The performance of the eight at Melbourne 1956 replicated that of the same category of boat at Helsinki 1952. Australia won its heat from the highly fancied crews from Canada and the United States, thus forcing the latter to progress in the regatta through the repechages. After the semi-finals, Australia, Canada, Sweden and the United States qualified for the final. The battle for the medals was a thrilling affair that saw the United States prevail over Canada and Australia. The gold medal by the United States was its eighth in successive Olympic Games in the eights.
The Australian crew comprised Michael Aikman (bow), David Boykett, Angus (Fred) Benfield, James Howden, Garth Manton, Walter Howell, Adrian Monger, Brian Doyle (stroke) and the cox Harold (Neil) Hewitt.
It was completely new crew from the bronze medal team from Helsinki 1952. Only Howell (Rome 1960) and Boykett (Tokyo 1964) competed at future Olympic Games. Brian Doyle's sons, David and Mark, competed in the Olympic rowing regattas at Los Angeles 1964 and Seoul 1988 respectively. Mark Doyle also rowed in the eight which won the 1986 world championship, at Nottingham.