Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Winter, Anthony William (1894–1955)

by Ian F. Jobling

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

Anthony William Winter (1894-1955), athlete, was born on 25 August 1894 at Brocklesby, New South Wales, second child of Anthony Winter, fettler, and his wife Sarah Ann, née Boyton, both native-born. Known as 'Nick', he attended the local public school and worked as a labourer before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 31 July 1915. He embarked for Egypt with reinforcements for the 7th Light Horse Regiment in October and was posted to the Australian Army Service Corps as a driver in January 1916; arriving in France in June, he was employed mainly in depot duties. His A.I.F. appointment ended soon after he returned to Australia in June 1919.

Next December Winter became a fireman under the Board of Fire Commissioners of New South Wales and was later stationed at Manly. On 2 July 1921 he married Minnie Pearl Josland at the Methodist Church, Helensburgh. Tall and slender, with blue eyes and a dark complexion, he was muscular, ambidextrous and double-jointed. He loved any sport which required 'nerve, skill, speed, stamina, strength and determination', and played football, cricket, tennis and golf. He also enjoyed wrestling, single tug-of-war and cycling backwards, but the leaping events were his forte. As a member of Botany Harriers, and then of South Sydney and Western Suburbs amateur athletic clubs, he competed successfully in the high jump and hurdles, but excelled in the running hop, step and jump (triple jump). At the Dunn Shield competition in December 1919 he had set a new Australasian record of 47 ft 7 ins (14.5 m) and by 1924 held the Australasian record of 49 ft 8½ ins (15.15 m).

In the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris Winter realized his 'life's ambition' when he cleared 15.525 metres (50 ft. 11¼ ins.), setting a new Olympic record and breaking the world record which had stood since 1911. Described as a 'devil-may-care Australian', he was given an enthusiastic reception on coming home to Sydney with fellow gold medallists Andrew Charlton and Richmond Eve. After a special trial, in 1928 Winter was included in the team for the Amsterdam Olympic Games, but did not qualify for the final of the triple jump. In January 1930 he won the event at the national championships in Sydney, clearing only 47 ft. 3 ins. (14.4 m); he took second place in 1932, shortly before retiring from competition.

Having practised on the fire station's billiard-table, Winter became a skilled '200-break' player. He was 'more interested in setting himself challenges than in playing the orthodox game', but finished runner-up in the State championships in July 1927. He revelled in trick shots; even Walter Lindrum could not execute one of Nick's massé strokes. Leaving the fire service in December 1927, Winter ran a billiard-saloon in George Street, while conducting a hairdressing and tobacconist business. In the 1940s he managed a billiard-room in Pitt Street and later worked as a clerk. A heavy drinker for several years, he died from carbon monoxide poisoning at his Pagewood home on or about 6 May 1955; the coroner returned an open finding. Survived by his wife, son and daughter, Winter was cremated with Anglican rites.

Select Bibliography

  • A. Ricketts, Walter Lindrum (Canb, 1982)
  • G. Lester, Australians at the Olympics (Syd, 1984)
  • Amateur Athletics Association of New South Wales, 100 Years of the NSW AAA (Syd, 1987)
  • R. and M. Howell, Aussie Gold (Brisb, 1988)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 1919, 14 July 1924, 28 July 1927, 27 Apr 1928, 28 Jan 1930, 8 May, 11 June, 2 July 1955
  • Sporting Globe, 7 May, 16 July 1924
  • Referee (Sydney), 16 July, 8 Oct 1924
  • Sydney Mail, 8 Oct 1924
  • Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 3 Aug 1928
  • private information.

Citation details

Ian F. Jobling, 'Winter, Anthony William (1894–1955)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 24 March 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

View the front pages for Volume 12

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