Famous 20th Century Australian Sportspersons

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century Australian Sportspersons, including Kyrie Irving, Shane Warne, Jarryd Hayne, Tim Cahill and Peter Norman.
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 1 
Rod Laver
(Australian Former World No. 1 Tennis Player)
Rod Laver
20
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.

 2 
Shane Warne
(Former Australian Cricketer, Widely Regarded as the Greatest Leg Spinner in the History of Cricket)
Shane Warne
10
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.

 3 
Cathy Freeman
(Australian Former Sprinter Who Specialised in the 400 metres Event)
Cathy Freeman
11
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.

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 4 
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.

 5 
Kostya Tszyu
(Russian-Australian Former Professional Boxer Who Holds Multiple World Light-Welterweight Titles)
Kostya Tszyu
4
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.

 6 
Sir Donald Bradman
(Australian Cricketer Who is Considered the Greatest Batsman of All Time)
Sir Donald Bradman
14
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. 

 7 
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.”

 8 
Adam Gilchrist
(Australian Former International Cricketer and Captain)
Adam Gilchrist
11
Birthdate: November 14, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bellingen, Australia
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 9 
Michelle Payne
(Jockey)
Michelle Payne
6
Birthdate: September 29, 1985
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ballarat, Australia
Height: 5'0" (152 cm)
 10 
Ken Rosewall
(Australian Former World Top-Ranking Amateur and Professional Tennis Player)
Ken Rosewall
6
Birthdate: November 2, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sydney, New South Wales, 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.

 11 
Michael Hussey
(Former Australian Cricketer Who Played As A Batsman)
Michael Hussey
5
Birthdate: May 27, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mount Lawley, Australia
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 12 
Pat Cash
(Australian Former Professional Tennis Player)
Pat Cash
6
Birthdate: May 27, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

Pat Cash is an Australian retired tennis player renowned for popularizing the act of climbing into the stands to celebrate. The celebration, which has been carried on as a tradition, was first showcased by Cash in 1987 when he won the men's singles championship title at Wimbledon. Cash was also part of the Davis Cup-winning team in 1983 and 1986.

 13 
Dennis Lillee
(Australian Retired Cricketer Rated as the “Outstanding Fast Bowler of His Generation”)
Dennis Lillee
5
Birthdate: July 18, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Subiaco, Australia
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 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 
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.

 16 
Rod Marsh
(Australian Cricketer Who Played as a Wicketkeeper)
Rod Marsh
4
Birthdate: November 4, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Armadale
Died: March 4, 2022
 17 
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.

 18 
Dawn Fraser
(Australian Freestyle Champion Swimmer and Olympic Gold Medalist)
Dawn Fraser
4
Birthdate: September 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Balmain, Australia

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.

 19 
Mick Fanning
(Australian Surfer)
Mick Fanning
3
Birthdate: June 13, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 20 
Alan Jones
(Australian Former Formula One Driver)
Alan Jones
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

Alan Stanley Jones is an Australian retired professional motor racing driver best known for winning the first Formula One World Championship in 1980 and only the second Australian to achieve the feat after three-time world champion Jack Brabham. In 1989, Alan Stanley Jones was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

 21 
Ian Chappell
(Australian and South African Former Cricketer)
Ian Chappell
5
Birthdate: September 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Unley, Australia
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 22 
Cadel Evans
(Australian Former Professional Racing Cyclist)
Cadel Evans
5
Birthdate: February 14, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Katherine, Australia

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.

 23 
John Wayne Parr
(Retired Australian Kickboxer and Boxer)
John Wayne Parr
3
Birthdate: May 25, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Australia

Australian kickboxer and boxer John Wayne Parr, known as The Gunslinger to his fans, began his martial arts training at age 11 and won his first title at 17. He was also the first Western boxer to make it to the cover of the popular Muay Thai magazine of Thailand, Muay Siam.

 24 
Timothy F. Cahill
(Australian Former Professional Footballer Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder)
Timothy F. Cahill
14
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. 

 25 
Richie Benaud
(Australian Cricketer All-Rounder)
Richie Benaud
3
Birthdate: October 6, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
Died: April 10, 2015
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 26 
Andrew Bogut
(Former Australian Basketball Player)
Andrew Bogut
9
Birthdate: November 28, 1984
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Height: 7'0" (213 cm)
 27 
John Newcombe
(Australian Former Professional Tennis Player)
John Newcombe
5
Birthdate: May 23, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 28 
Jason Belmonte
(Sportsperson, Bowler)
Jason Belmonte
5
Birthdate: July 29, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Orange, Australia
 29 
Steve Waugh
(Australian Former International Cricketer )
Steve Waugh
6
Birthdate: June 2, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Canterbury, Australia
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 30 
Mick Doohan
(Former Grand Prix motorcycle road racing World Champion)
Mick Doohan
1
Birthdate: June 4, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gold Coast, Australia
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 31 
Mark Philippoussis
(Australian Former Professional Tennis Player)
Mark Philippoussis
7
Birthdate: November 7, 1976
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

Australian former tennis player Mark Philippoussis is nicknamed The Scud for his missile-like deliveries. The former world number 8 singles player has two Davis Cups in his kitty and is now a famous reality TV star. He once went bankrupt but has since recovered and now owns a clothing brand.

 32 
Harry Kewell
(Australian Football Coach and Former Player)
Harry Kewell
5
Birthdate: September 22, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Smithfield, Australia
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 33 
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.

 34 
Penny Taylor
(Australian Retired Professional Basketball player)
Penny Taylor
1
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.

 35 
Glenn McGrath
(Australian Former International Cricketer and One of the Greatest Fast Bowlers of All Time)
Glenn McGrath
4
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. 

 36 
Michael Doohan
(Motorcycle racer)
Michael Doohan
4
Birthdate: June 4, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
 37 
Matthew Hayden
(Australian Former Cricketer Who Holds the Record for Highest Individual Test Score By an Australian Batsman)
Matthew Hayden
2
Birthdate: October 29, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kingaroy, Queensland, Australia
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 38 
Lee Priest
(Former International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) Professional Bodybuilder)
Lee Priest
6
Birthdate: July 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newcastle, Australia
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 39 
David Campese
(Former Australian Rugby Union Player)
David Campese
3
Birthdate: October 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 40 
Greg Chappell
( Former Cricketer Who Played as a Batsman)
Greg Chappell
1
Birthdate: August 7, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Unley, Australia
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 41 
Peter Norman
(Australian Track Athlete and Olympic Silver Medalist)
Peter Norman
4
Birthdate: June 15, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Coburg, Australia
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.

 42 
Mark Viduka
(Former Australian Soccer Player Who Played as a Forward)
Mark Viduka
4
Birthdate: October 9, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 43 
Simon Whitlock
(Darts player)
Simon Whitlock
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1969
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cessnock, Australia
 44 
Greg Norman
(Australian Entrepreneur and Retired Professional Golfer)
Greg Norman
4
Birthdate: February 10, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mount Isa, 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.

 45 
Keith Miller
(Australian Test Cricketer)
Keith Miller
4
Birthdate: November 28, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sunshine, Victoria, Australia
Died: October 11, 2004
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 46 
Justin Langer
(Australian Cricket Coach and Former Cricketer)
Justin Langer
4
Birthdate: November 21, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Perth, Australia
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 47 
John Eales
(Australian Former Rugby Union Player and the Most Successful Captain in the History of Australian Rugby)
John Eales
4
Birthdate: June 27, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Height: 6'7" (201 cm)
 48 
Peter Thomson
(Only Golfer in the Modern Era to Win a Major Three Times in Succession)
Peter Thomson
3
Birthdate: August 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brunswick, Victoria, Australia
Died: June 20, 2018

Peter Thomson was an Australian golfer best remembered for winning the Open Championship on five occasions between 1954 and 1965. He won three consecutive Championship titles in 1954, 1955, and 1956, becoming the only modern era golfer to win a major on three successive occasions. In 1988, Peter Thomson was made an inductee of the World Golf Hall of Fame.   

 49 
Ron Clarke
(Australian Athlete and Former Mayor of the Gold Coast)
Ron Clarke
2
Birthdate: February 21, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died: June 17, 2015

Ron Clarke was an Australian athlete, politician, and writer. One of the most recognized middle and long-distance runners of the 1960s, Clarke is best remembered for setting 17 world records. He also won the bronze medal in the 10,000 meters event at the 1964 Summer Olympics. In 2000, Ron Clarke was honored with the prestigious Australian Sports Medal.

 50 
Kieren Perkins
(Legendary Australian Swimmer, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Sports Administrator)
Kieren Perkins
2
Birthdate: August 14, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

One of Australia’s best-known distance swimmers, Kieren Perkins is also known to fans as the Superfish. Apart from breaking 11 world records, he also became the first person to simultaneously hold the World, Olympic, Commonwealth, and Pan Pacific titles. The 2-time Olympic gold medalist later became the CEO of the Australian Sports Commission.