Andrew Murray (Boy) Charlton

Andrew Murray Charlton (12 August 1907 – 10 December 1975), known popularly as Boy Charlton, was an Australian freestyle swimmer of the 1920s and 1930s who won a gold medal in the 1500 m freestyle at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Andrew Charlton set five world records and also won a further three silver and one bronze medal in his Olympic career.


Early life

Charlton was born in Crows Nest, Sydney, as the only son of Oswald and Ada Charlton. The accounts of his early life vary: the Australian Dictionary of Biography states that his father was a bank manager, while other sources suggest that he was raised in low socio-economic conditions and relied on benefactors to support his career. He was raised in the northern seaside suburb of Manly and was educated at Manly Public School and later Sydney Grammar School. Charlton was a member of North Steyne Surf Life Saving club in his teens, before transferring to Manly Life Saving Club in the mid-1920s.


Charlton retired from swimming upon his arrival in Australia, and in 1934 he opened a pharmacy business in Canberra. In 1936 he returned to the land, raising sheep near Tarago, New South Wales. He married on 20 March 1937 and settled on a 12,000-acre (49 km2) property near Goulburn, where he had a son and daughter. He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an “Honour Swimmer” in 1972. There are two swimming pools in Sydney that have been named after Charlton; Sydney Domain Baths were renamed in his honour and the swim centre in Manly was also renamed the Andrew “Boy” Charlton Pool.

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