Heat, dust and glory

The VII British Empire Commonwealth Games in the Australian city of Perth will mostly be remembered for their "heat, dust and glory" as the second Commonwealth Games to visit Australian shores had all three in abundance.

At the opening ceremony in the new Perry Lakes Stadium, the heat was measured at a sweltering 105 degrees Fahrenheit and such extremes persisted throughout the duration of the 1962 Games.

The immense heat in 1962 was somewhat of a shock to the organisers as in the previous 65 years, only ten 100 degree plus days had been recorded in Perth. Australian soldiers were pressed into action throughout the Games as they were charged with the task of bringing water to competing athletes.

Despite extreme heat in the dusty city that was not renowned for its interest in sport at the time, Perth produced an outstanding Games that the home nation won ahead of England. 

The British Empire Commonwealth Games appeared to bring out the best in its host city, a feeling which was perhaps best summed up by the London Daily Telegraph reporter James Coote who wrote: “The VIIth Commonwealth Games have proved that it is possible for an area as basically devoid of sports interest as Perth to stage the second most important sports meeting in the World - and stage it successfully. Perth has shown that these Games will continue for years to come."

The staging of the 1962 Games left a fantastic legacy in the city of Perth. The Games provided the city with a springboard for phenomenal development in sport and recreation, centered on the sports facilities that were built for the Games. 

The facilities have not only catered for elite level sport but provided opportunity for the development of organised recreational sport in the area and a focus for Australia's first University Degree Programme in Physical Education.

Date Games held: November 22-December 1

Number of nations represented: 35

Number of competitors: 863

Number of medals awarded: 320