Development of the Ball

The 32 panel, hand stitched leather netball made in China was well known in it’s time. This ball was great when it was new and the weather was dry however if it became wet it would get slippery and loose its shape easily. The leather netballs were kept in good condition with dubbin.

In the late 1960’s a more waterproof netball was sort as the frequency of netball being played as a winter sport had become more popular. Rubber basketballs and hexagon panelled waterproof soccer balls were among those that were trialed for usage. The colour of ball has gone from a orange-brown or black & white ball to its current white version.

The ball used in a game of netball is to be a netball or size 5 Association Football. The ball should be 690 – 710mm in circumference and 400 – 450 grams in weight.

Netball Australia’s official ball supplier is Gilbert.

Visit the Gilbert website at for detailed information on Gilbert netballs.

Development of Uniforms

In the Beginning
The netball uniforms were woollen box pleat tunics that reached well below the players’ knees. The shirts were of stiff cotton with a collar (suitable to hold a tie). Woollen stockings were also worn.

In 1930’s
In the 1930’s the uniform was widely changed to a blouse, pleated tunic and matching bloomers and sport shoes.

Mid 1930’s & late 1960’s
During this time the tunics gradually shortened in length, socks took the place of stockings, the materials used (wool and cotton) became lighter and finer. This trend continued as the fashions of the time altered. During this time as the tunics shortened, sports briefs replaced bloomers.

Early 1970’s
Tunics were replaced with skirts and polo tops were introduced. Bibs also were also introduced around this time, which made identifying the players’ position easy.

1970’s & mid 1995’s
The polo shirts were made of light cotton knit and followed the trends of the time: skin tight (70’s), looser (80’s) and oversized (90’s).

Mid 1990’s
From 1993 to 1995 most Australian National League teams introduced the body suit. Also at this time bibs were modified to have press-studs or velcro for efficient and easy changeovers.

The body suits today are made out of a lycra based material that is light, durable and easy to wash.

This information is courtesy of Netball Victoria publication (1994) “The Awakening Giant”, Netball Australia “Official Rulebook” and the Netball Australia archives.

Development of Footwear

From when netball first came to Australia in the early 1900’s to the present day, equipment such as netball shoes have evolved in accordance with the games.

The most appropriate shoe to wear depends on the playing surface. Hard, more defined soles for asphalt and softer soles for indoor floorboards.

Everyday Sandshoes
When netball was first introduced to Australia in the Early 1900’s, netball players wore everyday sandshoes before the popular Dunlop Volleys and their black ripple sole were introduced.

Mid 1960’s
As netball moved to indoor stadiums it was agreed that the shoes worn needed to have white soles for the protection of the court. Dunlop developed a shoe with black upper and a white sole. The white sole was suitable for indoor and outdoor netball courts.

Major Changes
Shoe companies produced a wider range of shoes and netballers experimented with such shoes as Adidas Romes, Dunlop KT 26’s and netball specific shoes Dunlop ‘Supershots’ and Puma’s ‘Crosscourt”.

Shoes Today
When selecting shoes today, players have the following features to consider:

  • heel counter
  • heal raise
  • stability straps
  • microbells
  • gel layers

Netball Australia’s official shoe supplier is Asics.Asics offer a wide range of shoes including netball specific shoes. Visit the Asics website at for more information.

National Sports Museum

Visit the National Sports Museum to find out more about our netball history.