This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996
This is a shared entry with Richmond Cavill Eve
Sydney James Wallace Eve (1899-1978), sports administrator, and Richmond Cavill Eve (1901-1970), Olympic diver and woolclasser, were born on 23 October 1899 and 19 March 1901 at Parramatta, New South Wales, eldest and second of three sons of Albert Sydney Eve, a native-born tobacconist, and his English-born wife Freda Maude, daughter of the 'professor of swimming' Frederick Cavill. Jim and Dick were educated respectively at Neutral Bay and at Manly commercial public schools; they were taught to swim and dive at an early age by their mother and both belonged to Manly Amateur Swimming Club. In 1915 they accompanied their parents to San Francisco, United States of America; Jim attended Alamada High School, outclassed Dick in their early diving competitions, and won junior swimming and diving championships at the Panama Pacific International Exposition. Back in Sydney by 1917, Jim became a clerk and later a company secretary; Dick studied woolclassing through Sydney Technical College in 1921.
From 1917 Jim held various honorary positions with the New South Wales Amateur Swimming Association and introduced marked lanes at the Domain Baths in 1924. Paying his own way, he accompanied the Australian Olympic team to Paris that year. While honorary secretary-treasurer (1924-47) of the Australian Olympic Federation, he managed the Australian team at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, U.S.A., and organized the teams for Amsterdam (1928) and Berlin (1936). He was foundation secretary (1929-69) of the Australian British Empire (and Commonwealth) Games Association, organizing secretary for the British Empire Games held in Sydney in 1938 and a member of the organizing committee for the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.
A keen golfer, Jim had founded Balgowlah Golf Club in 1926; he played regularly at Castle Hill and was full-time secretary of Oaklands Golf Club (1946-56) and of the State branch of the Professional Golfers' Association of Australia (from 1956). He was also a life member of the New South Wales Sports Club. In 1951 he was appointed M.B.E. Jim Eve remained a bachelor. He died on 24 August 1978 in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, and was cremated.
In diving, Dick Eve's efforts 'were marked by extreme grace, alertness, and crispness'. Although unbeaten in springboard championships in Australia from 1921, he was not expected to gain a medal at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris because of the lack of international competition in his own country. His perfect swallow dive won him the Olympic gold medal in the plain diving (high tower); his overall score was 13.5 points. Although he qualified for the final of the fancy diving (springboard) event, he was suffering from recurrent ear trouble and his performances were below form; he came fifth in the final round. Despite medical treatment, he had to withdraw from the fancy diving (high tower) event. He was blue eyed, 5 ft 4 ins (163 cm) tall and, like the Cavills, 'had a good, strong swimmer's physique with huge shoulders, a big chest and solid legs'.
In 1925 Dick won the Australian springboard championship for the fifth successive time. It was to be his last title. After he succeeded his father as manager of Manly Swimming Baths, his amateur status was questioned in November 1926 by the N.S.W.A.S.A. which deemed him to be a professional and not a government or council employee. The loss of his amateur status prevented him from being considered for the 1928 Olympic Games. Gravely disappointed at what he considered unfair treatment by Australia's aquatic officials, he never sought to be reinstated as an amateur, even when the ruling became less stringent.
On 12 March 1924 at St Barnabas's Anglican Church, Sydney, Dick Eve had married Florence Alice Maud Turner, a florist; they were to have a son and a daughter before he divorced her in 1933. He managed the Pavilion at Manly in the 1930s. At her Enfield home on 30 November 1936 he married with Presbyterian forms Iris White, a stenographer.
Enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 23 March 1942, Dick served as gunner in the Middle East. He returned to Sydney in February 1943 and was discharged medically unfit on 11 June. Following the war, he returned to woolclassing. He remained involved in aquatics for most of his life and reputedly taught the Olympian Murray Rose to swim. An examiner for the Royal Life Saving Society, Dick devised the 'Eve Rocker', a resuscitation device. He died of myocardial infarction on 13 March 1970 in Concord Repatriation General Hospital and was cremated; Olympic symbols adorn a plaque at Woronora cemetery commemorating him. His wife and their daughter survived him, as did the children of his first marriage.
Ian F. Jobling, 'Eve, Sydney James Wallace (Jim) (1899–1978)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/eve-sydney-james-wallace-jim-10133/text17891, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 20 January 2017.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996