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Celebrating 100 years of korfball
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Celebrating 100 years of korfball

Geelong Central Netball Association will celebrate its 100th anniversary in October with an all-ages party to be held at Provenance Wines in Fyansford.

The location is appropriate given the association’s origins; beginning in the 1920s when women’s basketball was played in the woolen mills, providing an opportunity for exercise and social involvement, especially for the English women who were brought out to use the machines.

The factory managers drew tracks on the floor and the games were played mainly during lunch.

By the 1930s, more and more girls wanted to play, and two gravel courts were built in Kardinia Park, on land previously occupied by a zoo and lily ponds.

In the 1950s, more courts were built at Kardinia Park at its current location and summer basketball was introduced due to its popularity.

In 1958, the first field lights were installed to make night games possible.

“The cost was £300, and the money was raised within 12 months through street stalls, flea markets and a garden party,” Geelong Central said.

Netball Association secretary Liz Coles said.

In 1960, Geelong Unity was chosen as the only country association to host the visiting New Zealand team.

“They played three Geelong teams and were taken for a bus trip

to Queenscliffe and then back to the Town Hall for a reception with the Mayor,” Ms Coles said.

“They were also the first country team to be invited to play in the Victorian Women’s Basketball Association in Melbourne, with our girls now being selected in the state and state tour squads.”

One of these players from the 1960s, Ellen O’Shannessy, became vice-captain and then captain of the Australian team.

“Ellen grew up in Colac and moved to Geelong to attend Teachers College,” Ms Coles said.

“Having lost a bit of her enthusiasm, she had decided to give the game away until Holly Carew, association legend who is celebrating her 100th birthday this year, tapped her on the shoulder in a shop in Geelong and said she was too good to play. stop playing. .”

Mrs Carew contacted Lionel Foster at East Rovers Club and Ellen was soon back on the courts at Kardinia Park.

“Ellen was a very fast and skilled centre,” Ms Coles said.

“She was a member of the Victorian State Team and captained the team in 1966 and 1968. She was also selected in the Australian team as vice-captain in 1966 and 1967, and as captain in 1968 and 1969, but retired before the season 1969 started. .

“Ellen has always loved helping with youth players and is still involved with Cobden to this day.”

Today, the Geelong Central Netball Association offers programs and competitions for NetSetGo, minis, juniors, boys U12s and U14s, seniors, mixed, walking netball and all levels, with over 400 registered players, all still based at Kardinia Park.

A “Save The Date” and further details of the official 100-year celebration will be announced via the association’s social media channels in the coming months.

Those who would like to attend should mark their calendars for October 13 at Provenance Wines.

Participants can expect an afternoon full of history, stories and memorabilia plus an exciting panel of speakers.

For more information or to be added to the invitation list, or to share memorabilia or stories in the lead up to the event, please email (email protected).