For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Netball in Australia.

Netball in Australia

This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (February 2017)

A Netball game held in Australia
Governing bodyNetball Australia
National team(s)Australia
First playedEarly 1897
Registered players360,000
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions
Audience records
Single match2015 Netball World Cup, 16,752, 16 August 2015, Sydney Super Dome[1]

Netball is the most popular women's team participation sport in Australia.[2] In 1985, there were 347,000 players,[3] and in 1995, there were over 360,000 Australian netball players.[4] Throughout most of Australia's netball history, the game has largely been a participation sport; it has not managed to become a large spectator sport.[5] In 2005 and 2006, 56,100 Australians attended one to two netball matches, of these, 41,600 were women.[6] 46,200 attended three to five netball matches, with 34,400 of those spectators being women.[6] 86,400 attended six or more netball matches, with 54,800 spectators being female.[6] Overall, 188,800 people attended netball matches, with 130,800 being female.[6] In 2005 and 2006, netball was the 10th most popular spectator sport for women with Australian rules football (1,011,300), horse racing (912,200), rugby league (542,600), motor sports (462,100), rugby union (232,400), football (212,200), harness racing (190,500), cricket (183,200) and tennis (163,500) all being more popular.[6] The country set an attendance record for a Netball match with a record crowd of 14,339 at the Australia–New Zealand Netball Test held at the Sydney Super Dome game in 2004.[7]

A black-and-white photo of a netball team. All the girls in the picture are school aged, wearing white and have their netball skirts on.
Toowoomba Netball team, 1932.

Netball, at the time called "women's basketball" (distinct from the form of basketball played by women), was introduced to Australia reportedly as early as 1897,[8] although most sources agree that it was established in that country around the start of the 20th century.[9] Interstate competition began in 1924, with the All-Australia Women's Basketball Association formed in 1927. An All-Australian Tournament, later called the Australian National Championships, was first contested between states in 1928, when it was won by Victoria.[10] During the 1930s in Australia, much of the participation in netball at universities was not organised, and players were not required to register.[11] It was believed that this was a positive for Netball as it allowed people to participate who might not have participated otherwise.[11] Australia's national team toured England in 1957.[12] This tour resulted in a number of Commonwealth countries meeting together in order to try to standardize the rules of the game.[12] The sport's name "netball" became official in Australia in 1940.[13][14]

In Australia 80% of all netball played is played at netball clubs.[4] The number of Netball Clubs around Australia has been in decline since the 1940s.[15] Between 1985 and 2003, only two Western Australian towns decreased the distance that Netball players had to travel in order to compete; these towns were Brookton and Pingelly.[16] Prior to the creation of the trans-Tasman ANZ Championship in 2013, the National Netball League was the major competition in Australia.[17] It included teams from the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.[17] After the 2016 ANZ Championship season, Netball Australia pulled out of that competition and established Suncorp Super Netball as the country's new top league.[18]

The Netball demographic profile is a 18 to 24 year old, unmarried, Australian-born, female who is employed full-time.[2] The average Netball player in New South Wales has played the game for 10.8 years.[19] Most New South Wales based school-aged Netball players play at school and with friends.[19] Girls from non-English speaking backgrounds were more likely to play for fun than their English speaking counterparts, who often played for their school or parents.[20] Non-English speaking girls were less likely to have mothers who played netball, 18.2%, compared to 35.2% for their English speaking counterparts.[20] Most New South Wales based adult players played netball for fun, and for the physical benefits of the sport.[20]

The country has hosted several major important international netball events including:

The Australian national netball team is regarded as the most successful netball team in international netball. It won the first world championships in 1963 in England,[14] and nine of the twelve Netball World Championships. In addition to being the current world champions, the Australian Diamonds are ranked first on the INF World Rankings.[24]

Australia beat the Silver Ferns to win the World Youth Netball Championships in July 2009 in the Cook Islands.[25] Australia also has a men's national team. It has competed in the 2009 and 2011 International Challenge Men's and Mixed Netball Tournament.[23]

Australian Netball Milestones


  • First recorded interstate match, Sydney, Australia


  • All Australia Women's Basket Ball Association formed



  • First AA Umpires Award – Anne Clark, and Elsie Ferres


  • First International match (Australia vs. New Zealand, in Melbourne, Australia)


  • More than 7,000 people watch Australia defeat England in London


  • The International Federation (IFNA) established in August during a Conference in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and agreement reached on the adoption of an international code of playing rules


  • First World Tournament (Eastbourne, England – 11 Countries)
  • Australia become the first World Champions


  • Australia runner-up to New Zealand at World Tournament


  • The sports name changed from Basket Ball to Netball


  • Australia wins World Tournament


  • Australia wins Netball World Championship


  • AA Club Carnival introduced


  • First full-time salaried position, National Development Officer, appointed
  • National office established in Martin Place, Sydney, Australia


  • Australia equal first (with New Zealand & Trinidad/Tobago) at World Tournament


  • First Under Age National Championships (Youth 16 and under at Penrith, Sydney, Australia)
  • First National Coaching Director appointed (Joyce Brown)




  • Honorary National Treasurer appointed (Gladys Waugh)
  • 1st Under 21 Australian Team (Young Australians) selected


  • National Executive Administrative Officer appointed (Robert McMurtrie)
  • Inaugural National Netball Carnival for Intellectually Disabled Players
  • First officially published Annual Report of the AANA (1985/86)
  • First National League competition – Esso Superleague


  • Purchase of headquarters at Cowper Street, Harris Park in Sydney, Australia
  • Incorporation of the Association (All Australia Netball Association Limited)
  • Adoption of a Player Trust Fund Policy enables elite players to earn from the sport


  • Finals Rounds introduced to Open/21s National Championships
  • Australia equal second (with Trinidad/Tobago) to New Zealand at World Tournament


  • First World Youth Cup – in Canberram, Australia (Australia Winners)




  • National Umpiring Director appointed (Chris Burton)


  • Head Office relocated to Wentworth Street, Parramatta, Sydney, Australia
  • Netball acknowledged as a “Recognized Sport” by the International Olympic Committee
  • Introduction of a National Umpiring Badge
  • Inaugural Australasian Regional Schools Championships


  • Association Management Review carried out by Albany Consulting


  • New structure approved – Nine Board Directors (including NED)
  • Australia retains World Championship crown



  • Inaugural year – Commonwealth Bank Trophy competition
  • New Financial Year took effect for NA, following the calendar year: January to December
  • Launch of Netball Australia Website


  • The honorary position of National Liaison Officer is abolished
  • Australia wins gold at Commonwealth Games (Kuala Lumpur)


  • The Australian 21U coach and AIS head coach positions become one (Norma Plummer)
  • First high-performance manager appointed (Sue Hawkins)
  • Australia wins World Championships



  • National Netball League Party Limited Company is deregistered



  • Australia runners-up to New Zealand at World Championships


  • World Record Crowd (14,339) attends Australia v New Zealand Sydney Test






  • Australia wins the World Youth Netball Championships in the Cook Islands, beating New Zealand in the Final.


  • Australia wins silver at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. New Zealand win gold.
  • Sharelle McMahon honored by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association. She was chosen to lead the Australian team out as opening ceremony flag bearer at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.



  • Netball Australia moves head office into the new Netball HQ located in Fitzroy.
  • Australia wins silver at the 2013 World Youth Netball Cup played in Glasgow, Scotland. New Zealand wins gold.
  • Australia's Fast5 Netball World Series team rebranded as the `Fast5 Flyers’.



  1. ^ "Australian Sport Attendance Records | Austadiums".
  2. ^ a b Taylor 1998, p. 6
  3. ^ Van Bottenburg 2001, p. 214
  4. ^ a b DaCosta & Miragaya 2002, p. 66
  5. ^ DaCosta & Miragaya 2002, p. 37
  6. ^ a b c d e Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007
  7. ^ Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2008
  8. ^ Taylor 2001
  9. ^ Netball Australia
  10. ^ Blanch 1978, p. 284
  11. ^ a b Perth Gazette 1934
  12. ^ a b International Federation of Netball Associations 2008
  13. ^ Australian Women's Weekly 1977
  14. ^ a b Australian Women's Weekly 1979
  15. ^ Atherly 2006, p. 352
  16. ^ Atherly 2006, p. 356
  17. ^ a b Davis & Davis 2006, p. 4
  18. ^ Mitchell, Brittany (25 August 2016). "Why Netball Australia had to separate from New Zealand to secure dominant future". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  19. ^ a b Taylor 1998, p. 13
  20. ^ a b c Taylor 1998, p. 14
  21. ^ Netball Singapore 2011b
  22. ^ Hickey & Navin 2007, p. 35
  23. ^ a b Samoa Observer 2011
  24. ^ International Netball Federation. "Current World Rankings". Last updated 16 August 2015.
  25. ^ World Youth Netball Championships – Cook Island 2009 2009


{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Netball in Australia
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?