Archive of 17 original photographs of Elley Bennett, an Australian Aboriginal boxing champion, 1940s-1960s

N.p. N.p., 1940s-1960s. Archiive of 17 vintage photographs of noted Australian Aboriginal bantam and featherweight boxing champion Elley Bennett. Some photographs with newspaper clippings and holograph ink annotations identifying subjects and locations affixed to the versos.

The collection captures Bennett at the peak of his career, and includes several photographs of him in the ring, including photographs of him facing opponents such as Luis Castillo in 1951, and George Barnes in 1953, as well as a photograph taken just after his infamous 1949 match against African American boxer Cecil Schoonmaker at Sydney Stadium. A number of photographs also show Bennett training, riding a stationary bike, sparring, and jumping rope. Finally, four photographs show Bennett at home in Brisbane, smiling alongside his girlfriend and young son, Elliot Roger.

Elliot "Elley" Bennett moved to Brisbane at 21, where he began training under the care of manager Snowy Hill in 1946. Described as an explosive fighter, Bennett would go on to win the Australian bantamweight title in 1948, and the featherweight title in 1951, and would win the majority of his nearly 60 professional matches by knockout. Although poised to take the world title after his astounding win against Schoonmaker, Bennett was unable to face reigning world champion Vic Toweel of South Africa due to apartheid sanctions banning interracial contests. Bennett would retire in good health in 1954, but monetary troubles compounded by gambling debts and alcoholism would leave him in financial duress, and in 1981 he died of pneumonia at the age of 57. Bennett was inducted into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005, and received a posthumous honor by the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame in 2009.

Photographs range from 7 x 9 inches to 8.5 x 12 inches. Very Good plus to Very Good, several with moderate edgewear, chipping, and creasing.


[Book #156239]