Prestige, privilege and polite society: The origins of fencing in New South Wales, 1800 to 1939

Australian Society for Sports History
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Sporting Traditions, 2010, 27 (1), pp. 67 - 83
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Fencing has been an Olympic sport since 1896, but even with that status it has attracted little interest from historians. Internationally the major study of fencing is Cohenï½s By the Sword (2002), which is not a history per se but rather snapshots of different people and times. Within that potted context, Australian fencing receives no mention, though such an omission may not surprise. Sporting Traditions has never published a paper on 15 of the 23 Summer Olympic Sports, including fencing. If there is to be worthwhile analysis of the Olympic movement and of the Games, surely an understanding of all of the sports of which the Olympics are comprised is a necessity. Further, while these 15 overlooked sports may be considered `minorï½ in Australia, many other countries ascribe great value to them. Indeed, in terms of fencing, World Championships typically have television coverage in more than 50 nations.
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