Netball paid homage to a rich history in its 80th anniversary year, inducting its first members into the Australian Netball Hall of Fame at a gala dinner in Melbourne on November 29th.
An illustrious group of the sport`s most respected and celebrated champions have been honoured as the inaugural inductees, each having made a significant contribution to Australian netball and achieved excellence at the highest level.
Former legendary players and Australian captains, Marg Caldow, Jean Cowan, Anne Sargeant and Vicki Wilson were inducted as Athlete Members.
Pioneering administrator, Eunice Gill (dec), innovative and legendary coach, Joyce Brown and former IFNA and Netball Australia President, Deirdre Hyland were inducted as General Members. All seven inductees are also members of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Netball Australia President, Noeleen Dix paid tribute to the inaugural members.
“Each member reached the pinnacle of our sport in their chosen field and through their significant contributions has left a lasting legacy,” she said.
A trailblazer ahead of her time, Jean Cowan’s passion for the game never waned during five decades of outstanding service as an administrator, umpire and player. Jean debuted for Victoria in 1932, played for Australia in the historic first-ever Test match in 1938 against New Zealand, was appointed Australian vicecaptain and awarded the All Australia Umpires` badge. For more than 40 years, Jean was an inspirational administrator and represented Victoria on the All Australian Netball Council. A member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the Netball Victoria Hall of Fame, Jean was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (BE) in 1976 for her service to netball.
An agile and accurate shooter, Anne Sargeant proudly wore the green and gold for 11 years from 1978, the last six as captain. A three time World Championship player, she steered the Australian Team to victory at the 1979 and 1983 Championships and captained NSW to four national Open championship titles. A member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Anne is also a member of the NSW Hall of Champions and has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to netball.
Regarded as the world’s best shooter of her time, Vicki Wilson represented Australia for 15 years from 1985, the last four as captain. A dead-eye shooter, Vicki played in four World Championships, winning three and skippered Australia to victory at the sport’s Commonwealth Games debut in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. A member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Vicki was also awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
A doyen in Australian coaching, Joyce Brown steered Australia to three World Championship titles and Melbourne Phoenix to dual national league titles. Captain of Australia’s 1963 World Championship winning team, Joyce’s leadership and mentoring skills inspired a generation of young Victorian players. Her visionary outlook set new benchmarks for a National Coaching Accreditation Scheme and introduced the first modified form of the game for kids. A member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Joyce was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her services to sport.
Eunice Gill MBE (dec.
A pioneer sport administrator in Australian sport, Eunice Gill left a lasting legacy. A former Victorian and Australian player in the 1940s, Eunice made a significant impact off the court over four decades. Eunice was captain of the All Australia carnival team in 1946-47 and represented Australia on the successful 1948 tour of New Zealand – Australia’s only international tour from 1939-1955. Later national and Victorian coach, Eunice was also President and national honorary secretary and treasurer of the All Australia Netball Association, Vice-President of IFNA and Australia’s delegate at three World Championships. A foundation Board member of the Confederation of Australian Sport and member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Eunice was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to sport, recreation and physical education.
Deirdre Hyland AM
Deirdre Hyland’s outstanding commitment to serve netball encompassed stints as President of IFNA (1987-91), the All Australia Netball Association (1978-88) and Queensland Netball Association (1974-80). An Australian Team manager on three overseas tours, Deirdre was an official delegate at two World Championships and chaired the organising committee of the 1991 World Netball Championships in Sydney. A member of the Australian Sport Hall of Fame, Deirdre Hyland was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her service to netball.
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