25th August 2017

the begining


Organised athletics began in Essendon in 1897. Immediately Essendon Harriers developed into one of the strong clubs, winning a Victorian championship event most years. Two of the greatest Australian champions of the first decade of last century were Essendon athletes. ‘Dad’ Wheatley was the country’s topmiler and half miler, becoming our first Olympian. Another Essendon athlete, Alex Stilwell was the champion cross country runner winning many 5 and 10 mile titles.

In 1910 the major newspaper of the day wrote “as expected, Essendon asserted its authority and is probably the best cross country club in the country.” Also in 1910 the only two Vi ctorians selected for the forerunner of the Commonwealth Games in London were from Essendon.
The club ceased activities during World War I and rebuilt slowly. From 1927 the club became a section of the Essendon Club, training at Windy Hill with cricketers and footballers for 41 years. During these years, and since, the club competes in track or cross-coun try competitions most weeks of the year. To the Essendon public, for those 41 years, the club was mainly
known for the annual half time race at a home Essendon football match.
Aberfeldie track opened in 1972. Six years later Essendon merged with East Melbourne Harriers, a club established in 1895, bringing an outstanding coach, sprinting strength and a rebirth of enthusiasm. Immediately Essendon-EMH was winning A-grade premierships and was again among the strongest men’s clubs in Victoria.
A later merger, with the predominantly women’s Essendon-Aberfeldie in 1993, contributed to making Essendon the strongest and largest athletic club in Victoria as measured by championship results and membership.
When three Essendon athletes competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the club had been represented every two years in Olympics or Commonwealth Games for 28 consecutive major Games.


An interesting development this century has been the growth of coaching strength at Essendon. There is a squad of more than a dozen coaches at Essendon, many of whom have been selected to coach on National teams. This extraordinary coaching team ensures that Essendon should continue to develop outstanding athletes for the foreseeable future.


1906 Gregory Wheatley 800 & 1,500
1964 Gary Holdsworth 100, 200 & 4x100
1968 Peter Norman 200 metre (silver medal)
1968 Greg Lewis 200 metres
1972 Lawrie D’Arcy 100 metres (representing NZ)
1976 Don Hanly 400m hurdles
1980 John Higham 800 m (withdrew - political protest)
1980 Petra Rivers Javelin
1984 Petra Rivers Javelin
1984 Bruce Frayne 400m & 4x400
1984 Andrew Jachno 50 km walk
1988 Andrew Jachno 20 km walk & 50 km walk
1992 Andrew Jachno 20 km walk
1996 Mark Ladbrook 400m & 4x400
1996 Margaret Crowley 1,500 metres
1996 Dion Russell 20 km walk
2000 Margaret Crowley 1,500 metres
2000 Dion Russell 20 km walk & 50 km walk
2000 Anne Cross 5,000 metres
2000 Casey Vincent 400 metres
2004 Casey Vincent 400 metres
2004 Sarah Jamieson 1,500 metres
2004 Adam Basil 4x100m relay
2004 Sarah Jamieson 1,500 metres
2008 Chris Erickson 20km walk
2012 Chris Erickson 50km walk
2016 Chris Erickson 50km walk
2016 Liam Adams Marathon
2016 Linden Hall 1,500 metres
2020 Liam Adams Marathon
2020 Linden Hall 1,500 metres


2012 Michelle Errichiello 100 metres T42
2020 Maria Strong Shot Put F33 (bronze medal)