Bodybuilding in Australia

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Bodybuilding competitions in Australia date back to at least 1947 and the first Mr Australia contest. While the early years were heavily dominated by male competitions, the rise of female bodybuilding in Australia, especially throughout the 1970's and 1980's, has resulted in many instances in greater numbers of women competing than men. Within Australia there are numerous governing bodies each independently promoting competitions, including in alphabetical order:


Historically in Australia, women involved with body building have been talked openly about their plans to marry. This was to prevent rumours about their sexuality.[1] The 1970s saw an increase in the number of women participating in the sport.[2] As an organized sport, bodybuilding officially came to Australia in 1981, having been brought to the country by Americans.[3] The most highly visible Australian woman bodybuilder in the early period of the sport was Bev Francis who made the switch from athletics and powerlifting. Her success was limited at times because judges viewed her as too muscular.[3]

In 1974, Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Australia as guest poser at an amateur competition that Austrian born Canberra based Harry Haureliuk participated in, his first bodybuilding competition.[4] In 1980, Arnold Schwarzenegger won the Mr. Olympian which was hosted in Sydney, Australia.[5]

Bodybuilding culture traditionally involved the use of steroids. Following periodic bans introduced by the IOC and the IFBB campaigning for bodybuilding to become and Olympic Sport the focus on anti-doping and natural competitions increased. Natural bodybuilding competitions started to take place in the country during the 1990s however actual drug testing was not included until much later.


Bodybuilding within Australia is governed by several competing organisations, each affiliated to a larger international organisation. Some organisations administer drug testing through the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority. The extent of this is generally unknown, however the INBA has been recognised for its decision to ban athletes for anti-doping violations. In the early years of Australian bodybuilding individual promoters were responsible for producing events. Over time, groups of promoters began forming affiliations with one another and creating associations. The United Body-Builders of Australia and Rocco Oppedisano's Pacific Body Building International are two such examples.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stell, Marion K. (1991). Half the Race, A history of Australian women in sport. North Ryde, Australia: Harper Collins. p. 183. ISBN 0-207-16971-3. 
  2. ^ Stell, Marion K. (1991). Half the Race, A history of Australian women in sport. North Ryde, Australia: Harper Collins. p. 252. ISBN 0-207-16971-3. 
  3. ^ a b Stell, Marion K. (1991). Half the Race, A history of Australian women in sport. North Ryde, Australia: Harper Collins. p. 255. ISBN 0-207-16971-3. 
  4. ^ Chris Wilson (23 January 2013). "Harry muscles up with Arnie". Australia: Canberra Times. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Robert H. Kennedy (20 August 2013). Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding. Robert Kennedy Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55210-130-8.