Betty Cuthbert: Mandurah to host funeral service for Australia's golden girl

A funeral service for Australian Olympic hero Betty Cuthbert will be held in Mandurah on Wednesday, August 16 at 1pm.

It is understood Ms Cuthbert’s family had declined offers of a state funeral and instead chose to hold a service at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

Mayor Marina Vergone said the City was sad to hear of the passing of a Mandurah treasure and sporting icon.

“We offer our condolences to Ms Cuthbert’s family and friends,” she said.

“As well as being an Olympic legend and the ‘Golden Girl’ of Australian track and field events, Ms Cuthbert also campaigned for research funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, after being diagnosed with MS in the 1970s.

“She worked hard to deliver messages about MS to a huge number of schools across the country, and has given educational talks at most schools in Mandurah.

“The City was proud to honour Ms Cuthbert by unveiling the Betty Cuthbert Park in Halls Head in February 2014. She will be missed among the Mandurah community.”

Ms Cuthbert was born in Merrylands in Sydney’s western suburbs, attending Ermington Public School and Parramatta Home Science School.

She made her Olympic debut at the 1956 Melbourne Games where she set a world record in the 200 metres.

Ms Cuthbert remains the only Olympian to have won a gold medal in all sprint events, being the 100, 200 and 400 metres.

She moved away from the eastern states in 1991, settling in Mandurah.

A spokeswoman for the City of Mandurah said the community was welcome to attend the service.

In order to manage an expected large number of attendees, the CASM, Mandurah Seniors and Community Centre, and Reading Cinema carparks will be closed to the public on Wednesday (open to those attending the service).

About Betty Cuthbert

  • Ms Cuthbert’s list of triumphs and accomplishments is huge, from her four Olympic gold medals in track and field, to becoming the Patron of Multiple Sclerosis research in Australia
  • At the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956, Betty became the first Australian ever, male or female, to win three Gold medals at a single Olympics.
  • She has created and broken world records, and has certainly earned her title of the ‘Golden Girl’ of Australian track and field
  • Not only has Betty excelled in her sporting pursuits, but she has become an outstanding leader and educator on the impacts of Multiple Sclerosis
  • After being diagnosed with MS in the 1970s, Betty began actively campaigning for research funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and it’s something she remained committed to and passionate about for many years
  • In addition to her sporting and Olympic achievements, Ms Cuthbert has delivered many educational talks to school children about her athletic accomplishments and the impacts of multiple sclerosis.
  • Betty was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to sport and the community in 1984, and she was one of the final torch bearers in the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games
  • Betty was appointed an inaugural member of the International Association of Athletics Federation’s Hall of Fame in Barcelona. She was one of just 24 athletes to be honoured as part of the Federation’s 100-year anniversary
  • Betty also had a rose named in her honour
  • Betty moved to Mandurah in 1991
  • The City held an official naming ceremony and unveiled a sign at Betty Cuthbert Park in February 2014 in recognition of her many achievements. The Park is on the corner of Tennyson Avenue and Glencoe Parade in Halls Head.