Netball greats make donations to sports museum

Netball display 3Netball’s presence in the National Sports Museum has increased with three international greats donating special uniforms to go on display in the netball showcase.

The uniform worn by Natalie von Bertouch when she led Australia to a famous win at the 2011 World Netball Championships in Singapore and Liz Ellis’ Australian 1995 uniform are among the items which now takes pride of place in the showcase.

Ellis’ Sydney Swifts uniform that she wore in the former national league was already part of the showcase.

Current Diamonds’ squad member Natalie Medhurst has donated the Queensland Firebirds uniform she wore during the team’s historic 2011 ANZ Championship season, where they went through the entire season undefeated to win their first premiership.

The new acquisitions will feature alongside Terese Delaney’s Australian team tunic worn in 1971, the shoes worn by Laura Geitz during the Queensland Firebirds’ historic 2011 ANZ Championship season and two netballs – one used in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and the other used during the 2013 International Test Series.

NSM_Brandmark_Master_POS_CMYKThe netball showcase can be viewed by the public in the National Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

While the world championship uniform is special to von Bertouch, she had no hesitation in donating it to the National Sports Museum when asked and hopes it inspires young girls to one day follow in her footsteps.

“If I was a young netballer, I’d stand there and look at it and one day aspire to have a dress like that for myself,” von Bertouch said.

“And who knows – one day one of those girls will end up wearing their own Australian Diamonds dress.

“We are the lucky few who get to play for Australia, but all of Australia gets behind us and for me it’s a way to say thanks and that we recognise the support that we get from back home.”

Netball Australia CEO Kate Palmer said praised the three icons for donating items that are special to them for the showcase.

“This is really very important to ensure the heritage of Australian netball is displayed and protected,” Palmer said.

“The fact that the National Sports Museum has a showcase for netball is an absolute honour and it’s a credit to them because they see that the sport is bigger than themselves.”

One of the most respected names in netball, Ellis’ elite career spanned 18 years and saw her win two Commonwealth Gold Medals, three World Championships, four National League titles and play a record 122 Tests for Australia.

She retired after leading Australia to victory at the 2007 World Championship in New Zealand.

A veteran of 76 Tests, von Bertouch also captained Australia from 2010 until retiring from all forms of netball last year.

National Sports Museum curator Helen Walpole is thrilled that the uniforms of Australia’s netball greats would now permanently reside at the home of sport.

“We’ve been quite overwhelmed by the generosity of these women and their willingness to donate their treasured uniforms to the museum,” she said.

“These match-worn uniforms help us to get up close to their moment in Australian sporting history.”