Story: Sport and the nation

Bob Fitzsimmons in New Zealand, 1910

Bob Fitzsimmons became middle-weight boxing champion of the world in 1891, but did not at that time attract much publicity in New Zealand. However, when he returned on a visit in 1910, he was given a hero's welcome. This letter and photo were presented to the Club Hotel in Timaru, which was Fitzsimmons's home town, as mementos of that visit.

The letter to J. D. Barnett from the Star Hotel in Auckland reads: 'Dear friend, these articles on boxing has just arrived to me. I have sent a set of them to you inclosed in this letter. You will find them alright. We had a packed house here last night and it was [??] I think we could do a big business this week. This is the [liveliest?] town in New Zealand. I have met a good many good fellows here. They gave me a reception on Monday at above hotel. They are all right here, a good lot of fellows. I trust you receive the articles alright and hope they will do you good. With best wishes to you and yours. I am merrily yours, Robert Fitzsimmons.'

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South Canterbury Museum
Reference: P 1995/45.8 A

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Sport and the nation - Beginnings of sporting nationalism', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 May 2022)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 5 Sep 2013