The son of Richard Gailey, a prominent Brisbane architect, Francis Gailey was educated at Brisbane Grammar School. A regular medallist at Queensland championships he placed third in the 440 yards at the Australasian Championships in 1902. In February 1904 he travelled to California and joined the Olympic Club of San Francisco where his compatriot Syd Cavill was head coach. At St. Louis he was unlucky to be matched against Charlie Daniels, Germany’s Emil Rausch, and Hungary’s Géza Kiss at the 1904 Olympics. Though Gailey swam well, those three prevented him from winning a gold medal. Later in 1904 he set a world record for the quarter-mile in San Francisco and became the first man to break six minutes for the distance. He returned to Australia but in 1906 settled permanently in America working first as a banker then became a manager of orange-grove plantations in Southern California. Gailey eventually became a naturalized American but at the time of the St. Louis Olympics was an Australian citizen, a fact that was not discovered until 2008
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