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Oral History

History > Oral History > Brinos Notaras reflects on the Olympic Relay of ‘56.

10624: History > Oral History

submitted by Clarence River Historical Society on 30.05.2006

Brinos Notaras reflects on the Olympic Relay of ‘56.

“the sparks from the magnesium were a real hazard”

"My recollection of the Relay was that I replied to an invitation in the newspaper to participate by the old Orara Shire Council, (now Ulmarra Shire) and the conditions were that we should be able to run a mile in six minutes.

I was duly selected to participate, but due to a misunderstanding I was allocated Dirty Creek Range, a steep climb on the road, the crest of which was the Orara Shire boundary at that time.

Whilst I was very fit, participating in both football and surf boat rowing, I had never pretended to be a fast run­ner. I believe I was mistaken for my brother Spiro, an excellent runner, who at the time still held the North Coast 440 yards (400 m) record.

I tried to change places with several well known local distance runners, but there were no takers for obvious reasons.

The time trial was to take place on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of summer and I remember it was an extremely hot day and the bitumen on the road was melting.

I ran in sandshoes and could feel the heat from the road through my shoes.There were bush fires well alight on both sides of the road all the way up the bill.

It was a full scale rehearsal with army trucks and torches and I was extremely pleased when it was over. I never knew what my time was, but found out later it was in the high six minutes and that the qualifying times were subsequently altered to seven minutes.

When the time came for the official run, my allotted hour was 1 am on a beautiful Sunday morning so much different to the trial.

The torches were handed out from the back of the escorting army trucks and I believe my time would have been much better. I remember having to hold the Torch well out in front as the sparks from the magnesium were a real hazard and it was difficult running uphill with the Torch well in front of me.

I remember the run was right on schedule.

The medals were handed out at a small simple ceremony on a Saturday afternoon at the Old School of Arts building in South Grafton by the Shire President, who I think was Bill McCaughey at the time.

It was a memorable occasion and I have always been proud to have participated. My only sorrow is that my daughter when she was five or six years old, took the medal to school to show her friends and did not bring it home.

Orara Shire did not extend their generosity to having our names engraved on the medals".

Lambrinos (Brinos) John Notaras March 2000


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