HerStory Archive

For various reasons, it has not been possible to include a photo with this Archive entry. If you’d like to come forward with photos, please see the Contribute page at the bottom left

FREEMAN, Catherine Astrid Salome

Also known as: Cathy

Born: 16/2/1973

Aboriginal or Torrest Stait Islander: Yes

Special Achievements:

Catherine Freeman was the first Aboriginal person to win an international track medal at the Commonwealth Games (Auckland, 1990) (at the age of 16) and the first to win Commonwealth gold (in Canada in 1994).  In 1992 she became the first Aboriginal track athlete to represent Australia at the Olympic Games (Barcelona, 1992).  At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney she became the first still-competing competitor to light the Olympic cauldron and the first Indigenous Australian to win an individual Olympic gold medal when she won the 400 metre sprint.  She retired from athletics in 2003.  

“Here you had an Indigenous Australian sportswoman in the most conspicuous event of those Games [the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games].  If something could be touched in a moment, well, you never know what potential such a moment might hold” (Tim Lane in the documentary “Sporting Nation”, reproduced by permission of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation © Princess Pictures.  All rights reserved.)

Additional Information:

Catherine Freeman was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and the Centenary Medal in 2001; she also received a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2001. 

In 2007 she set-up the Cathy Freeman Foundation which supports children in a number of Aboriginal communities, including Palm Island and Woorabinda where, respectively, her mother and father are from.  The purpose of the Foundation is to “close the education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and to provide pathways to a brighter future”.


Resources