In 2016 The chair of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, John Bertrand, commented that there is a tsunami in Australia at the moment and it’s called women’s sport.
However, this ‘overnight sensation’ of the rise of women’s sport has actually been forming for over 100 years.
In the early 1900s as Victorian Women gained the right to vote (Federal 1902, State 1908) the first game of netball was played in Victoria.
In the 1930s when the now iconic Women’s Weekly was launched, Victoria hosted the first International Netball match between Australia and New Zealand; beginning the fierce rivalry we know today. The match held at Wirths Olympia (now the site of the Arts Centre), saw Victorian Edith Hull (pictured above) coach the team to a 40-11 win.
The 1960s brought about massive social change for women in both the work and family life. Meanwhile, our netballers fought for a new dedicated netball stadium at Royal Park.
The Anne Henderson Stadium was named after a formidable force in netball administration, coaching and umpiring (pictured above, third from the right).
Current Netball Legend Joyce Brown reflects; “it was these ‘can do’ women and their committees who made our sport more noticeable to the media and government, more attractive to sponsors and put us on the sporting map. They were great role models and taught the next generation to learn, contribute and to manage our own sport professionally.”
At Netball Victoria as we celebrate the tsunami of Women’s Sport, we pay homage to our sisters in other sporting codes, whilst we also herald a new era in netball. Victorian Netballers proudly championed a landmark pay deal for women’s sport and we continue to pave the way.
Netball Victoria’s membership is 98% female. On International Women’s Day we honour the women who came before us, the legacy they created. The women driving our game now who continue to press for progress and the girls who will continue to shine and grow our sport for years to come. Let the waves keep rolling in!