The bronze medal won by the men’s eight at Helsinki 1952 was the best performance to that date by an Australian sweep-oared crew on the international stage. Before Helsinki, all of Australia’s Olympic rowing medals had been won by scullers. The previous best performances were wins in the Grand Challenge Cup at Royal Henley, prior to Stockholm 1912, and at the 1950 Auckland British Empire and Commonwealth Games.
The crew was comprised of Robert Tinning (bow), Ernest Chapman, Nimrod Greenwood, David Anderson, Geoffrey Williamson, Mervyn Finlay, Edward Pain, Phillip Cayzer (stroke) and Thomas Chessel (cox).
Tinning, Cayzer and Pain were members of the eight in Auckland. Only Anderson and Williamson competed at future Olympic Games, when both were members of the coxless four that made the semi-finals at Melbourne 1956. The two also won gold and bronze medals at the 1954 Vancouver British Empire and Commonwealth Games.