern woman as they travelled to Europe and the USA, maintaining an independent lifestyle and disregarding societal conventions, and became in the process two of the first female sporting celebrities.

Barnes’ extensive research and compelling storytelling offers an illuminating glimpse into the journey of Wylie and Durack as female athletes in the early 20th century. It tells the story of how they almost didn’t get to compete – at a time when one of the big discussions in Australia was whether women should be allowed to participate in events where male spectators were present, and a time when women in the USA were banned from national teams altogether.

Equally gripping is how Wylie and Durack tried to forge a swimming career, particularly in the USA, after the initial high of their famous Olympic and European successes.

Equally fascinating is the story of Mina Wylie’s carefully stored memorabilia and how author Grace Barnes set about re-discovering this remarkable woman. It emphasises the crucial role of finding and writing women’s stories and preventing their historical contributions from being overlooked or undervalued. 

See more about the book on the publisher’s website: Austin Macauley Publishers.