The History of Netball Australia  

Netball landed on Australian shores in 1897. And it wasn’t long until demand grew for one, national organising body. 

The origins of Netball Australia technically began on 26 August, 1927, during an interstate women’s basket ball carnival. Back then it was known as the All Australia Women’s Basket Ball Association. The founding members were New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. 

Tasmania didn’t take long to join, competing in national tournaments since 1933. The Australian Capital Territory became a member in 1975, and the Northern Territory followed in 1977.  

The game really changed in the 1970s. For one thing, netball was no longer referred to as “women’s basketball”. In fact the word ‘women’ was dropped all together. The organisation became simply the All Australia Netball Association.  

After incorporating as a public entity in the 1980s, that name was eventually shortened to Netball Australia in 1993.  

The Netball Australia Council oversees the development of the national game, and it’s made up of representatives from every state and territory in the country.  

The Council also elects the Board of Directors, who are in charge of governance and operations, including long-term financial planning. The Board meets at least six times a year. It consists of a President, Finance Director, six Ordinary Directors and the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer also carries out the role of Public Officer. 

Netball History Timeline

First recorded inter-school 7-a-side basketball competition in Victoria

New Zealand Netball Association formed

All England Netball Association formed 

First recorded interstate match held in Sydney 

Proud’s Challenge Cup donated as prize for Interstate Championships

All Australia Women's Basket Ball Association (AAWBBA) formed with five foundation members (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia) 
First All Australia Carnival (now known as National Netball Championships) is held in Melbourne and won by Victoria   

First All Australia (AA) Umpires’ Award is presented to Anne Clark (NSW) and Elsie Ferris (VIC)  

First Umpire’s Committee established 
Tasmania joins interstate competition

First All Australia Team named to play in Centenary Celebrations in Melbourne in 1935 

Australia defeat New Zealand 40-11 in Melbourne in the first international match. It is the beginning of a long-standing rivalry 

Elix Shield introduced replacing the Proud’s Challenge Cup until 1977  

All Australia team named for first tour to New Zealand but tour abandoned until 1948 due to World War II 

2,891 registered players nationwide 

Australia travel to New Zealand for the first competition on Kiwi soil. Australia won the three 7-a-side Tests and all other matches except one 9-a-side game.

More than 7,000 people watch a representative Australian team defeat England 14-11 in London – the first international netball team to enter their country 

Representatives from Australia, England, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, South Africa, the US and Wales meet in London to draw up an International Code of Rules  

Netball Australia Service Award introduced with four inaugural recipients: Elsie Ferris (VIC), Edith Hull (VIC), Helen Mann (NSW) and Pat Rooney (QLD)

International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) is established with six nations in attendance.
Close to 60 National Netball Associations are now affiliated to IFNA, grouped into five regions - Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania
International Code of Rules accepted 
1st World Tournament (now known as World Netball Championship) held in Eastbourne, England. Australia is undefeated and become the inaugural World Champions, its closest match being against New Zealand which Australia won 37-36

2nd World Tournament held in Perth, WA. New Zealand become World Champions, defeating Australia 40-34 on the final day

Decision was made to change the name of the game to ‘netball’ and delete the word ‘women’s’ so that the name of the association became the All Australia Netball Association (AANA)
Anti-apartheid demonstrations – riots, arrests, injury and damage to the stadium - accompanied the first visit by a South African team to Australia 
Australia wins the 3rd World Tournament in Kingston, Jamaica undefeated, beating New Zealand 48- 42 in the last game

Australia undefeated, draw with New Zealand 34-34 to again become World Champions at 4th World Netball Championship held in Auckland, New Zealand 
Following AANA constitutional change, Australian Capital Territory Netball Association affiliated 

AA Club Carnival introduced 

Northern Territory Netball Association affiliated
200,000 registered players nationwide 

A national headquarters is established at Challis House in Martin Place, Sydney with the first salaried position Helen Edmunds-Jones, National Executive Officer and the first elected President, Deidre Hyland
Australia equal first (with New Zealand & Trinidad/Tobago) at the 5th World Tournament in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago - played in pools for the first time

Netball becomes one of eight foundation sports at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra 

Australia defeats New Zealand 47-42 to become World Netball Champions at the 6th World Tournament in Singapore  
First 21/U Australian Team (Young Australians) is selected for a tour of New Zealand where they win all three matches  
Australia’s first women’s national league competition, the Esso Netball Super League, is launched with the Australian Institute of Sport the inaugural champions 
Margaret Caldow BEM is inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame  
The All Australia Netball Association Ltd is incorporated, and establishes its own headquarters, ‘Netball House’, in Harris Park, Sydney 
Jean Cowan MBE is inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame  
A Players Trust Fund policy is introduced to enable elite players to earn from the sport 
New Zealand win the 7th World Tournament in Glasgow, Scotland, after defeating Australia in the final rounds  
Anne Sargeant OAM is inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame 

Australia wins the first World Youth Netball Championship held in Canberra defeating England 75-23.
Joyce Brown and Deidre Hyland inducted as inaugural associate members of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

Netball is a demonstration sport at Commonwealth Games in Auckland and Australia defeat New Zealand 53-35 
Australia hosts the 8th World Netball Championship (formerly known as World Tournament) in Sydney and in a nail-biting finish defeat New Zealand 53-52 
Australia moves into the IFNA Asian Region (formerly in Oceania)  

Australia win silver in the second World Youth Cup in Fiji, defeated by New Zealand 44-40 
Netball acknowledged as a "Recognised Sport" by the International Olympic Committee 
A National Umpiring Badge is introduced  

9th World Netball Championship held in Birmingham, England. Australia defeats South Africa 68-48 to win the World Championship title  

Australia wins third World Youth Cup in Canada, defeating New Zealand 62-58

The inaugural year of the Commonwealth Bank Trophy with the Melbourne Phoenix defeating the Adelaide Thunderbirds 58-48 in the final 
Australia wins the first netball gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia defeating New Zealand 42-39. 

Australia regains the World Netball Championship title at the 10th World Championship in Christchurch New Zealand, defeating favourite New Zealand 42-41 with Sharelle McMahon scoring the winning goal in the dying seconds of the match.

Australia wins fourth World Youth Cup in Wales, defeating Jamaica 58-47

Netball Australia’s headquarters relocate to new premises in Marion Street, Harris Park  
Australia retains the Commonwealth Games title in Manchester defeating New Zealand 57-55

New Zealand wins the 11th World Netball Championship in Kingston, Jamaica, defeating Australia in the final 49-47 
A world record crowd of 14,339 attends Australia v New Zealand Test at Sydney’s Superdome 
Vicki Wilson OAM is inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame 
Commonwealth Bank Trophy celebrates its 10th season 
Melbourne hosts the 2006 Commonwealth Games and Australia win the silver medal with New Zealand taking gold, 60-55 
A landmark decision is made to move Netball Australia’s headquarters from Sydney to Melbourne 
Netball Australia opens headquarters in King Street, Melbourne
Commonwealth Bank Trophy comes to an end after 11 years
Australia reclaims the world number one ranking, winning the 2007 World Netball Championship held in Auckland, defeating New Zealand 42-38
Australia’s highest-capped player at 122 tests Liz Ellis retires from the sport
A new era in Australian sport is born with the commencement of the semi-professional ANZ Championship 
Netball Australia sign a groundbreaking agreement with Network Ten to broadcast all Australian Diamonds test matches
Australian Netball Diamonds are launched
Netball’s junior development program NetSetGO! Is rolled out nationally
Australian Netball Hall of Fame is launched with six inductees (General – Jean Cowan OAM, Eunice Gill MBE, Deidre Hyland AM and Athlete – Joyce Brown OAM, Margaret Caldow OAM, BEM, Anne Sargeant OAM, Vicki Wilson AOM)
Liz Ellis Diamond is introduced - the highest individual honour in Australian Netball - inaugural winner is Mo’onia Gerrard

Australia 21/Under team wins the World Youth Netball Championship held in Cook Islands.
Six new inductees into the Australian Netball Hall of Fame – (General – Gweneth Benzie AM, Anne Clark BEM(C) (dec), Lorna McConchie (dec) and Athlete – Michelle den Dekker OAM, Jill McIntosh, Gaye Teede)
Australian Netball Diamonds retain World Number 1 ranking.
Diamond Girl made her debut at the Brisbane Test.
MyNetball, a new online membership portal is launched