Written by Joan Oliver,  for Yvonne McDonnell in 1990

When I arrived in Edenhope in 1947, there was no Basketball competition in existence in the area and after talking to some of the young ladies around town; it was obvious that there was enough interest to call a meeting.

This meeting was held in a back room of what was then a deli owned by Mr. Orm Bird. The first round of the K.N.F.L had been completed so this meeting would have probably taken place in May 1947. Betty Jennings (Mrs. Betty West) was elected President and I became the Secretary of our club. It was decided that we contact the football teams and ask them to redirect the letter to someone interested in basketball in their area. As the next round of football was to begin on the following Saturday, we suggested that each team  contact the club as per the football draw and consider playing a scratch match,  and that we call a meeting to take place the following week.

This meeting took place in an upstairs room of the Town Hall at Naracoorte. Mr. Cliff Cahill and I represented Edenhope and I remember a Mr. Bill Rabbitt and Mrs. Betty Hole were among those present. All clubs were represented. The meeting was enthusiastic about forming a basketball league and Mr. Cliff Cahill was elected President and I became Secretary of the League.

I remember our first match was played at Frances. We travelled up in an old bus with the footballers as petrol was still being rationed.

The following was the team that played in this first match –

FIRST GOALIE – Audrey McDougall (Mrs. Bill Huntly)
SECOND GOALIE – Claire Clements (Mrs. Eric Robertson)
ATTACK WINGER – Norma Turner (Mrs. Don McBain)
CENTRE – Joan Thomas (Mrs. Jack Oliver)
DEFENCE WINGER – Betty Jennings (Mrs. John West) Deceased
FIRST DEFENCE – Vannis Burns (Mrs Arthur Rich)

Members of the 1947 Team

Edenhope Netball Club Team 1947

Some other ladies who played during this period were Lola Moore (Mrs. Arthur Dixon), Noelene  Jennings, Gwen Gledhill, Pam Donaldson and Nellie Burns, who died during the year aged 15. There would have been a few others that joined us during the year, but I’m afraid I cannot recall them after 44 years.

Our uniforms consisted of red blouses, and rather daring tight black shorts, white socks and white sandshoes. I was the Captain and Connie Burns was the Vice Captain. We had one training session before our first game and I don’t think we had any other training for the rest of the year.

Everything was very informal and although records of matches, players and best players were kept, there were no further meetings held either for the League or the Edenhope Club and so, no official records were kept. I recall Hilda Cryer of Apsley won the Best and Fairest for the League. Connie Burns won the Best and Fairest for the Edenhope Club and I was Runner/up. Connie received a silver dish donated by Mr. Cahill. I don’t remember if any finals were played at the end of the year or the order in which the teams came.

Although there had been a basketball competition throughout the area before the war, I do not know any particulars as I was a newcomer to the area. That competition had lapsed some years before.

The information I have given tells of the setting up of the Edenhope Club and the League in 1947 and, to the best of my knowledge, the present K.N.N.A. and the Edenhope Club has been an unbroken continuation from that which was established at that time.

The League has expanded from one team to five teams from each club playing as well as Interleague, Round Robins and matches in other areas, making our humble beginnings rather insignificant.

‘From the tiny acorn, the mighty acorn has grown …..’ and along with the other girls in that first team, I feel very proud and privileged to have been a part of that group who loved basketball  enough to have planted that tiny acorn!

Joan Oliver

A framed presentation of this article was donated to the combined Edenhope Apsley Netball Club by Life Member Yvonne McDonnell in 2013





  1. Claire Finch was one of the initial planners, along with Yvonne McDonnell.
    What a great thing these ladies instigated.

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