Biographical entry: Wickham, Edward (c. 1890 - 1916)

c. 1890
15 September 1916


Born circa 1890, Edward (also Terry) Wickham was a prominent amateur Australian swimming champion. The son of Frank Wickham (q.v.) and Pinge Naru, from Simbo, he was raised in the Roviana Lagoon and migrated to Sydney with his father in 1908. Following the lead of his elder brother, Alick (q.v.), he entered amateur swimming and won the national 100-yard championship and New South Wales 220-yard breast-stroke championship in 1912-1913. Significantly, he was considered for the Australian Olympic Swimming Team in 1912. Edward moved to Adelaide in 1913, and won the 220-yard Championship of South Australia in 1914. At the outset of the First World War, he travelled to England and enlisted in the 1st/6th Battalion, London Regiment (City of London Rifles). Edward was killed on 15 September 1916 in the Battle of the Somme. His death obscured his sporting legacy, but he was a prominent swimmer who, along with his brother Alick, helped popularise the crawl stroke in swimming and reinforced popular notions of Pacific Islander aquatic ability.

(Osmond 2006) (entry by Gary Osmond)

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Published resources


  • Osmond, Frederick G., 'Nimble Savages: Myth, Race, Social Memory and Australian Aquatic Sport', PhD, University of Queensland, 2006. Details