Our History

Origins

Hockey is one of the most ancient of games and the origins of modern Hockey have not been officially recorded in any detail. However it seems clear that hockey is one of the oldest sports in existence and now is widely played throughout the World by both men and women.

The birth of hockey as it is known today resulted from activities that took place in the mid-19th century in England. These early developments occurred in the vicinity of the Blackheath Club and the Teddington Cricket Club and in other London surrounds where the foundations of the modern game of hockey were initially laid. By 1886 an English Hockey Association had been founded and a core of Hockey Rules developed. The game became further modernised by the British and increasingly spread to other Countries.

The sport took a major step forward in 1924 when the International Hockey Federation was founded in Paris. Hockey now consists of 5 Continent Associations and 112 Member Country Associations and all are affiliated with the International Hockey Federation (FIH). Since then the FIH has been responsible for the technical arrangements for International Tournaments including Olympic Games, World Cups, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy Tournaments and is responsible for the promotion and development of the sport. The first Olympics that hockey was officially invited to participate was the 1908 Games in London and Nations that competed were England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany and France.

Around the turn of the century, the British Navy traveled extensively to overseas countries and frequently to Australia where Naval personnel, who were stationed in Australia, assisted in guiding the “local residents” towards mastering the game of hockey and in helping lay the foundations for development.

Western Australia

Early records indicated that hockey matches were taking place in Western Australia around 1903 and that by 1906 four Teams existed in the Perth area. In 1906 an inter-club competition had begun and by 1908 the Western Australian Hockey Association had been formed.

Games involving women and particularly schoolgirls were reported in the early 1900’s and the Western Australian Women’s Hockey Association was officially formed on the 14th June 1916.

The Western Australian Association decided to adopt the Rules and Regulations of The Hockey Association and sought affiliation with that England based body in 1907.

The early Western Australian teams were mainly located in the Perth area. However the Wilberforce Club Team emerged in 1906 and carried the name of the Hamersley Farm and Homestead, which was situated near York. The Wilberforce team was a family affair and for many of the matches the team mainly comprised the members of two families. The opposing teams were required to travel (by train) back and forth to York and to the City (some 100 kilometres each way) to complete their match programme.

The condition of some of the playing surfaces that were available in these early times was reported to be “poor”. However, this may have been partly acceptable to the match participants who were often referred to as being “enthusiastic and robust”. The “Association Ground” was the W.A.C.A Cricket Ground of today and was one of the better pitches and regular venues for the hockey matches. Matches were also played at the Royal Agricultural Society’s Claremont Show-Grounds and at the South Perth Zoological Gardens.

In the first few years up to six teams including Perth, Wilberforce, Fremantle, YMCA, Claremont and Guildford engaged in hard fought games in an endeavour to win the Hope Cup, which had been donated by Dr. Hope and was contested by the top grade teams from 1908. Early honours were shared between the Perth and Wilberforce Clubs. In the five-year period from 1908 to 1912 Wilberforce won the Cup three times and Perth won twice.

Inter-Club matches continued until 1915 when World War I intervened and it was in the early 1920’s before hockey resumed on a competitive basis. The formation of an Australian Hockey Association had been under consideration and was formalised on 29th June 1925 when the first Annual General Meeting was held in Sydney.

In 1928, Western Australia participated for the first time in an Australian Senior Championship. The Team travelled by Ocean Liner across the Bight to Adelaide to contest the Title, which was ultimately won by the Home Team. Following this, the other States agreed to travel to Perth to take part in the 1929 Carnival, which coincided with this State’s Centenary year. Western Australia had its first Title victory in that special year and went on to win the Championship twice in the 1930’s and was a strong contender thereafter.

After the Second World War and in the late 1940’s, the hockey standards in Western Australia and to a lesser extent in other parts of Australia were strengthened by an influx of skilful and promising young players and coaches, particularly from India, who came to settle in Australia after Independence was gained.

The Senior Inter-State Championship was held annually and the venue rotated among the States. Western Australia was a prominent force. In the period from 1928 to 1992, Western Australia won 29 of the 61 Championships held and this included a nine-year period (1962-70) when eight titles were won. Since 1992, the National Hockey League has become the major annual inter-state competition and Western Australia has won six of the twelve Titles contested to date.

The Western Australian Women’s Teams have also been successful at National Championship level. After first competing in 1921, Western Australia won the Championship on 43 occasions including 30 wins in the 35-year period (1957 – 1991).

These successful State Teams made strong contributions to the development of players and aided selection in Australia’s Mens and Womens National and International teams. In addition Perth has been be acknowledged to be the centre of strong top-level inter-Club competition.

Women

The Western Australian Ladies Hockey Association was officially formed on the 14 June 1916. The 4 metropolitan teams at that time were YAL, Underwoods, Stotts and Ex Technical School. In an interview, Mrs Maude Johnson (nee Norman), originally from Albany, can recall a group of girls sitting together on the Esplanade in 1914, discussing the need for a formal hockey association for ladies. Miss Dolly Horn, the captain of the YAL team was present, and was one of the main instigators to form a hockey association – she was later to become Mrs Dolly Johnson – first life member of the WAWHA.

In 1917, new teams Claremont, TC, Ex Modern School, Fremantle (2 teams), affiliated with the Association, and an Underwood B Team replaced Stotts. At the conclusion of the metropolitan season, a team was selected to tour the country towns of Narrogin, Wagin and Albany.

During 1919, 1920 and 1921, more teams were formed including Swans, and a team from the Claremont Hospital for the Insane. An A and A B Competition was formed. Interest continued to grow for the game. The highlight of 1921, was the participation of Western Australia in their first interstate tournament.

On 21 February 1928, the WA Ladies Association had been renamed, the Western Australian Women’s Hockey Association – WAWHA – which is the present day title. 1929 was also significant in that Western Australia won its first interstate tournament in WA. At this tournament, Miss Jean Wright was selected as the first WA representative to tour overseas in an Australian team.

1946, was the recommencement of interstate and the continuation of the golden years of WA hockey that had begun in 1938. Team and club numbers grew, interstate success continued and outstanding administrators contributed to the growth of women’s hockey in Western Australia.

The numbers in women’s hockey have remained steady for the past few years and this has been attributed to the availability of other recreational options for young people and the changes in work patterns for the older school age and tertiary student. However, a national programme sponsored by Telecom Let’s Play Hockey, and the Minkey programme is attracting more junior players, which we hope will swell the ranks of senior players in years to come.

Pre-1940 

Newspaper records indicate that girls were playing hockey in Western Australia in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century on an irregular basis both in country areas and in the metropolitan area.

Early reports of hockey teams indicate that by 1914, regular games were being played on the Esplanade and in the country centres of Kalgoorlie, Katanning and Albany.

The Western Australian Ladies Hockey Association was officially formed on the 14 June 1916. The 4 metropolitan teams at that time were YAL, Underwoods, Stotts and Ex Technical School. In an interview, Mrs Maude Johnson (nee Norman), originally from Albany, can recall a group of girls sitting together on the Esplanade in 1914, discussing the need for a formal hockey association for ladies. Miss Dolly Horn, the captain of the YAL team was present, and was one of the main instigators to form a hockey association – she was later to become Mrs Dolly Johnson – first life member of the WAWHA.

At the first AGM, men were very prominent on the committee as they were helping the ladies to form their association along the same lines as the men’s association, which was formed in 1908.* The first ladies president elected was Mr Abel, with the men’s hockey president, Mr Spencer elected as chairman. The women adopted the men’s constitution with the appropriate amendments.

(NB – A copy of the pencilled amendments to the men’s 1911 constitution is displayed).

Mr Spencer took over as president when Mr Abel resigned 27 June 1916, while the other elected members of the inaugural committee were

Miss Curran Secretary
Miss T Hayman Treasurer

Vice Presidents – Mr Frane
Mr Halpin
Mrs Marks
Mr Gallahawk
Miss Franklin

* During the 1914-1918 War, the men’s association gradually went into abeyance which is why the men were able to give time to help the women form their Association).

After the metropolitan fixtures had been completed for the season, a metropolitan team was chosen to play Kalgoorlie on 16 September 1916.

The Metropolitan Team consisted of

Maud Norman (Capt) Melva Stott
Dolly Horn Dot Franklin
Enid Ewart Ruth Brown
Dorothy Ferrow Viva Moran
R Smith Dockie Ferrier
Mary Inkpen (GK)

Close ties were forged with the country centres, although the country centres did not officially join with the Western Australian Ladies Association.

In 1917, new teams Claremont, TC, Ex Modern School, Fremantle (2 teams), affiliated with the Association, and an Underwood B Team replaced Stotts.

At the conclusion of the metropolitan season, a team was selected to tour the country towns of Narrogin, Wagin and Albany.

In 1918, a similar number of metropolitan teams competed, but the highlight of the year was the first unofficial state team chosen to tour to Adelaide and Melbourne to play games there.

The team was coached by Corporal Frayne, and chaperoned by Mrs Marks. The girls travelled by train and paid for all their own costs – £200, and reports state that seven of those initially selected had to withdraw either because of cost or teaching commitments. The Education Department would not allow leave for its teachers.

Team members to tour were

Miss Dolly Horn (Capt)
Mary Inkpen (later Mrs M Leslie)
Miss Biddy Hardy (to become Mrs Biddy Rigg)
Maud Norman Stella Mason Tot Hayman Ruth Brown
Viva Moran Rilda Low Enid Ewart Dot Franklin
M Clancy D Jones J Taylor B Stevens

From The Herald, Saturday evening 14 September 1918, following a match against a Melbourne side, the chaperone, Mrs Marks is being quoted

The outbreak of war led to all men’s hockey teams being disbanded by the end of 1915. As they returned from the front, wounded or otherwise incapacitated, the men who had been prominent as hockey players in the West, directed their energies to fostering hockey as a game for women. Corporal Frayne and one or two others gave up their Saturday afternoons to instructing members of the women’s clubs.

It cannot be doubted, that the sweeping success of the Western Australian Women’s Hockey Team was due to sustained and efficient coaching.

During 1919, 1920 and 1921, more teams were formed including Swans, and a team from the Claremont Hospital for the Insane. An A and A B Competition was formed. Interest continued to grow for the game, but men were still prominent in the ladies association both as administrators and umpires.

The highlight of 1921, was the participation of Western Australia in their first interstate tournament.

The first official state team travelled to South Australia by train to compete and finished 4th out of 5 teams. SA, Tasmania and NSW beat WA, but beat Victoria.

Members of the 1921 first official state team were

Miss Biddy Hardy (Capt) Miss Sadie Lemon
Miss Dolly Hardy Miss Mary Inkpen
Mrs Stella Mason Miss Maud Norman
Miss Enid Ewart Miss Blanche Brockway
Miss Jean Kennedy Miss Albany Barrington
(Unknown) (Unknown)

It should be noted that only 12 players would travel interstate, as substitutes for an injured player was not allowed during the course of a match, so one reserve was deemed adequate.

In 1922, Western Australia hosted its first interstate tournament. 4 States participated at Subiaco Oval with the results being

Tasmania – 6 points; NSW – 3 points; SA – 2 points; WA – 1 point.

The game continued to grow in the metropolitan and country areas during the 1920’s, and in 1927 an All England Team toured Australia and played a WA State Team.**

** It is interesting to note that England would not tour Australia unless Australia undertook to abide by the rules of the All England Association. This meant that no men could hold executive positions in any of the State bodies. This was gradually enforced until Mr Bill Rooney, the Principal of Claremont Teachers College, who had been president of the Western Australian Ladies Hockey Association since 1919, stepped aside in 1929, and was replaced as president by Miss Gladys Wearne, a lecturer at CTC.

On 21 February 1928, the WA Ladies Association had been renamed, the Western Australian Women’s Hockey Association – WAWHA – which is the present day title.

While the women felt competent in taking over their administration, it took quite some time for women to become adept at umpiring themselves. The women had been relying on male umpiring. However, gradually the women took over control of umpiring their own matches.

1929 was also significant in that Western Australia won its first interstate tournament in WA. At this tournament, Miss Jean Wright was selected as the first WA representative to tour overseas in an Australian team.
Miss Marjorie Bennett had been the first WA team member to be chosen in an Australian team in 1925, but did not play in a match.

During the 1920’s, whenever Country Week was held, the selectors of the state team would closely watch for any promising country players to make the State side. Two players from Katanning; Kath Wilson and Glad Wilson, and Lucy Dick from Narrogin were the first Country Week players to be selected in 1927. From that time onwards, country players were regular members of the Western Australian State Teams, and indeed, provided a wealth of talent for Australian selectors.

1930, 1931 saw Australia in the grip of a depression and WA did not compete interstate. However, 1932 saw the resumption by WA at interstate, which continued until the war years of 1940-1945, which saw the National Championships suspended.

WA won the Interstate Tournament in 1938 and 1939, and people such as Pat Howard kept WA Hockey alive during the war years, even to the extent of helping Fred Sermon organise fixtures on a limited basis for the men’s association.

In 1934, the then president of WAWHA, Mrs Biddy Rigg was awarded her Australian Umpires Badge – a first for WA, and a great achievement personally and for the State. This was an indication that women umpires were finally reaching the same heights as their players.

The metropolitan competition by this time had developed from the initial 4 teams of 1916, to 44 teams at the commencement of the 1940 season. The war years were to take their toll, but while there was no interstate competition, country teams competition grew and strengthened.

A fledgling Country Week that had commenced in 1921, with 5 teams from Katanning, Albany, Busselton, Narrogin and Toodyay had developed into teams from all parts of the State.

The pre-war years of the 2nd World War, laid the foundation for the success of women’s hockey from 1946 onwards.

During the war years of 1939-1945, metropolitan and country hockey limped along coping with the loss of players, loss of administrators, and rationing which meant no new uniforms and a scarcity of footwear – but hockey survived. The reason it did so, was due to the stalwart group of people led by Miss Pat Howard who organised the association from a government office in St George’s Terrace, where Pat was a comptomerist. Fred Sermon, a youngster with the men’s hockey, worked with Pat and together they organised fixtures for both men and women rationalising ground usage.

Post War Years 

1946, was the recommencement of interstate and the continuation of the golden years of WA hockey that had begun in 1938. Team and club numbers grew, interstate success continued and outstanding administrators contributed to the growth of women’s hockey in Western Australia.
Western Australian players were chosen in Australian teams and in the touring teams who travelled overseas with considerable success. In 1953, Australia defeated England for the first time in Folkestone and there were 6 Western Australians in the team, while Pat Howard was their manager. Jean (Pearce) Wynne was captain, Gwen Hutchinson (Wrenn), their outstanding goal scorer, and country players Kath Battilana and Flora Crombie were present. Marjorie Rigg a future Australian captain was also a member of the team.

1976, saw the culmination of years of work in achieving a headquarters for women’s hockey – the Pat Goodridge Centre – at Wembley. Four beautiful grass fields and an administrative building seemed to be the pinnacle for women’s hockey. However, in 1977, a joint development by the men’s and women’s associations saw the establishment of the first water based synthetic surface in the southern hemisphere laid in the grounds of the WA Institute of Technology at Bentley, together with some administrative buildings. 1987, saw a second synthetic surface laid – sand based this time – while 85/86 had seen a massive building programme take place to house under one roof, Men’s Hockey, Women’s Hockey, Stadium Council and the Hockey Unit of the Australian Institute of Sport, which had been established in Perth in 1984.

The volunteer administrators had done and are still doing, a magnificent job, but in 1976, funding became available for a part-time development officer for women’s hockey. This position remained, until in 1981, a part-time administrator was seen as having more benefit to the association and this position has now grown to fulltime

The numbers in women’s hockey have remained steady for the past few years and this has been attributed to the availability of other recreational options for young people and the changes in work patterns for the older school age and tertiary student. However, a national programme sponsored by Telecom Let’s Play Hockey, and the Minkey programme is attracting more junior players, which we hope will swell the ranks of senior players in years to come.

Umpiring is more challenging now and while there will always be problems in recruiting enough good umpires, the calibre of the top umpire is ever increasing.

Indoor Hockey

Indoor Hockey is a relatively new sport in its present form. Previously it was a summer fitness activity played on the bitumen courts at the Claremont Showgrounds, but now there is a serious competition on many of the indoor courts around the metropolitan area, and an interstate tournament has taken place the last few years. WA is represented in this interstate competition and hosted the tournament in 1990.

Hockey Stadium

On November 15th 1978, the Federal Government announced that funds would be made available for the construction of a Hockey Stadium of international standard in Perth and which included modern water based synthetic pitch and associated facilities. This joint Men’s and Women’s facility was to be sited on the campus of the W.A Institute of Technology (now Curtin University) and was presented to the State in recognition of Western Australia’s 150th Anniversary Year. The Stadium provided the first synthetic turf playing surface in the Southern Hemisphere and brought Men’s and Women’s Hockey in Western Australia together at a first class central venue.

On completion of construction, an International Tournament involving 10 of the leading Nations was held at the Stadium in April 1979, and was acknowledged to have been a successful Event. Among other major International Tournaments that were held at the Perth Stadium were the Men’s Champions Trophy (1985) and recently the 16-Nation Women’s World Cup (2002).

Institute of Sport

On November 15th 1978, the Federal Government announced that funds would be made available for the construction of a Hockey Stadium of international standard in Perth and which included modern water based synthetic pitch and associated facilities. This joint Men’s and Women’s facility was to be sited on the campus of the W.A Institute of Technology (now Curtin University) and was presented to the State in recognition of Western Australia’s 150th Anniversary Year. The Stadium provided the first synthetic turf playing surface in the Southern Hemisphere and brought Men’s and Women’s Hockey in Western Australia together at a first class central venue.

On completion of construction, an International Tournament involving 10 of the leading Nations was held at the Stadium in April 1979, and was acknowledged to have been a successful Event. Among other major International Tournaments that were held at the Perth Stadium were the Men’s Champions Trophy (1985) and recently the 16-Nation Women’s World Cup (2002).

The Present

In 2002 there was further major expansion and upgrading of the Perth Hockey Stadium. The major additions included the installation of a second playing field – again with an artificial surface pitch and full supporting structures for players, administrators and spectators. The expansion increased the capacity of the Stadium and enabled a diversity of International, National and Club players to use the new facilities.

Hockey in Western Australia has continued to grow. After the early years of consolidation, the numbers playing hockey increased rapidly and by 1950 the total number of Club Teams (Senior and Junior) playing regularly in Perth Men’s competitions had risen to 91. Strong growth followed and in the second half of the 1900’s, the number of teams participating lifted to today’s total of 424 teams. In recent years growth has steadied and there has been little change to total team numbers since 1993.
In addition there has been strong growth in participating player numbers in the Western Australian Women’s Association. Other major groups, which continue to thrive, include the Men’s and Women’s Country Associations, Indoor Hockey and young players involved in sub-junior games such as Minkey.

At the close of the 2003 Year, there will be a merger between the Western Australian Men’s Hockey Association and the Western Australian Women’s Hockey Association to form “Hockey W.A”. It is approaching 100 years since the establishment of the individual Associations and it is anticipated that the amalgamation will be of major benefit to Hockey in Western Australia.

Western Australia’s National team representatives

Representing your country is the highest honour an athlete can receive. Western Australia has a proud tradition of producing a number of outstanding hockey players and athletes who have successfully gone on to represent their country on the big stage.

Now, thanks to years of painstaking work by former Australian coach Richard Aggiss and historian John Sanders, Hockey WA is delighted to publish a complete record of every player from Western Australia to have played for the National side along with their individual record.

Hockey WA would like to thank Richard and John for their outstanding effort to produce this valuable resource.

WA men to have represented Australia.

WA women to have represented Australia.