Nira Stove – first female Olympian of the Parkes Shire!
With the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the Parkes Library history blog will focus on Olympians from the Parkes Shire. Each post will provide a snapshot of the sportsmen and sportswomen who have worn the green and gold and called the Parkes Shire home at some point of their lives. Our first female Olympian from the Parkes Shire, is former Peak Hill resident, Nira Windeatt (née Stove). Nira represented Australia at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games in swimming, achieving fourth in her heat for Womens 100 metres Butterfly.
Photograph of Nira Stove, which appears in A History of Peak Hill and District Chappel, Charles B. (ed) (1989) Parramatta: Macarthur Press, page 378 Print. Photograph courtesy of Nira and Graham Windeatt
When Nira participated in her event at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, colour television was just being introduced to the Parkes Shire. While the coverage for the upcoming Rio Olympics will be around the clock, residents in the Parkes Shire relied on daily radio reports and edited highlights packages on television provided by the ABC.
Photograph of Jeff Stove, Nira’s father. Jeff was the first manager of the Peak Hill swimming pool before they moved away to Narrabri. Source: A History of Peak Hill and District Chappel, Charles B. (ed) (1989) Parramatta: Macarthur Press, page 394 Print
Editor of the brilliant Peak Hill history book, Charles B. Chappel, describes how Peak Hill achieved its own swimming pool:
The Peak Hill and District War Memorial Baths officially opened on November 11, 1961. The pool is a fitting memorial to those who fought in two world wars and a tribute to hard work and generosity of the people of the district who worked from January 8, 1955 until the opening to raise $36,000 as the Baths Committee’s contribution towards the estimated costs of $76,000.
Peak Hill Municipal Council contributed $20,000 and the State Government $20,000. The pool continues to be a source of enjoyment in the warmer months. Since its inception, the pool has had only four managers – Jeff Stove, Fred Whimpey, Bob Barnes and the present manager, John Palmer.
Source: A History of Peak Hill and District Chappel, Charles B. (ed) (1989) Parramatta: Macarthur Press, page 394 Print
Nira and her family moved to Narrabri in September 1969. Nira is one of the sportspeople on the Narrabri Sporting Wall of Fame. This feature was unveiled when Narrabri was named as Australia’s Sportiest Town in 2011. HistoryParkes is not wishing to stir up rivalry between Parkes Shire and Narrabri Shire as the list of sportspeople from Narrabri is impressive. Our aim is also to highlight that Nira Stove grew up in the Parkes Shire, attended a school here (Peak Hill Central School) and indeed was coached in swimming at Peak Hill pool by her father before moving away.
Results of the 1975 Swimming World Championships where Nira Stove finished fourth in Women’s 200 metres butterfly. Source: The Canberra Times Monday 28 July 1975 page 10
List of the Australian swimming team including former Peak Hill resident Nira Stove. Also listed is Nira’s future husband Graham Windeatt, who also went to Munich in 1972 where he won a silver medal in 1500 metres. Source: Swimming Australia website
Future Olympic representative Nira Stove, student at Peak Hill Central School until the family moved to Narrabri. Source: McKeown, Brian. A History of Peak Hill Central School: 1890-1990. Peak Hill, N.S.W.: Peak Hill Central School Centenary Committee, 1990. page 155 Print.
Nira at the opening ceremony of the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, dressed in Australian team uniform. Photograph courtesy of Nira and Graham Windeatt
TV program highlighting Nira Stove’s event 100 metres Butterfly. Source: The Canberra Times Wednesday 21 July 1976 page 35
Details of the fourth day’s events for 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, with Nira Stove highlighted. Source: The Canberra Times Friday 23 July 1976 page 16
Advertisement for radio coverage of the Montreal Olympic Games. When Nira competed, in 1976, radio was the main source of news and information regarding the Olympic Games. Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday July 19. 1976 page 6
Nira Stove in action in the pool. Photograph courtesy of Nira and Graham Windeatt
The Australian swimming team for 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. Nira is front row, third from left. Photograph courtesy of Nira and Graham Windeatt
A copy of the television guide to ABC’s coverage of the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. Television provided limited coverage and colour was only just introduced to Australians in 1975. With no home recording devices – such as video recorders and PVRs – and no “catch up” tv stations if you missed it, then that was your only chance to view events you wanted to see. Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday July 19 1976 page 11
Nira Stove, standing next to future husband and fellow Olympian, Graham Windeatt. before departing for Montreal. Photograph courtesy of Nira and Graham Windeatt
Nira met future husband, Graham Windeatt, at the 1975 Swimming World Championships in Cali, Columbia. Nira recalls that the two trained together during Olympic training camp and then shared the adventure of the Montreal Olympic Games. In 1979 they were married in Xavier Church, Narrabri. Graham and Nira have been together for over 40 years and have two adult children, who both excel in a number of sports. Just prior to the Rio Olympic Games, Nira and Graham attended a Montreal Games swim team reunion.
Parkes Shire Library would like to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance in making this post possible:
If you have stories or memories that you are willing to share about Nira Windeatt (née Stove) or any of the other Olympians of the Parkes Shire , please contact Parkes Shire Library via firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can be shared and kept for posterity on this blog. Alternatively you may leave comments on this page.
REFERENCE LIST (in order of appearance in above article)
“White T-Shirt Montréal 1976.” Olympic Shop. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2016.
Chappel, C. B. (1989). A History of Peak Hill and District (p. 378). Parramatta, NSW: Macarthur Press.
- Chappel, C. B. (1989). A History of Peak Hill and District (p. 394). Parramatta, NSW: Macarthur Press.
“Narrabri :: Narrabri Shire Council: Australia’s Sportiest Shire.” Narrabri :: Narrabri Shire Council: Australia’s Sportiest Shire. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2016.
ROUND-UP OF SPORTING DETAILS (1975, July 28).The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995)
, , p. 10. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110649501
1976 Montreal, Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2016, from http://sal-live.aptsolutions.net/article.php?group_id=3527
McKeown, B. (1990). Roll Call. In A History of Peak Hill Central School 1890-1990 (p. 155). Peak Hill, NSW: Peak Hill Central School Centenary Committee.
- PROGRAM OF EVENTS (1976, July 21). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), , p. 35. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110818288
- DETAILS OF THE FOURTH DAY’S EVENTS (1976, July 23). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), , p. 16. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110818551
Olympics 1976 [Advertisement]. (1976, July 19). Parkes Champion Post, p. 6.
Your Complete Guide To The Olympic Games On ABC Television [Advertisement]. (1976, July 19). Parkes Champion Post, p. 11.
- Roller disco… (1979, June 6). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), , p. 12. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47252336