An article on Bill Coleman in The Axemen’s News 1961
The Axmen’s News 1961
Bill Coleman Proved The Star Attraction
Star attraction at the Lithgow Six Hour Day sports was a phenomenal display of feats of
strength and endurance by Lithgow’s – Mr Bill Coleman, of Mort Street.
Mr Coleman, claimed by his friends to be Australia’s strongest man, gave a display that would
be difficult to equal anywhere.
His efforts were all the more amazing because of his age. He was 65 last birthday.
As a warm-up, Mr Coleman casually bent, and then straightened, several six inch nails.
He then proceeded to perform a feat known as ‘The Crucifix’, claimed by experts to be the
most difficult trick a strong-man can perform.
Only his Little Fingers
The feat consisted of raising two 56lb steel blocks above shoulder level with cords looped
only over his little fingers. There are only a few men in the world who can perform this feat.
It was the climax of the display, however, that brought the crowd to their feet with roars of
Mr Coleman laid on a bed of vertical six-inch nails, supporting a 12-in thick block of hardwood
on his chest. An 11-stone axeman, Mr Albert Edwards, of Musket Parade, stood on top of the
block and chopped it through while it was supported by Mr Coleman.
The impressions of the nails were clearly visible in Mr Coleman’s back at the completion of
the amazing feat.
“This act wasn’t on the programme,” Mr Coleman said.
“I was speaking to Mr Jim Blackburn – the axeman’s secretary – in Main Street this morning
and asked him if there was anything I could do to help the committee. ”We got our heads
together and this was the result.”