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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Stephen Mark Hawkins OAM

Stephen Mark Hawkins OAM

Inducted 2003

b. 14 January 1971

Etched into the memory of millions of television viewers who were watching the rowing events of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games was the sight of an exhausted Peter Antonie leaning backwards and collapsing in the arms of his crew mate Stephen Hawkins after the pair had just won the Gold Medal in the double sculls.

The pairing was an odd match. Antonie was a veteran and a heavyweight while Hawkins was just 21 and a lightweight rower. They conceded an average 15kgs to their opposition and had only 6 months together as a combination.

Stephen, as a member of the strong Lindisfarne Rowing Club, was first selected to represent his country in 1989 in the Trans Tasman Challenge - beginning an international career which spanned just five years.

At the World Rowing Championships at Tasmania's own Lake Barrington in the following year, 1990, he competed as a member of the lightweight quad scull crew and won a bronze medal.

In the 1991 World Titles in Vienna, in the same lightweight scull division, the crew improved to win a Gold Medal - a wonderful result. The pairing of Antonie (34 years of age) and Hawkins (21) for the Barcelona Olympics was somewhat of a gamble by the Australian selectors. The pair, coached by the Tasmanian Director of Coaching, Tim McLaren, combined superbly right from their first row as a crew despite only getting together in April of the Olympic year at the national titles at Lake Barrington where they won gold.

Their victory, ahead of Austria and Holland on Lake Banyoles in 1992, was Australia's first rowing gold medal at the Olympics for 44 years and cemented the 'pocket rockets' as they were affectionately known, as part of Australian sporting history.