BORN MAY 8TH, 1956 in Tripoli, Libya, eldest daughter of Noel (Pat) Burley and Nancy Hallam, who was the first ladies singles figure skating champion with Gweneth Molony to represent Australia at the Winter Olympics in 1952. Her father had been stationed at Tripoli by the American Air Force to build a golf course, but she returned to Australia when she was only three-weeks old. Her sister Robyn became the first Australian figure skater to hold an accredited individual world title, winning the 1979 World Professional Ladies Championship in Jaca Spain. Her sister Belinda owns and operates Lake Moodemere Estate with her husband, the sixth-generation Rutherglen wine producer, Michael Chambers.
Nancy guided her firmly in her footsteps and her youthful talent saw her frequently mentioned in the papers and magazines. She practised from St Moritz St Kilda and later at Iceland Ringwood, her parents rink in Melbourne, under Canadian professional, Don Jeandron. Her photo was on the front page of the Melbourne Sun more often than any other athlete of her time. She became Junior Ladies Champion in 1969 and four-times Australian Ladies Champion, 1972–5. From 1972 to 1976, she was five-times World Championship competitor. Her placements were: 1972 19/21; 1973 21/28; 1974 26/28; 1975 25/27; and 1976 22/25.
Her mother took her to the northern hemisphere every year to get her the best training and at the age of eighteen she was selected for the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck where she finished twentieth in the figure skating event. The producers of the American show, Ice Follies, were there, scouting for grace and beauty over sheer athleticism. They signed her and American Dorothy Hamill, signaling the start of a new career in the US where she toured for five years with Ice Capades. Back home on June 5th 1977, she was feted on the television show, This Is Your Life. Later in November she finished sixth in the ladies singles of the Prague Skate.
In 1980, she skated with Robyn on the Mike Walsh Show in performances choreographed by Nancy with well-known singers Colleen Hewitt and Simon Gallagher. In 1981, she and her family were invited to tour and coach in China. The visit culminated with her performance with Robyn in Beijing for twenty thousand very excited Chinese spectators. She was a principal skater with Robyn in Torvill & Dean's Australian Tour after the couple had astonished the world at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. It was arranged and choreographed by Nancy through Michael Edgley.
In 2017 she was coaching at Iceland Ice Rink, Bundall, Queensland, and still operated the ice rink business with her husband and children that her father once managed. She was one of the inaugural inductees to Ice Skating Australia's Hall of Fame in August 2004 with her sister Robyn and both parents.
Ross Carpenter, 'Burely, Robyn (1958 - )', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/legends-2/bio-burley-r.html, accessed online .
Icelander: Pat Burley and the temples of hope, Legends of Australian Ice, Ross Carpenter, Online
This Is Your Life, TV Show, Australia, June 5th 1977