Graham Higham was born in Margate on the Peninsula in 1928, Graham Higham was Redcliffe's first Olympian.
He began boxing at the age of 13, appearing at the Renown(Margate) Theatre.
Although he lost his first fight, it didn't deter the young boxer. During the war years he entered a number of boxing tournaments organised by the Australian and US Airforces at the Amberley Airforce Base. He trained on the family's dairy farm at Scarborough as well as at the Kedron Boxing Club.
By the age of 19, he had achieved an impressive record of 61 wins from 65 fights and was selected to go with the Australian National team to South Africa. The year was 1947 and because of apartheid, the team didn't go.
In 1948 he was selected in the Australian Olympic Team travelled to compete in the London Olympics. Graham Higham was Redcliffe's first Olympian.
1948 Olympic Games - Wembley - London - circa 1948 General View of the Boxing venue at the Empire Pool
The 1948 Olympic Games were known as the "Austerity Games." No new venues were built in London in 1948 to house any of the Olympic games or the Olympic athletes as money was extremely tight following World War II. The economy was not in good shape and food was still being rationed for these first Olympic games to be held after a twelve year hiatus due to the war.
The Boxing venue was in the Wembley Empire Pool. All of the boxing events were to take place in the Empire Pool during this second week of the London 1948 Olympics after all of the swimming pool events had concluded during the first week. So the swimmers and the boxers shared the same sports venue. A floating Boxing Ring was constructed and it sat in the swimming pool. They did not even have a chance to drain the pool prior to running the Boxing events.
From 1945 to 1949, Graham had won three Queensland and three Australian middleweight championships titles. By the end of his amateur boxing career in 1952, his record stood at 101 wins from 107 fights.
Graham married Ailsa West in Redcliffe in 1951. Ailsa played hockey for Redcliffe and Queensland and was coached by Mary Nairn
In 1953 he turned professional and fought all four of his professional fights in New Zealand before retiring in 1954.
After retirement Graham and his wife Ailsa (nee West) opened a Bed and Breakfast in Grant St Redcliffe.
Higham Street History:
Higham Street in Clontarf is named after Graham's father William (Bill) Nathaniel Higham.
He was born in 1897 and in the 1920's Bill purchased 400 acres of land around the present Newport Canal development. He was a farmer, storekeeper and fish merchant. He elected alderman on the Redcliffe Town Council in April 1943 and served three terms until his death in 1952.
Graham Higham is listed on the wall of the Redcliffe Wall of Fame:
A collection of portrait and information honouring the achievements of individuals who have influenced and shaped Redcliffe. The collection is in the Jetty Arcade at 139-141 Redcliffe Parade.
For a complete list of people who appear on the wall click on the following blog post: