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Elders in Conversation: Elaine Canty


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Elaine Canty is an Australian pioneer.

Canty was Victoria’s first female sports broadcaster on ABC Radio and Television in Victoria, and the first woman to anchor Australia-wide Olympic Games coverage, from Barcelona 1992 (she covered four Games in total). She’s also the first – and only – woman to have been appointed to the AFL Tribunal (in 1996). ‘It caused an enormous ruckus at the time because I hadn’t played football,’ she recently told Sydney Morning Herald, ‘but no one thought to ask if the eight other tribunal members had played AFL football. In fact, only two had.’

For eight years, she presented a daily current affairs and talkback program on 774 ABC Melbourne, and produced an award-winning radio documentary series on drugs in sport – after steroids started to make headlines.

Canty’s corporate credentials are too comprehensive to list, including directorships for the Victorian Institute of Sport, Athletics Australia, M2002 World Masters Games, VicHealth, the State Sport Centre’s Trust and more. She recently retired as the long-serving Chairman of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. She’s also chaired the boards of Queen Victoria Market and the Melbourne Wholesale Fish Market, and been a director of Royal Women’s Hospital, Womens and Children’s Health and several not-for-profits.

Her work across Australian media, sport and law were recognised this year with her appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia. For Elders in Conversation, she’ll speak with ABC RN’s Amanda Smith about her multi-faceted career – and decades-long contribution to Australian cultural and sporting life.


Elaine Canty

Elaine Canty AM is a pioneer in the media, sport and the law.  She retired recently as the long serving Chairman of the Board of one of Australia’s most iconic institutions, the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. For four years, she chaired the Board of Management of the much loved Queen Vi... Read more

Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith is the presenter of The Body Sphere on ABC Radio National. She trained as a ballet dancer and is a graduate of the dance school of the Victorian College of the Arts. She also has a degree in classics from the University of Melbourne. At the ABC, Amanda created The Sports Facto... Read more


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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.