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For better or worse, sport mirrors and mediates much of everyday life. Within both the military and colonial spheres, the physical attributes of sport are especially prized as tangible representations of social and cultural hierarchies. In turn, this further enhances the prestige and influence of sport within these two particular environments. Sport becomes particularly potent in instances where military forces undertake garrison duties in overseas colonial and post-colonial environs. This paper highlights the centrality of sport to the lives of the Australian service personnel and their families who were posted to Australia’s garrisons in the decades after World War II. The myriad roles of sport within these overseas garrison environments – as comforter, connector, healer and reinforcer on the one hand, and as isolator, oppressor and subverter on the other – are explored. This paper suggests that, for a variety of reasons, participation in sports served as the central organising force for most Australian service personnel and their families in these Australian military communities.
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