Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

Search the Guide

To find information in this Guide please select one of the green coloured options.

To Select a Page Group when displayed, right click and select 'Open'.

Copyright Conditions Apply.

MOCKRIDGE, Edward Russell (1928-1958)

MOCKRIDGE, Edward Russell (1928-1958)

Russell Mockridge, 1952. (Pegasus)

Russell Mockridge, 1952. (Pegasus)

Champion cyclist and Olympian, Russell Mockridge gained prominence during the 1950s as one of the most successful cyclists and Olympians of his time and has been described as the best all-round cyclist Australia has ever produced. He was honoured in his home town Geelong when Geelong's new home of cycling at the Belmont Criterium Track was named the Russell Mockridge Pavilion in April 2018.

On 19 November 2015, Russell Mockridge was, as an inaugral member, inducted into the Cycling Hall of Fame.

Russell Mockridge on Victor's dais after 100m Time Trial Helsinki Olympic Games, 1952.

Russell Mockridge on Victor's dais
after 100m Time Trial Helsinki Olympic Games, 1952.

After his family moved to Geelong, Russell attended the Geelong College as a day student from 1933 to 1944. At the Preparatory School he was an active sports participant and in the Preparatory School Sports of October, 1938 came second in the Under 11 Preparatory School Championship after placing second in both the 100 yard and 75 yard races. In 1939, he won the Under 12 High Jump as well as running second in one of the feature novelty races – the Open 50 yard Sack Race.

This early demonstration of sporting excellence continued until 1941 though after this date Russell fades from the School sporting record as one of the younger students at Senior School - probably unable to compete with the much older students of Senior School. A contemporary of his, Alistair Deans, who became a teacher at Geelong College was a friend. Alistair recalled Russell ‘as fairly quiet, a good student, not very sporty, interested in the humanities and very good at Art. He said Russell persuaded him to go pea picking, and they used to do this at weekends to earn money.’

Russell’s early sporting prowess was not his only talent and the Preparatory School Speech Day Program of 1939 featured a play called Make Believe in which both Russell and his brother Robert Graham, featured as pirates. In December, 1939 he was awarded the James Boyd Tuition Scholarship for boys under 14. While at the Senior School he was a member of Shannon House and won House Football Colours in 1944.

Russell Mockridge.

Russell Mockridge.

His first race win was with the Geelong Amateur Cycling Club in 1946. From that first victory he quickly moved to the international stage. As a champion cyclist he competed unsucessfully in the 1948 London OLYMPIC GAMES but excelled at the 1950 Empire Games in Auckland, New Zealand winning gold medals in the time trial and the 1000-metre sprint. He also gained a silver medal in the 4000 metre individual pursuit. He went on to win two gold medals at the 1952 Olympic Games in the 1000 metre time trial and in the 2000 metre tandem event with Lionel Cox. In Australia, he claimed 12 Australian championships including the professional national road race title three years in a row from 1956 to 1958.

Russell Mockridge was tragically killed, aged 30, in a road accident at Clayton in 1958 while racing in the Tour of Gippsland.

His brother, Robert Graham Mockridge, also attended the College from 1933 to 1943 and, as with Russell, was noted at the School for appearing in three successive Glee Club, Gilbert and Sullivan productions under the direction of George Logie Smith.

An obituary in Pegasus described him as follows: 'Russell Mockridge gained world fame and popularity as a cyclist. Taking the highest qualities into that sport, he was an idol of the public; and it was thus a cause for international mourning when he was tragically killed in an accident while setting off in this year's Tour of Gippsland. Russell won two gold medals at the Helsinki Olympic Games, and had many splendid records to his credit. At the time of his death, he was enjoying a very successful season. Before taking up cycling as a profession, Russell had worked with the 'Geelong Advertiser' as a journalist, and for a time had studied to join the ministry. He brought great honour to his school and country by displaying Christian qualities in international sport.' Russell was born at South Melbourne, the second son of Robert Glover Mockridge and Aileen Claire nee Riley.

Russell was at Geelong College in 1940 at a time when a trio of other burgeoning Olympians attended. Don Macmillan, Michael Aikman and future Olympic rowing coach Michael Aitken were all at the Geelong College in that year. The presence at the School in 1938-39 of one of Australia’s earliest Olympians of 1932, A J Hillhouse as an athletics coach further highlighted the College's early Olympic participation.

Russell Mockridge was inducted into the Old Geelong Collegians' Association (OGCA) Notables Gallery at Geelong College in 2011.

Sources: Pegasus December 1938 p 53; Pegasus December 1939 p 48; Pegasus December 1958 p59; Australian Dictionary of Biography; City of Greater Geelong Media Release 27 April 2018.
© The Geelong College. Unless otherwise attributed, The Geelong College asserts its creative and commercial rights over all images and text used in this publication. No images or text material may be copied, reproduced or published without the written authorisation of The College.