Did you catch the game last night? Were you there? 

It’s no secret that Aussies love coming out in droves to support their favourite athletes. Amongst the many thousands of online photographs from the National Library collection are images of noteworthy sporting events and the crowds that showed up to support them.  

Whether it’s thousands in a stadium or the mum and dad crew at little league match, when the crowd goes wild you know you are part of a community. As we wrote recently in another sporting-themed blog published on Trove, ‘it takes a village and dedicated supporters to succeed’ as a professional athlete. 

Below, we’ve selected just a few of our favourite sporting crowd shots from the collection. Were you at any of these games? What’s the best Aussie sporting moment you’ve witnessed? Join the conversation on social media and let us know! 

The Olympics 

Let’s start with the big ones. Australia has hosted the Olympics twice – the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Paralympics.

A large crowd of men, women and children stand behind a fence. They are all happy and smiling and many are waving.
Crowd of spectators at a fence, Olympic Games, Melbourne, 22 November 1956, nla.obj-148961824 

View over 430 photographs from the 1956 Olympics in the Herald and Weekly Times archive in Trove. 

two rows of judges sit behind computer screens on the edge of a a blue gymnasium. Behind them a row of frenzied photographers snap away, while on the gym floor a single photographer snaps a photo of an event happening off camera.
Loui Seselja, Gymnastics judges with accredited media photographers behind them, Sydney SuperDome, Olympic Park, Homebush, 25 September 2000, nla.obj-146044656

The Sydney 2000 Olympics attracted over 24,000 media personnel to Australia – twice as many than the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. At the time it was the world’s largest press and broadcast gathering which is shown in the image of a mass gathering of credited media photographers who captured a Gymnastics competition over the heads of a panel of judges.

Three young women stand posed for the camera, smiling. Two of the women have olympic rings painted on their foreheads, and all three are wearing matching t-shirts. They are carrying ribbon batons for sale.
Wendy McDougall, Torch bearing beauties, 14 September 2000, nla.obj-145914933 

For perspective, 6.7 million tickets were sold to lucky spectators who watched the Games in person.

22 wheelchair users line of on a basketball court to receive a Paralympic medal. A crowd of spectators watch on from the stands.
Susanne Olsen, Women's wheelchair basketball medals ceremony Paralympics, 27 October 2000, nla.obj-146232111 

The 2000 Paralympic Games were also held in Sydney. In basketball, the Australian women’s team, The Gliders, made it through to the finals against Canada. The team won Silver, an amazing achievement for their first Paralympic medal. 

View the full collection of Susanne Olsen’s photographs from the 2000 Olympics, Paralympics and New Year’s Eve fireworks in Trove.

Home-field victories 

Australia has produced some remarkable athletes, and there’s no denying that the Aussie cheer has helped them on their way to greatness.  

6 young women stand waving green and gold pompoms. Their matching tops, each with a single letter, spell out SAM WOW
Greg Power, Fans barracking for Sam Stosur during a tennis match at the Australian Open, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, 20 January 2011, nla.obj-132178711

Fans cheering for Australian tennis player Sam Stosur as she competes against Vera Dushevina in the Australian Open. Stosur dominated in the match, which took place at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne on 20 January 2011. Grab a courtside view of the match and view over 100 photographs of the tournament in Trove.

Three soccer fans, Ghana supporters, cheer on. Behind them can be seen a stadium full of spectators
John Slaytor, Ghana supporters at the International friendly soccer match, between Australia and Ghana played at the Sydney Football Stadium, 23 May 2008, nla.obj-148117795 

The 2008 International friendly soccer match between Australia and Ghana was a tight game with the Australian Socceroo’s scrapping in a win against the Black Stars.

A crowd of onlookers watch from behind a fence as four race cars speed past. Lake Burley Griffin can be viewed in the background.
Loui Seselja, Spectators… GMC 400 V8 Supercar Series 2000, Canberra, 9-11 June, 2000, nla.obj-145811508 

The Canberra 400 V8 Supercar series was held three times between 2000 – 2002. While New Zealander Greg Murphy won the inaugural race in 2000, Australian’s Steven Johnson and Mark Skaife won in the preceding years. The race, held on the streets of Canberra, even zipped by the National Library.  

Televised games

a crowd of Australian fans wearing green and gold jerseys cheer on, hands raised and shouting. It's nighttime and the photographer has captured some of the motion blur enhancing the evening's excitement.
Ben Rushton, Three friends in the crowd at the Rocks watching the last minutes of the live telecast of the Rugby World Cup final in 2003, nla.obj-148690668

Not all crowds make it to the stadium, but as this photograph shows, it doesn’t mean their support is waning. The 2003 Rugby World Cup, held in Australia on 22 November 2003, was watched by over 80,000 stadium attendees and approximately 30 million television viewers. This crowd at The Rocks in Sydney were cheering on the Aussie team in the last minutes of the match against England. A photograph taken a few minutes later would have shown a different scene as Australia lost in the last minute of the game. 

A large crowd celebrate at night time. Smoke fills the air as flares are lit and a Greek flag is raised. Many of the supporters are wearing the Greece's soccer team merchandise
Karl Sharp, Soccer fans celebrating Greece's 2004 European Cup victory, Brighton-le-Sands, Sydney, July 2004, nla.obj-136959524 

When Greece unexpectedly won the 2004 European Cup, it sent shock waves through the international Greek community. Despite the match being held in Portugal, soccer fans in Australia didn’t hold back in their victory celebrations.

A crowd of spectators sit on a grassy slope watching a cricket match happening off camera
Robin Smith, Spectators with their eskys at The Australians v The World cricket match held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, c.1978, nla.obj-152708489 

Supporters young and old showed up for World Series Cricket competition held between 1977 – 1979. The controversial competition was organised by Kerry Packer after a failed bid to secure exclusive television rights for cricket for the Nine Network.

Celebrate more of Australia’s great sporting moments in our exhibition Grit & Gold: Tales from a Sporting Nation, and race down memory lane.