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Home > About Us > Fellowships > Creative Fellowships > Previous Creative Fellows > 2016 > Nick Barkla

Nick Barkla

Online archive and website: The Apollo Gym 1850–2016 – The history of the oldest gym in Australia

Nick's project resulted in an online archive and website documenting the creation and expansion of Melbourne's iconic Apollo Gym, the oldest gym in Australia.

The gym was started in 1850 by Tommy Anderson in Collingwood, as a backyard enterprise to help his circus performer friends and family maintain their strength and fitness. In 1935 ownership was taken over by Tommy’s son Paul, Australia’s first bodybuilder and greatest circus strongman. Paul took the gym to a new level in Carlton, and in 1982 he in turn passed on the ownership to his son Paul Jr, who became Australia's first personal trainer.

Nick's research resulted in a resource that not only documented the written, verbal and visual history of the Apollo Gym, but also provided a comprehensive look at the advent and growth of scientific strength training and techniques, diet, bodybuilding, weightlifting, wrestling, martial arts, the introduction of women using gym, health and fitness advertising, and franchising.

Nick Barkla is a Melbourne-based actor/writer/director/producer with broad experience in the Australian entertainment industry. He studied acting and writing in New York and Chicago, and has appeared in many Australian film, TV and theatre productions.

Nick was awarded the inaugural AFI Fellowship to form his own production company, Staunch Films. He has produced feature films and is writing/directing/producing the feature-length documentary The Mighty Apollo, about Paul Anderson's quest for immortality.