Lithgow Flash Gift
Lithgow's Sporting Champions

The Lithgow region has been home to many sporting stars that have represented Australia at an Olympic or Commonwealth Games level. These athletes include:

Eli Matheson
Olympic Games: 2008

Eli made his Olympic debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as part of the Hockeyroo’s team. Eli started playing hockey at the age of 10, following his family into the sport. Eli made his first international team in 2001 in the under 21’s junior World Cup Qualifiers against New Zealand. In 2005 he was awarded a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport making his debut into the senior team in that year.

Eli has achieved success in the following illustrious success:

  • Bronze Medal – 2008 Beijing Olympics
  • Gold Medal – 2005 Aslan Shah Cup, Malaysia

Gemma Buchholz
Olympic Games: 2008, 2004

Gemma participates in the T52 classification (paraplegia affecting all four limbs and truck movement) for wheelchair sprints. Gemma has progressed from a promising junior athlete, setting several personal bests. Gemma trains in Queensland.

Gemma has received the following results:

  • Finalist at 2004 Olympic Games in both the 200 metres and 400 metres
  • Australian Championships, 2004 - 3rd place in 100 metres, 3rd place in 200 metres
  • IPC World Championships, 2006 – 4th place in 100 metres, 4th place in 200 metres
  • 2008 Beijing Paralympics – 8th place

David Palmer - Squash
Commonwealth Games: 2006 & 2002

David Palmer is Australia ’s leading squash player. A PSA professional since 1994, in 1997 he won four successive PSA Tour titles. He strode into the top ten in February 2000, claiming two PSA titles from six final appearances in 1999, seized the No. 3 ranking in May 2001 - beating world champion Peter Nicol – and went on to reaching the PSA Masters final in Egypt. He triumphed at the Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong and attained the World No. 1 ranking in September 2001.

David’s illustrious sporting career has seen him attain the following:

  • World Open Champion 2002
  • British Open Champion 2001, 2003, 2004
  • World No. 1 September 2001 – January 2002
  • Captain of Australia to World Teams Title 2001, 2003
  • Double Bronze Medallist – Commonwealth Games 2002
  • Winner of 16 PSA Tour Titles
  • President of PSA (2001 to 2002)

Joanne Banning - Hockey
Commonwealth Games: 2002

Making her debut for the Hockeyroos on the first tour of the 2001 season to Argentina , Joanne has represented Australia with the Hockeyroos at the 2002 and 2001 Champions Trophy and attained a Bronze Medal at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. Joanne is a fast and skilful striker with the ability to score goals.

Rick Timperi - Boxing
Olympic Games: 1996

Rick was born in Rome , Italy in 1967, and came to Australia (Hartley, near Lithgow) at the age of 4 with his parents and sister. Rick started boxing at the age of 10; however it wasn’t until he was 17 that he took the sport seriously.

Since then Rick has competed in over 150 bouts with an 85% success rate. His competitive nature and will to succeed saw him pursue an illustrious career in boxing, some of his highlights being:

  • Captain Boxing Team of the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
  • 1996 – Gold Medal in the Oceania Championships and Liverpool Multi- Nations England Presidents Cup.
  • 1995 – Won Australian Championships (Light Heavyweight 81kg Division).
  • 1994 selected as the male representative for the International Olympic Academy in Greece .
  • Ranked top 10 in the world Amateur Boxing in 1992 and 1996.
  • 1990 – 1996 Australian Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion.
  • Winner of 2 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze medals in international tournaments.

Rick retired after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Graham “Spike” Cheney - Boxing
Olympic Games: 1988

Spike began his boxing career aged 13 at the Lithgow PCYC under the guidance of boxing trainer John Bolt. By the time he was 18, Spike had fought 47 bouts, with an impressive 39 wins. The highlight of Spike’s career was his silver medal win at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Spike’s other boxing credits include:

  • Junior Champion
  • 1985 – NSW Lightweight Champion, Bronze Medal Oceania Games, Samoa Gold Medal.
  • 1986 – King’s Cup Bangkok
  • 1987 – Australian Light Welter Weight Title, Presidents Cup Jakarta , Pre Olympic Tournament Seoul , Silver Medal Olympic Games Seoul .
  • 1988 – Australian Welter Weight Title – Morocco , World Titles – Moscow
  • 1989 – Silver Medal Canada Cup, Oceania Games – New Zealand , Bronze Medal Commonwealth Games – New Zealand .

Terry Mason - Pentathlon, Weightlifting
Paralympic Games: 1974 & 1976

Terry Mason has completed in two Paralympics winning bronze medals in two different events. At the 1972 Heidelburg Games Terry participated in the Pentathlon and the 1976 Canada Games in weightlifting.

Terry was a keen sportsman from a young age playing football for local team St Patrick’s, hockey for Hornet’s and school athletics and swimming. After leaving school he began amateur wrestling.

Terry was injured at age 26, leaving him in a wheelchair. Jack Wilkinson encouraged Terry to maintain fitness, acting also as key motivator. Two years after Terry’s accident he was chosen to represent his country at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, however he did not attend.

Terry’s impressive list of sporting pursuits also includes Gold medals in weightlifting and the Pentathlon at the Dunedin Commonwealth Games, a number of Australian Championship medals and a Best and Fairest Player at school level football.

Today, Terry is heavily involved with sport for wheelchair bound juniors.

Helen Searle (nee Frith) - Athletics
Olympic Games: 1960 & 1964
Commonwealth Games: 1962

Helen contested the long jump and high jump at the Rome Olympic Games and won silver medals in both events at the Perth Commonwealth Games. Helen, an all round sportswoman also contested the long jump and pentathlon in the Tokyo Olympics. Helen is regarded as one of the greats of NSW athletics, winning six successive State pentathlon and long jump titles from 1961 to 1966 and the high jump championship in 1960. In her later years Helen went onto be come a world class veteran in throwing events.

Nancy Hill - Basketball
Commonwealth Games: 1958

Nancy represented Australia as part of the Opals Basketball team at the 1958 Commonwealth Games. Nancy married fellow basketballer and Lithgowite Barry Hill.


Denis Tipping - Athletics
Olympic Games: 1960

Denis trained under Jim Monaghan at the local Lithgow Cinders Track. Denis contested numerous athletic events and attained the following successes:

  • Dual Australian Sprint Champion 1960
  • Won 17 NSW Country Titles
  • 13 NSW Titles
  • 4 Australian Titles
  • Held Australian 100 metres record with a time of 10.4 seconds.

Whilst Denis had a stellar athletic career, he is most remembered for dropping the baton in the sprint relay during the 1962 Commonwealth Games. When asked if this was an embarrassing event, Denis replied “Not nearly as embarrassing as picking it up!”

Fleur Mellor - Athletics
Olympic Games: 1956

Fleur trained under the guidance of Jim Monaghan on the Lithgow Cinders Track. Fleur was controversially included in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games 4x100m medley relay with team mates Shirley Strickland, Betty Cuthbert and Norma Croker. The team went on to win Gold.

Barry Hill - Basketball
Olympic Games: 1956

Barry Hill won a place in the 1956 Olympic basketball squad. Barry trained with the side, however could not compete with his team in the Games due to injury. Barry went on to become a coal miner, and is now retired to Toowoon Bay .

Billy Holden - Boxing
Olympic Games: 1956

Bill Holden began his boxing career at the Lithgow Police Boy’s Club under Ken Bolt in 1953, staying with Ken throughout his career.

He started boxing in open tournaments in Sydney in 1954 going on to win the City of Sydney Championship and Golden Gloves NSW, middleweight title.

In 1955 he had won every title in Sydney , retaining the State Title. Later that year in Brisbane , Bill was to contest the Australian Title. After six elimination contests Bill won the Australian Middleweight Championship making him eligible to compete in Tournaments; in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. After winning all of these contests, consisting of 15 fights, Bill was selected to represent Australia at the 1956 Olympic Games.

Donald McDonnell - Boxing
Olympic Games: 1952

Donald Mc Donnell began his boxing career in Lithgow. His career highlights include 5 NSW Boxing Titles and inclusion in the 1952 Olympic Boxing Team.


Marjorie Jackson - Athletics
Olympic Games: 1952
Commonwealth Games: 1954

Marjorie Jackson, “The Lithgow Flash” was the first Australian to win Gold on the Athletics Track. Marjorie is one of Australia ’s most celebrated athletes. Raised and trained in Lithgow, Marjorie’s illustrious sporting career includes:

  • Gold medal Aukland Empire Games – 100y, 220y, 440y Medley Relay, 660y Medley Relay
  • Gold Medal Helsinki Olympic Games – 100m and 200m (World Record)
  • 1952 Outstanding Athlete award from the Helms Foundation (USA)
  • 1952 Recipient of the Australian Sportsman of the Year
  • 1954 Gold Medallist at Vancouver Commonwealth Games – 100m


Billy Boyce - Boxing
Olympic Games: 1948

Billy Boyce, the gentleman of Australian boxing, competed in the Welterweight Division (67kg) of boxing. The highlight of Billy’s career was competing in the 1948 Olympic Games in London .


Olympic Games Trainers, Umpires and Coaches

Maurie & Carol Poole
Table Tennis - Umpires
Paralympics: 2000

Doug Frost
Swimming – Trainer (Ian Thorpe’s coach)
Olympics: 2000

Robyn Bannerman
Hockey – Umpire
Olympics: 1982

Jeff Crowe
Boxing – Coach (Graham “Spike” Cheney’s coach) Olympics: 1990

John Bolt
Boxing – Coach (Graham “Spike” Cheney’s coach) Olympics: 1988

Merv Emms
Basketball – Coach
Olympics: 1956

Jim Monaghan
Athletics – Coach (Trained Marjorie Jackson, Denis Tipping, Fleur Mellor, Helen Frith)
Olympics: 1952, 1956, 1960
Commonwealth Games: 1954, 1958, 1962

The Lithgow Flash Gift is a drug and alchol free event

Centennial Coal
Lithgow City Council Tourism NSW Athletics NSW