1930 British Empire Games

The 1930 British Empire Games were the first of what later became known as the Commonwealth Games, and were held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from 16–23 August 1930.[2][3]

I British Empire Games
Host cityHamilton, Ontario, Canada
Nations participating11
Athletes participating400
Opening ceremony16 August
Closing ceremony23 August
Officially opened byLord Willingdon
Athlete's OathPercy Williams[1]
Main venueCivic Stadium
II  >

The games were organized by Hamilton Spectator sportswriter Bobby Robinson after he attended the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam as manager of the Canadian track and field team and was inspired to create a similar event for the British Empire. After campaigning for the idea among contacts he met at the Olympics, he was asked to organise the first British Empire Games in Hamilton.[4]

The events included athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming, and wrestling. Women competed only in aquatic events. The opening ceremonies and many events were held at Civic Stadium (later renamed Ivor Wynne Stadium) in east Hamilton.[5]

The games were opened by the Governor General of Canada, Lord Willingdon on 16 August. Canadian triple jumper Gordon Smallacombe won the first ever gold medal in the history of the Games a few hours later.[1]


Participating teams

There were 11 teams participating in these first British Empire Games:

Medal table

1 England25231361
2 Canada*20151954
3 South Africa64717
4 New Zealand3429
5 Australia3418
6 Scotland23510
7 Wales0213
8 British Guiana0112
9 Ireland0101
Totals (9 nations)595749165


Notable venues include:

  • Prince of Wales Public School - Male Accommodation
  • Royal Connaught Hotel - Female Accommodation
  • Civic Stadium - Athletics, Opening and Closing ceremonies
  • Hamilton Municipal Pool - Aquatics


  1. Jamie Bradburn (21 July 2015). "The British Empire Games of 1930". Torontoist.com. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  2. "Commonwealth Games Federation - Commonwealth Games - Introduction". www.thecgf.com. Archived from the original on 2017-07-26. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
  3. ""Empire Games In Canada." Times, 4 Feb. 1930, p. 7". Times Digital Archives.
  4. "'Just give us' the Commonwealth Games in 2030, Canada plans to tell counterpart countries". NationalPost. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  5. "Tigertown Triumphs" (Press release). The Hamilton Spectator-Memory Project (Souvenir Edition) page MP56. 10 June 2006.
Preceded by
British Empire Games
I British Empire Games
Succeeded by
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