Sport: Netball - Carol Murphy


Interviewee: Carol Murphy, 1954

Interviewer: Frank Heimans,

            for The Hills Shire Council

Date of Interview: 5 May 2010

Transcription: Glenys Murray, June 2010

This interview represents the personal recollections, views and opinions of the interviewee

When did your interest in netball begin and how did it begin?

My very first exposure was when my sister-in –law came out from Northern Ireland. She’d played Northern Ireland school girls netball and was very keen. She started coaching Paul’s younger sister’s netball team. So I became aware of netball as a couple of years later some of the girls in that team ended up marrying some of Paul’s brothers. They all decided that they should get a netball team together. I think it was when I was about 30 we had a team with a few sisters and sisters-in-law and a couple of friends and we played a night comp. out at Deverall Park at Bankstown Netball Association. That was my first exposure to it. I had fun. It was playing with family and friends which was great. Then all my sisters-in-law started having family and it sort of stopped. My daughter who was 12 started playing locally here in Baulkham Hills Association. You start off as a parent and then you get a little bit more involved as a coach or an umpire and a lot more…..

Did you actually play the game as well?

Yes I think in 1986 a group of the ladies that I was playing tennis with once a week, we were all at the courts watching our daughters play netball. Someone said “we should get a team together and play netball”. So we started night comp. in 1986 I think, in D grade. Then started the following year in the winter competition and played for many years. Slowly the team changed over the years. I played every year for twenty two years. So certainly from not being very involved in sport as a young person it changed as I got older.

You obviously fell in love with it, did you, as a game?

I do, I’m involved in many areas of netball with playing, coaching, managing, umpiring and certainly into administration now. It’s amazing that the part of the game that I have always loved the most is playing. I think it’s because it’s a team sport. The people that I’ve played with over the years, I’ve just been lucky. I’ve had a wonderful group of people that I’ve been involved with. You meet new people and become friends. Even now I’m not playing I like to still be a bit involved and try and organize them if I can. Send them emails and reminders and if I get a chance go out and watch them and still be involved.

1982 Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association representatibve team

Tell me about netball. What kind of game is it and how’s it played?

Netball is a ball game played with a round ball. There are seven positions on each team. A normal game is four fifteen minute quarters. There’s specific rules on how you handle the ball and your movement with the ball. It is probably the highest female participative sport in this district and probably in a lot of areas. It’s having a little bit of a challenge from women’s soccer and other sports. But netball is very well supported and I think that’s indicative of the fact that it’s a really great game.

What sort of defensive and offensive positions are there in netball?

Ah well, you would say that every player plays attack and defence depending on the situation. Basically you’ve got moving down the court from a Goal Keeper, to Goal Defence, Wing Defence are your basic defences. Centre Wing Attack and then Goal Attack and Shooter. Those two can actually shoot the goals. There’s rules about who can be in each area and different things. It gets quite involved.

How are teams formed and scheduled to play?

With Baulkham Hills Netball Association they have about twenty five clubs who are members of the netball association. Each club can either be in size from one team to fifty odd teams. I’ve been a member of Impalas Netball Club for twenty four years perhaps. I’m very proud to be a life member of Impalas as I am a life member of the Baulkham Hills Association. A club then will have registration days and children will pay their registration fee and go through a grading process. Then the club decides to put them into age groups and then divisions within the age group A, B, C, D. All of the registrations go into the association and this year I think Baulkham Hills has about four hundred and ninety nine teams entered. So it’s a really big competition and it’s a really big job for the grading committee. They have a senior and junior grading committee. They go through all those entries and put them into grades as best they can to make them comparable and competitive grades. So then you would have seven year olds, eight year olds. Then you get into nines and after that they go into tens and they divide them into A, B, C, D’s. Through to fifteens then you move into seniors. It’s just basically A grade, A 1’s, A 2’s and down. It’s quite complicated when you get into it but once you know the process it works very well. It ensures as much as you can that you’re playing against people of similar abilities. When you have so many entries it’s easier in a district like Baulkham Hills than if you’re in a country district and they only have maybe four hundred members. We’re very fortunate in Baulkham Hills.

The old Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association 

How many members do you have?

I would say we’re about four and a half thousand. The last three or four years Baulkham Hills has been the fourth biggest district in NSW. It’s quite a number. They have increased steadily over the last ten years with the development at Rouse Hill. I know that in 2009 they increased by twenty teams and again in 2010 they increased by about twenty teams. So there’s still a lot of growth and there’s still new areas being opened up. We’re hoping that in the next year or two we’ll be moving up from fourth biggest. We might make second or third.

Four hundred and ninety nine teams that seems like a lot to administer, how do you go about that?

It is a lot to administer. It’s done by am executive committee of thirteen at Baulkham Hills. I’m not on the executive at Baulkham Hills anymore. I was for sixteen years. These people are all volunteers and the sport is successful because of the people who do volunteer and help. Under the thirteen executive there are a number of committees. So you would be elected to either grade the teams to put them in together. You may be a selector to select representative players. You may be on the umpiring committee to help ensure the umpires get trained. The coaching committee it sort of tiers out with the number of people involved. With four hundred and ninety nine teams and four and a half thousand odd players it still comes down to a handful of people who do the hard work to make it work.

You mentioned the name Impalas is that the name of the team?

Impalas is my club. Impalas netball club is one of the individual clubs within Baulkham Hills Association. They have been going since 1976 which is just after the association started. The association started towards the end of 1974 officially in 1975. There were a small group of clubs who were already operational when the association formed. Since then there have been more local clubs begin because they can play in their own area.

Carol can you give me a history of netball in the Shire?

Yes I certainly can. Early in the 1970’s there were people playing netball who lived in what was then the Baulkham Hills Shire which is now The Hills Shire. They had to play at either Blacktown or at Pennant Hills. So a group of dedicated ladies got together and decided that they should form a district association at Baulkham Hills. So that people living in the Shire could play netball in their own Shire. They got together and had discussions with Baulkham Hills Council. They started their first night competition in 1974 with twenty eight teams entered. They played at Ted Horwood reserve which is at Baulkham Hills. Then they created their first Saturday winter competition which is basically the biggest competition that they ran in 1975 at Ted Horwood again. They had fifty six teams entered. So you can see that in thirty five years going from fifty six to four hundred and ninety nine, it certainly has grown.

March past during official opening of Netball NSW State Championships at Kellyville 1994

How many courts do you have?

We have our netball complex at Wellgate Avenue Kellyville. We had that officially opened in 1991. It had thirty two courts. In the last couple of years we’ve done stage two of our development with another six courts. So we have a total of thirty eight which makes Baulkham Hills Netball Association one of about three or four districts in NSW large enough to host the Netball NSW state championships. There are so many people entered into that, you have to have the number of courts. It’s a three day event and it’s a really big event. It’s great for the Shire. People come and stay here, use our accommodation and purchase their food at restaurants so it certainly brings a lot of economy into the Shire. We’re actually hosting again at Baulkham Hills next year in 2011.

Do all those courts get used at the same time?

Yes when we did stage two of the development we thought thirty eight courts would take us well into the future. In the last two years as I mentioned before we’ve grown by forty more teams. So it means that they’ve had to do a little bit of a shuffle on when some people play to even the number of games out as much as possible over the day. During the middle of the day when the younger ones, the seven and eight year olds play at midday I think FunNet has had to move to the time slot before. FunNet is the little five to seven year olds. When you’re out there and you look across the courts you really can’t see anything that’s a vacant court. Even if there isn’t a game set up there’ll be children there warming up for the next game. 

Official opening of Netball NSW State Championships at Kellyville 1994 

Are you looking for more courts now?

We would always like more courts. The problem for us as a netball association is that we have had to fund the development of the netball complex. The Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association started in 1975 but by the early 1980’s it had grown to the stage where they were running out of three and I think at one stage four different venues to try and accommodate for all the people who wanted to play netball. It was basically when I started getting involved with my daughter. I know that you could start the day at Gooden Drive at Winston Hills and then have to drive to North Rocks for your daughter’s game and somewhere else in Baulkham Hills for umpiring in the afternoon. I certainly only had a few years of it but some of the ladies there were doing a lot of running around for a lot of years. So they approached Council for a one stop netball complex. At the time Baulkham Hills Council weren’t in a financial position to provide that for us. So the dedicated ladies and gentlemen involved at that time took basically an unprecedented step of deciding to develop and fund the complex themselves.

How did they go?

Well it’s a great success. Council did provide them with twenty five acres of land at Kellyville. It was the old tip site many of us used to take our rubbish to the tip. It was actually still being used as a tip till about three weeks before it was handed over to us. Then the people involved there had a forward planning committee and a complex committee. The people that were involved then were so, they had so much foresight in making sure that they provided well into the future. The development of the complex initially cost $1.7 million so it was not something that you entered into lightly. The netball association had to become a company limited by guarantee so that they could take on loans. They received a small grant from the State government of $125,000. They received $150,000 from the Baulkham Hills Shire Council and the Winston Hills Sports Club loaned them $100,000. They took out a bank loan of $600,000 and invested $725,000 of their member’s funds that they’d been saving for years for it. It was a huge financial undertaking but it was wonderful. You go out there and it is a beautiful netball complex. I’ve been to quite a few around the state and I may be biased but ours looks great and it’s very, very functional. We’ve had a lot of troubles over the years. Being a former tip site there’s been huge movement of the ground. There’s been many, many, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on court repairs over the years. The netball association has funded all of that. They’ve funded all the upkeep and all the repairs and maintenance. We’ve had a few small grants from Council over the years but nothing compared to what the people who play netball in the Shire have invested in their sport. That’s a wonderful thing to look at and make you proud of the people who are involved.

Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association courts 1994

So is all netball now in the one location?

Yes we still were getting a little bit tight with thirty two courts. A few years ago we decided that we needed to again expand. We were operating out of demountable buildings for our own administration and toilet block. So we did stage two of the project in 2008. I think it was officially opened on 3rd May 2008. That cost another $1.5 million so you can see there’s well over $3.2 million dollars that’s really gone into that complex there. Council again did give us a grant of $180,000 and the netball association had paid off their previous bank loan from stage one. We were very fortunate to receive a government guarantee from the Department of Sport and Recreation which allows us to borrow another $650,000. Being a not for profit sporting organisation and we don’t have any assets we need a government guarantee to be able to get a loan. Again we invested about another $670,000 of our funds that we’ve saved.

Coach Ted Newton gives advice to Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association Open Team 1994 

So we now have thirty eight courts and a beautiful administration building and a lovely toilet block which everyone thinks we’re very strange being very proud of. If you’d seen what we had before and we’ve got this lovely one now. It’s so clean and nice. The complex just feels that it’s moved on again with all those new members it’s nice to be able to provide them something back. We have always hoped that somewhere along the line we would be able to have an indoor complex. We’ve got to nine years or something to still pay this loan off so we can’t get too far into the future. We always think that we could need more courts if it grows in the same sort of ratio that it has in the last few years. It’s going to be a little creative getting everyone onto the courts in the next couple of years.


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