Famous 20th Century Australian Sportspersons

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century Australian Sportspersons, including Kyrie Irving, Shane Warne, Jarryd Hayne, Tim Cahill and Peter Norman.
Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Australian Sportspersons
 1 
Shane Warne
(Former Australian Cricketer, Widely Regarded as the Greatest Leg Spinner in the History of Cricket)
Shane Warne
12
Birthdate: September 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Victoria, Australia
Died: March 4, 2022

Shane Warne was a former Australian cricket player, best known for his leg-break bowling. Widely regarded as one of the greatest spin bowlers of all time, Warne was the second-highest wicket-taker in test cricket. He was also one of the most controversial cricketers. In 2013, Shane Warne was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

 2 
Sir Donald Bradman
(Australian Cricketer Who is Considered the Greatest Batsman of All Time)
Sir Donald Bradman
18
Birthdate: August 27, 1908
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cootamundra, Australia
Died: February 25, 2001

Australian cricketer, Sir Donald Bradman, is widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time. He started playing cricket as a young man and scored numerous records within a few years. In a career spanning around two decades, he retired with a career test batting average of 99.94. He retained a pre-eminent position in the game for decades following his retirement. 

 3 
Rod Laver
(Australian Former World No. 1 Tennis Player)
Rod Laver
18
Birthdate: August 9, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rockhampton, Australia

Australian former tennis player Rod Laver is widely regarded to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time. He was ranked world No. 1 in nine different years. He holds 200 singles titles--the most in tennis history. He excelled on a variety of court surfaces: grass, clay, hard, carpet, and wood/parquet. The Laver Cup Tournament is named after him.

Recommended Lists:
 4 
Ricky Ponting
(Australian Former Cricketer Regarded as One of the Best Batsmen of the Modern Era)
Ricky Ponting
9
Birthdate: December 19, 1974
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Ricky Ponting is an Australian retired cricket player best known for his abilities as a batsman, fielder, and captain. Widely regarded as one of the modern-time greats, Ponting is the leading run-scorer for Australia in Test and ODI cricket. Ponting captained the Australian Test team between 2004 and 2011 and is considered one of the most successful cricket captains of all time.

 5 
Cathy Freeman
(Australian Former Sprinter Who Specialised in the 400 metres Event)
Cathy Freeman
9
Birthdate: February 16, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mackay, Queensland, Australia

Cathy Freeman is a former sprinter known for her achievements in the 400 meters events. Her personal best of 48.63, set at the 1996 Olympics, makes her the eighth-fastest woman of all time. She gave Australia an Olympic gold at the 2000 Olympics. Also a humanitarian, Freeman is credited with founding the Cathy Freeman Foundation.

 6 
Evonne Goolagong Cawley
(Australian Former World No. 1 Tennis Player)
Evonne Goolagong Cawley
9
Birthdate: July 31, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Griffith, New South Wales, Australia

Legendary Australian tennis player Evonne Goolagong Cawley was once world number 1 and the world’s first mother to earn a Wimbledon win in 66 years. A Wiradjuri Aborigine, she is now part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and also became the Australian of the Year in 1971.

 7 
Kostya Tszyu
(Russian-Australian Former Professional Boxer Who Holds Multiple World Light-Welterweight Titles)
Kostya Tszyu
3
Birthdate: September 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Serov, Russia

Kostya Tszyu is a former boxer who held multiple light-welterweight championships. Renowned for his punching power, Tszyu is considered one of the hardest-punching boxers in the history of light-welterweight boxing. He represented the Soviet Union at the 1991 World Championships, where he won a gold medal. In 2010, Tszyu was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

 8 
Adam Gilchrist
(Cricketer)
Adam Gilchrist
11
Birthdate: November 14, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bellingen
 9 
Pat Rafter
(Australian Former World No. 1 Tennis Player)
Pat Rafter
6
Birthdate: December 28, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mount Isa, Australia

Pat Rafter became the first Australian male in the Open Era to win consecutive US Open titles. The former ATP singles number 1 is also the only person with an undefeated record against tennis legend Roger Federer and is remembered for his politeness and his habit of saying “Sorry, mate.”

 10 
Timothy F. Cahill
(Australian Former Professional Footballer Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder)
Timothy F. Cahill
13
Birthdate: December 6, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

Australian former professional footballer Timothy F. Cahill was known for "his aggressive and powerful approach and his ability to head the ball in the penalty area" during his playing years. Having scored 50 goals in 108 caps, he is the all-time leading goalscorer for the Australia national team. Currently, he works as a pundit for BBC Sport and Sky Sports. 

 11 
Ken Rosewall
(Australian Former World Top-Ranking Amateur and Professional Tennis Player)
Ken Rosewall
6
Birthdate: November 2, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

Throughout his 25-year illustrious career, Australian tennis legend Ken Rosewall has won 18 Grand Slams, including 8 singles titles. Known for his 5’7” lean frame, he was nicknamed Muscles by his teammates, apparently, for the lack of them. The son of a grocer, he had begun playing tennis at age 3.

 12 
Dennis Lillee
(Cricketer)
Dennis Lillee
5
Birthdate: July 18, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Perth
 13 
Patty Mills
(Australian Basketball Player Who Plays as a Point Guard)
Patty Mills
6
Birthdate: August 11, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Canberra
 14 
Jack Brabham
(Australian Race Car Driver)
Jack Brabham
4
Birthdate: April 2, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hurstville, New South Wales, Australia
Died: May 19, 2014

Jack Brabham was an Australian professional racing driver best remembered for winning the Formula One World Championship thrice during his illustrious career that lasted 15 years. He is credited with founding the eponymous Formula One racing team and racing car manufacturer. Early in his career, Brabham contributed immensely to the design of racing cars introduced by the Cooper Car Company.

 15 
Peyton Royce
(Australian Professional Wrestler)
Peyton Royce
26
Birthdate: November 10, 1992
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
 16 
Allan Border
(Former Australian Cricket Team Captain and Outstanding Left-Hand Batsman)
Allan Border
4
Birthdate: July 27, 1955
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cremorne, Australia

Legendary Australian cricketer Allan Border, also popularly known as AB, remains to be regarded as one of the best batsmen the game has ever had. Under his captaincy, Australia didn’t just win a World Cup but also brought back the Ashes in 1989. He is also one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures.

 17 
Greg Chappell
(Cricketer)
Greg Chappell
4
Birthdate: August 7, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Unley
 18 
Nathan Jones
(Australian Actor and Former Professional Wrestler)
Nathan Jones
11
Birthdate: August 21, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Gold Coast, Australia
 19 
Harry Kewell
(Australian Association Football Manager, Coach, and Former Player)
Harry Kewell
5
Birthdate: September 22, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Smithfield, Australia
 20 
Andrew Bogut
(Former Australian Basketball Player)
Andrew Bogut
9
Birthdate: November 28, 1984
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
 21 
Mitchell Starc
(Cricketer)
Mitchell Starc
6
Birthdate: January 30, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Baulkham Hills, Sydney, Australia

Mitchell Starc is an Australian international cricketer. He plays for the Australian national team in international cricket and New South Wales in domestic cricket. Primarily a left-arm fast bowler, he is also a capable lower-order left-handed batsman. He was part of the Australian squad that won the 2015 Cricket World Cup. He is married to fellow cricketer Alyssa Healy. 

 22 
Roy Emerson
(Australian Former Tennis Player Who Won a Record 12 Grand Slam Singles Titles)
Roy Emerson
5
Birthdate: November 3, 1936
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Blackbutt, Australia

Roy Emerson is a former tennis player from Australia. A former world No. 1, Emerson won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles and 12 Grand Slam singles titles, which includes a career Grand Slam in both singles and doubles. Emerson went on to achieve another career Grand Slam, becoming the first man to complete a double career Grand Slam in singles.

 23 
Dawn Fraser
(Swimmer)
Dawn Fraser
4
Birthdate: September 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Balmain

Dawn Fraser is an Australian freestyle champion swimmer. She won the Olympic individual event the women's 100-meter freestyle three times in her career. She also won six Commonwealth Games gold medals. Much respected for her athletic abilities, she was also known for her controversial behavior. She became a swimming coach after her retirement. She is also a former politician.

 24 
Glenn McGrath
(Australian Former International Cricketer and One of the Greatest Fast Bowlers of All Time)
Glenn McGrath
8
Birthdate: February 9, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia

Glenn McGrath is an Australian former international cricketer. A fast-medium pace bowler, he is considered one of the greatest Australian international bowlers of all time. He played international cricket for 14 years and was a leading contributor to Australia's domination of world cricket in the 1990s and 2000s. He is currently the director of MRF Pace Foundation. 

 25 
Andrew Symonds
(Batting allrounder Cricketer)
Andrew Symonds
9
Birthdate: June 9, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Died: May 14, 2022
 26 
Greg Norman
(Australian Golfer)
Greg Norman
8
Birthdate: February 10, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia

Greg Norman is an Australian retired professional golfer and entrepreneur. One of the greatest Australian golfers ever, Norman was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2009, he was named in Queensland's Q150 Icons list as a sports legend. Also a philanthropist, Norman established the Greg Norman Golf Foundation, which provides guidance to students.

 27 
Michael Clarke
(cricketer)
Michael Clarke
5
Birthdate: April 2, 1981
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Liverpool
 28 
Ian Thorpe
(Swimmer, Autobiographer)
Ian Thorpe
6
Birthdate: October 13, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sydney

Ian Thorpe is an Australian retired swimmer who won five Olympic gold medals. He predominantly competed in freestyle but was also skilled at backstroke and the individual medley. He emerged as the most successful athlete at the 2000 Summer Olympics, with three gold and two silver medals. He is openly gay and often talks about the challenges of being homosexual. 

 29 
Buddy Murphy
(Wrestler)
Buddy Murphy
11
Birthdate: September 26, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Melbourne Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
 30 
Cadel Evans
(Professional Road Racing Cyclist)
Cadel Evans
5
Birthdate: February 14, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Katherine

Tour de France-winning Australian cyclist Cadel Evans is also a four-time Olympian. His career took off when he earned a scholarship to the mountain biking program of the Australian Institute of Sport. An avid philanthropist, he has an adopted son from Ethiopia, along with a son from his second wife.

 31 
John Newcombe
(Tennis Player)
John Newcombe
5
Birthdate: May 23, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
 32 
Mark Schwarzer
(Former Australian Soccer Player Who Played as a Goalkeeper)
Mark Schwarzer
7
Birthdate: October 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
 33 
Steve Waugh
(Cricketer)
Steve Waugh
6
Birthdate: June 2, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Canterbury
 34 
Peter Norman
(Athletics competitor, Sprinter)
Peter Norman
4
Birthdate: June 15, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Melbourne
Died: October 3, 2006

Peter Norman was an Australian athlete who won a silver medal in the 200 meters event at the 1968 Summer Olympics. He is remembered for supporting fellow athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos by wearing the Olympic Project for Human Rights badge during their medal ceremony; he is the third athlete seen in the popular Olympics Black Power salute photograph.

 35 
Dylan Alcott
(Basketball player, Tennis player)
Dylan Alcott
4
Birthdate: December 4, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

One of Australia’s greatest wheelchair sportspersons, Dylan Alcott has mastered both wheelchair tennis and wheelchair basketball. He is also one of the rare few to have won Paralympic gold medals in two sports, both basketball and tennis. In 2021, he declared his wish to retire from tennis after the Australian Open.

 36 
Shane Gould
(Australian Former Competition Swimmer and Three-Time Olympic Gold Medal Winner)
Shane Gould
3
Birthdate: November 23, 1956
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Shane Gould was 15 when she participated in the Munich Olympics. She stunned everyone with her early retirement at 16 and stayed away from the limelight for 25 years, eventually re-emerging after raising her four kids on an Australian farm and then breaking records at the 2000 Sydney Games.

 37 
Stephanie Rice
(Australian Swimmer Who Won Three Gold Medals at the 2008 Olympics)
Stephanie Rice
4
Birthdate: June 17, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brisbane

Stephanie Rice is an Australian retired swimmer best known for winning three gold medals at the 2008 Olympics. In the same year, she was named Telstra Australian Swimmer of the Year. Rice also won two silver medals and five bronze medals at the World Championships during her career. In 2019, she was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

 38 
Michelle Payne
5
Birthdate: September 29, 1985
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ballarat, Australia
 39 
Johnathan Thurston
(Rugby league player)
Johnathan Thurston
8
Birthdate: April 25, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brisbane
 40 
Matthew Hayden
(Cricketer)
Matthew Hayden
5
Birthdate: October 29, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kingaroy, Queensland, Australia
 41 
Mark Viduka
(Former Australian Soccer Player Who Played as a Forward)
Mark Viduka
4
Birthdate: October 9, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
 42 
Anthony Mundine
(Australian Former Professional Boxer and Rugby League Footballer)
Anthony Mundine
9
Birthdate: May 21, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Newtown, Australia

Anthony Mundine is an Australian former rugby league footballer and former professional boxer. He competed from 2000 to 2021 as a boxer and held championship titles, such as the WBA super-middleweight title, the IBO middleweight title, and the WBA interim super-welterweight title. Before becoming a boxer, Mundine was a popular figure in the National Rugby League (NRL). 

 43 
Justin Langer
(Cricketer)
Justin Langer
4
Birthdate: November 21, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Perth
 44 
Penny Taylor
(Basketball player)
Penny Taylor
4
Birthdate: May 24, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

In her 19-year stint as a basketball player, Penny Taylor has mostly represented the WNBA team Phoenix Mercury. She also won gold medals as part of the Australian women’s national team. Though she had a heterosexual marriage earlier, she is now openly lesbian and married to fellow basketball player Diana Taurasi.

 45 
Grant Hackett
(Australian Swimmer Who Has Won 3 Olympic Gold Medals)
Grant Hackett
4
Birthdate: May 9, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Southport

Three-time Olympic gold medal-winning Australian swimmer Grant Hackett is a master of freestyle swimming. He also captained the Australian swimming team for a while. Apart from holding several freestyle world records, he also came to be known as the King of the 1500m. He has also worked as a sports presenter.

 46 
Peter Brock
(Racecar driver, Racing driver)
Peter Brock
8
Birthdate: February 26, 1945
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Epworth Hospital
Died: September 8, 2006

Peter Brock was an Australian professional racing driver best remembered for his association with Holden. A three-time Australian Touring Car champion, Brock was honored with the prestigious Australian Sports Medal in 2000. In 2001, he was made an inductee of the V8 Supercars Hall of Fame. Also known for his humanitarian efforts, Brock was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001.

 47 
Leisel Jones
(Iconic Australian Swimmer Who Has Won 3 Olympic Gold Medals)
Leisel Jones
3
Birthdate: August 30, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Katherine

Three-time Olympic gold medal-winning Australian swimmer Leisel Jones is also known by her nicknames Diesel and Lethal Leisel. Known for her signature breaststroke technique, she has also won 7 World Championship titles. Post-retirement, she has penned a memoir, been a sports commentator, and qualified as a nutrition coach.

 48 
Shane Watson
(Cricketer)
Shane Watson
10
Birthdate: June 17, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ipswich

Shane Watson is an Australian former cricketer. A right-handed batsman and a right-handed fast-medium swing bowler, he used to play for Australia’s national cricket team. He holds several records in T20Is, ODIs, and T20s and was counted among the best all-rounders of his era. He launched a sports clinic for children in 2017. He also hosts a podcast. 

 49 
Mitchell Marsh
(Cricketer)
Mitchell Marsh
5
Birthdate: October 20, 1991
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Attadale
 50 
Michael Hussey
(Former Australian Cricketer Who Played As A Batsman)
Michael Hussey
4
Birthdate: May 27, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mount Lawley, Australia