Inspired by the sports stories on display in our Grit & Gold exhibition, we recently shared some of our top reading recommendations for those keen to further explore stories from Australia’s AFL, rugby, soccer and cricket fields.
In the second part of our sports stories series, we turn our attention to books by and about the Australian athletes on the basketball and tennis courts and in the swimming pool.
Get stuck into stories from the tennis court with Sunshine Super Girl: The Evonne Goolagong Story by Yorta Yorta/Gunai Kurnai writer and playwright Andrea James. This funny and thoughtful biography explores Wiradjuri woman Evonne Goolagong’s journey from rural New South Wales to world champion before the age of 20, including the discrimination and homesickness faced along the way.
Next, learn the story of a modern-day tennis world champion with Ngarigo woman Ashy Barty’s autobiography My Dream Time. In this story of tennis, family and gratitude, Barty reflects on the ups, downs and turning points of her career and the people that helped her throughout.
The autobiography of Dylan Alcott, Able: Gold Medals, Grand Slams and Smashing Glass Ceilings, is another great book for tennis enthusiasts, or anyone interested in a story of positivity, passion and kindness. Whether you know him for his accomplishments on the tennis court, radio, in the basketball stadium or among communities, don’t skip this inspiring and hilarious read.
For the basketball fans, check out My Story: A Life in Basketball and Beyond from Lauren Jackson and discover her journey to become known as one of the best female basketball players of all time. Covering both the professional and personal challenges she’s faced along the way, see how she achieved her dreams with support from her family, intelligence and resilience.
Another basketball icon to read about is Kokatha, Naghiralgal, Dauareb-Meriam man Patty Mills, who in 2021 captained the first Australian men's basketball team that won an Olympic medal. In this biography, Patty Mills: Beyond Basketball, Boti Nagy reflects on Mills’s athletic and philanthropic achievements, as well as the basketball history that came before him.
Dive into the world of swimming with Dawn: One Hell of a Life, the autobiography of Aussie icon Dawn Fraser. Discussing her life both in and out of the pool, from her childhood to being named one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time, Fraser leaves no question unanswered and doesn’t shy away from talking about the hardships between the triumphs.
A similarly candid and inspiring autobiography is that of Libby Trickett. In Beneath the Surface, Trickett shares her struggles with mental health throughout her career and retirement, and her journey to seeking help.
Swimming fans may also enjoy insight into the ‘golden era of Australian swimming’ with Murray Rose’s Life is Worth Swimming. With images from throughout his life and thoughtful reflections about sport, family and philosophy, this book allows you to relive some of the greatest moments in Australian swimming history.
Find more stories
If you haven’t already, check out the first part of the Sports stories series: On the field.