History of the game

As you might imagine, Netball has changed a lot since the 1800s.

The game has become faster, tougher and more tactical. But technology has evolved over time, too. The days of waterlogged leather netballs and woollen box pleats are long gone. 

The ball

Netball was originally played with a 32-panel, hand-stitched leather ball. In the 1960s, to make things waterproof, players experimented with rubber basketballs and soccer balls. The colour changed from orange-brown to present-day white. Gilbert is the official ball supplier for Netball Australia.

The uniforms

The original netball uniform was a woollen box pleat tunic and stiff-collared shirt. In the 1930s, the style shifted to bloomers and sports shoes. By the 1970s, bibs with starting positions became part of the game. These days, players wear high-tech bodysuits, made from durable, light-weight lycra.

The footwear

Netball shoes have evolved alongside the game. In the early 1900s, players wore everyday sandshoes like Dunlop Volleys. By the mid ‘60s, netball moved to indoor stadiums, so shoes developed an upper and white sole. Today’s shoes are engineered with heel counters, gel layers and stability straps.