Marjorie Jackson-Nelson

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The Honourable
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson
Marjorie Jackson.jpg
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson in 2007
33rd Governor of South Australia
In office
3 November 2001 – 8 August 2007
Monarch Queen Elizabeth II
Premier Rob Kerin (2001–02)
Mike Rann (2002–07)
Preceded by Sir Eric Neal
Succeeded by Kevin Scarce
Personal details
Born (1931-09-13) 13 September 1931 (age 83)
Coffs Harbour, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Spouse(s) Peter Nelson (1953–77; his death)
Residence Marion, South Australia
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson 1952.jpg
Jackson at a club meeting in Sydney on 12 January 1952
Personal information
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 66 kg (146 lb)
Sport Athletics
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 100 m – 11.4 (1952)
200 m – 23.59 (1952)[1][2]

Marjorie Jackson-Nelson ACCVOMBE (born 13 September 1931) is a former Governor of South Australia and a former Australian athlete. She finished her sporting career with two Olympic and seven Commonwealth Games Gold Medals, six individual world records[1] and every Australian State and National title she contested from 1950–1954.[3]


Marjorie Jackson was born in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, and first gained fame when she defeated reigning Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion Fanny Blankers-Koen a number of times in 1949, thus earning the nickname "the Lithgow Flash", after the New South Wales town of Lithgow where she lived and had grown up.[4]

Having won four titles at the 1950 British Empire Games, Jackson came as a favourite to the Helsinki 1952 Summer Olympics. She won both the 100 m, in a then-world-record-equalling time of 11.5, and the 200 m, winning the first Olympic athletics titles for Australia since Edwin Flack in 1896. Having more strong runners in the team, the Australian 4×100 m relay team was also a favourite for the gold, but a faulty exchange meant Jackson's chances for third gold medal were gone. The Americans, anchored by Catherine Hardy (later Lavender), won in an upset, setting a new world record time of 45.9 seconds.[1] Later in 1952, Jackson lowered the 100 m world record time to 11.4, running this new record in a meet at Gifu, Japan on 4 October 1952.[2]

In 1953 Jackson married Olympic cyclist Peter Nelson.[1] After his death from leukaemia in 1977, she launched the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellowship.

Marjorie Jackson-Nelson was one of the eight flag-bearers of the Olympic Flag at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

In late 2001, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson was appointed Governor of South Australia. She relinquished the office on 31 July 2007.[1]

On 15 March 2006, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson was one of the final four runners who carried the Queen's Baton around the MCG stadium during the 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Melbourne.

On 6 June 2007, it was announced that a new medical facility to be built in Adelaide will be named the "Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Hospital". On 18 February 2009, Premier Mike Rann agreed to remove her name from the planned hospital.

She also has a road named in honour of her at the Sydney Olympic Park, beside the Sydney Superdome (now Allphones Arena).


She is also a Dame of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and a Freeman of the City of London.

In 1993, the State Transit Authority of New South Wales named a Sydney RiverCat ferry after Jackson-Nelson.


  1. ^ a b c d e Marjorie Jackson.
  2. ^ a b Marjorie Jackson (neé Nelson).
  3. ^ a b "Olympic Order for Lithgow Flash". The Canberra Times. 16 July 2007. p. 4. 
  4. ^ Jackson Nelson, Marjorie (31 May 2004). GNT History (transcript). Interview with George Negus. George Negus Tonight. ABC1. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  5. ^ It's an Honour – Member of the Order of the British Empire
  6. ^ "Marjorie Jackson Nelson AC CVO MBE". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  7. ^ It's an Honour – Companion of the Order of Australia
  8. ^ It's an Honour – Commander of the Royal Victorian Order


External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Eric Neal
Governor of South Australia
Succeeded by
Kevin Scarce