1956 Melbourne Olympic Games Participation Medal

1956 Melbourne Olympic Games Participation Medal

1956 Melbourne Olympic Games Participation Medal

Commissioned by the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Committee this medal was designed by Andor Meszaros in 1955. The dies were produced by John Pinches of London and the medals struck by K.G Luke of Melbourne. 12,250 of these were struck in bronze of which 11,305 were formally issued, they are 63 millimetres in diameter and weigh 105 grams. Carlisle reference is c/1956/5.

This medal was the turning point in the career of Andor Meszaros (1900-1972) with these medals spreading his work around the globe as each participating country took their medal back to their home country.

Andor submitted designs for both the reverse and obverse of the commemorative medal. The obverse depicts, in relief, a design of athletes marching in pairs following a single figure bearing a banner with the Olympic device of rings and the motto of the International Olympic Committee Citius, Altius, Fortius. Just to the right of that single figure bearing the flag, along the edge is Meszaros’ signature and 1955. The reverse is a reproduction, in relief, of the Coat-of-Arms of the City of Melbourne surmounted by the five rings and bearing the inscription “Olympic Games Melbourne 1956”. Again the designers signature is depicted to the left of this Coat-of-Arms and to it’s right, the maker K.G Luke Ltd.

These were presented in a clear plastic case to all those involved in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games (see table). Each runner in the torch relay was presented with their medal en route as the flame made it’s way from Cairns to Melbourne. Other competitors, officials etc are listed below.

Commemorative Medals
Group Ordered Issued
Guests of Honour 50 41
I.O.C 65 52
N.O.C 475 328
I.F. -President and Secretary 40 26
Organizing Committee 70 70
Attaches 80 75
Chefs de Mission 80 56
Arena Managers 25 21
Team Officials 600 589
Medical 100 159
Housing 25 9
Transport 25 11
Sub-Committees of Organizing Committee 70 67
Civic Committee 20 20
Sports Officials 2,165 1,927
Competitors 4,505 3,516
Torch Relay 3,000 2,981
Opening Ceremony 25 8
Arts Festival 750 768
Miscellaneous (including O.C. Staff and
voluntary helpers)
130 622
TOTAL 12,250 11,305

Semmens, Kelman. 1972. Andor Meszaros Sculptor
Sharples, John P. 1990. Medals as Art: Australia and the Meszaros Tradition
Carlisle, Leslie J. 2008 Australian Historical Medals 1788-1988
The Organizing Committee of the XVI Olympiad. 1958. The Official Report Of The Organizing Committee For The Games Of The XVI Olympiad Melbourne 1956

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