Sport: Netball - Carol Murphy - Part 2


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

It’s a big challenge now is it?

It is a big challenge and it’s interesting for me now to have stepped away a little bit and see the work that the people have to put in. I think when you’re involved in doing it you just get on with it. When you have a little bit of distance and look at it, it is a big challenge. It’s a lot of work and we’re very lucky that there’s a lot of people who are happy to get in and do that work.

What’s been your part in all this, Carol?

My part is being part of the netball community. I was president there for twelve years which seems a long time now when I think back. It didn’t feel it at the time. While this second stage was going on I was the one that was at the top of the tree, trying to make sure that it all happened. I certainly would think that I am only one of a huge group of people. Before me there were a lot of people who put in a lot of time to even develop the thought of moving out there and the hard work that they put in to the stage one. I’m just one of a very big group of very hard workers.

Since May of 2008 you had stage two right?

That’s right.

What was the development of stage two? Is that now complete?

It is now complete, it was creating six extra hard surface courts and we had them done with an acrylic surface which gives it a little bit longer life span. Asphalt itself has to be resurfaced probably every eight or ten years. We have a big group of courts out there that need that now. I think that’s in the planning for the next six months or so. Also as well as the six extra courts was a very functional administration building and the toilet block. We still have a very old toilet block down the other end of the courts so somewhere along the line we’ll have to think about replacing that too in the future. We can’t get too far in front of ourselves.

Old toilet block before demolition 2007

Carol, what’s your present position within Netball NSW?

Yes I was very fortunate to be elected onto the board of directors at Netball NSW in March 2009. It’s a two year appointment so I’ve just started the second year. There are seven elected directors for the board of Netball NSW plus the general manager of Netball NSW makes up the board.

You’re also a life member I believe?

I’m a life member at Baulkham Hills Association and in my club Impalas. I haven’t been involved at NSW very long so I can’t even foresee that. That’s a huge honour at Netball NSW, I’m a baby compared to some of the people who have worked for NSW for so long.

So what are some of the issues that crop up with the association?

At Baulkham Hills issues would be…I guess it’s always a financial issue having to take on the responsibility of developing the complex and paying not only for the loan but for the day to day repair and maintenance. I’ve talked about the court repairs that are desperately needed. You’re also fighting graffiti, vandals and people who want to break in and just damage. It’s an ongoing financial burden. Other issues I would think are ensuring your providing a competition so that the people involved with netball in the Shire can get the most out of their netball experience. That in itself is quite a challenge and it takes a lot of organisation.

Is the standard of coaches also an issue?

The coaching side is a side that people can see. It’s something that people can use as perhaps an excuse. There are some very dedicated coaches and in the last few years the whole system has developed. That’s part of my involvement with NSW. I can see what’s happening in the way they’re trying to provide the courses and the information. All the things that you can get on websites and there are a number of ways for coaches to do some personal development. That can only be beneficial to everyone playing. It’s very hard I think in a district as big as Baulkham Hills that you’ve got people coaching from seven year olds to A1 players that are the top players that we have. So there’s a huge span of experience and qualifications needed. Most coaches are really happy to be out there trying to learn new drills and new ways of imparting their knowledge to their players.

Removal of the old Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association toilet block 2007

Who are some of the notable players who have come up through the club?

At Baulkham Hills they’ve had a few players that have developed through. Natalie Avellino played for Australia and she started her time at Baulkham Hills. I know that there’s been quite a few players that have gone through to represent at NSW and Australian level. They go back into the 1980’s and I do have a long list of them somewhere. I hate to start thinking that I should name some and then miss any of our players. I guess the most current player that is at a high level at the moment is Samantha May she’s a member of the NSW Swifts playing in the ANZ championships. So she’s someone who did all her junior netball at Baulkham Hills and has gone on to represent NSW. She’s been in Australian under 21’s and under 19 teams and now playing in the ANZ championship which is pretty exciting for her. Exciting for us as a district to know that we’ve had someone come through and do that. As I say she’s one of quite a long list of players who have started at Baulkham Hills and have achieved some wonderful things within their form.

What do you think netball has done for the Shire?

I always remember when I first became involved, the man that was our accountant, Ted Newton had some statistics. I can remember him talking about them that children who are involved in crime whether it be petty crime or whatever. There were some statistics that he had that people that were involved in team sports were far less likely to be involved in any of these sorts of crimes. I’ve always felt that, that was an interesting statistic and it’s probably a byproduct that we don’t normally think of. We think of providing a sport that’s good for a seven year old to a fifty year old. An outlet to enjoy the game that they love and all the different aspects of it whether it’s playing or coaching or umpiring. There are other benefits that you don’t really think about. Certainly I think everyone over all the years since 1975 have done a wonderful job in providing an extremely organized regulated sport. People know they come to netball it’s going to start at a certain time, it’s going to finish at a certain time. They play at the same place week after week and they love the game. If we can make it a pleasant environment for them to be in more people will be involved. There’s going to be good health benefits for them as well as I think a social benefit for… as I said before part of my experience is certainly the social side of being in a team.

Demolition of former Baulkham Hills Shire Council tip office 2007

There must be of course a health benefit as well is there?

Oh I’m sure it is. Especially if you get to representative level these girls are training a couple of times a week going to a gym. Playing a number of times it’s very good for them. But it’s good for the not so young too to be out and being active and keeping the joints moving.

Is netball an Olympic sport?

Unfortunately not. I don’t think it is played by enough of the big countries involved in the Olympics I believe that there was some talk of making it an exhibition sport at one stage. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened. It is a Commonwealth Games sport and we will be sending a team to the Commonwealth Games in October. Australia is one of the very high chances of bringing home a gold medal. Australia has always been very successful in netball. We always have lovely rivalry with New Zealand of course but that only makes the girls strive harder.

Have there been any changes in the way the game is played?

Look I was at a number of functions last year. It was the eightieth anniversary for netball NSW. They had some beautiful pictures of it starting in 1920 whatever it was. Of ladies in their very old fashioned garments that covered them from head to toe and an actual basket on a pole to be the goal ring. You look at your players playing today in their sleek outfits, specially sprung timber floors. So the whole game has moved to a complete different dimension from when it started. There are rule reviews every eight years I think from the International Federation but they’re usually not too dramatic. It has developed over the years because of the advancement in surfaces and tennis shoes in the old days didn’t give you the support that all the sport shoes give you these days. That makes a difference to how the game’s played I think.

Can there be many injuries in the sport?

Yes there is. It’s tough on knees and ankles it all comes down to I think being prepared to play. In trying to make sure you are as fit as possible. In any sport there’ll be accidents and we do have some terrible accidents at netball. I don’t think it’s something that even enters your head when you go to play. You don’t expect it to happen and many people play their entire life and never have an injury. It can happen but it’s not the biggest worry.

Where do the spectators sit?

At Baulkham Hills complex out at Kellyville we don’t have any sort of stadium seating. People either sit on the side of the court or bring a fold up chair and sit and watch. You’ve got to be careful that you not in the way. The umpire moves up the side of the court or sometimes player’s race off the court after a ball. It’s got to be a little bit controlled to make sure they’re in a safe area. One of the nice things about Baulkham Hills that makes it part of the niceness of the complex is that there are a number of garden beds throughout which were originally put in to allow the methane gas from the old tip site to escape. It looks nice for us. The executive last year upgraded the surrounds of the garden beds. There’s a nice little place for the people to sit on the side of the court next to the garden and watch.

Area selected for stage two 6 new courts 2007

Was that a problem, the environmental side of having a complex on top of a tip?

It was something that they did a lot of work with. The people involved in the original development had to do a lot of work to ensure that they were meeting environmental requirements. Even when we did stage two of the complex we had to get some geotechnical reports to make sure we were building our building on what was solid ground not filled ground. The biggest problem of course is because it was a tip site it does have movement.

What’s the staff of the association?

Well as I said before it’s basically run by volunteers. We do have one lovely lady who has been there for about ten or eleven years now I think, who works three days a week for us 9am to 2.30pm. She does all the administration side of it especially at this time of year when all that four and half thousand registrations comes in. She’s madly trying to get it all entered into the NSW website so that everyone’s in and registered. We also have some employees that help run the canteen during the winter season. They only work when the competitions on. We have a lady in charge a two IC and two young fellows who help with the barbeque. As I say everything else is run by volunteers. It is supported by having staff and having great people there so that makes it a lot easier.

Is there a shortage of volunteers?

There’s always a shortage of volunteers. I think Baulkham Hills is probably a lot better off than some districts. In my opinion the changes over the last half a generation in that most families have both parents needing to work to get by these days. They don’t have the time to volunteer that they did when my children were small. I think it is something that’s going to affect not only us at netball but  any sport or organisation that requires volunteers in the future. To make it a cost effective sport it has to be run by volunteers. I guess the flip side of that is that we also have to be sure that we appreciate our volunteers and show that appreciation. That helps them be encouraged to come back and do it again.

Stage 2 new Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association administration
building near toilet block and 6 new courts 2010

Is there enough TV coverage of games played?

There is TV coverage of the ANZ championships each week. Channel 10 show one game I think live and others are carried by Channel 1. The Australian games are of course get coverage. For a while there wasn’t much coverage and it was hard for you young netballers out there to see their stars on court. All the young boys can see their league or their soccer heroes quite often on sport and that hasn’t happened with netball. It has improved last year and this year and hopefully will improve in the future.

What about press and media coverage?

We haven’t had a media person for a few years. It can get a little bit difficult not having someone continually contacting the local papers. Updating them on events and results we’ve got a new young lady on the executive this year who’s taken on that position and I think we’ll see great results from her. She’s young and into all the new media possibilities and she can explore things and also look at it from a younger perspective. We need to also encourage the new generation coming through. They have experiences completely different to what we have. We need to grow with the developments that are happening and encourage people who know more about it to come in and help us out.

Inside new Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association administration building 2010

How do you see the future of netball?

Well I think that it’s a sport that has shown it’s been hugely successful over all the years. Whether I say eighty years for Netball NSW last year or thirty five odd years at Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association to see what they started from and where they are now is amazing. I can only envisage that it’s going to get bigger and better. We have to make sure that we make that happen by giving our members the best experience that they can. So that they continue to come and encourage their friends to continue being involved.

I’ve come to the end of my questions is there anything else that you’d like to add?

I just think that all sports feel about their particular sport that they do a great job. It’s amazing for me I think to look at my involvement with netball. Whether it’s been Impalas at a club level to Baulkham Hills at an association level to now being involved at Netball NSW at a state level. It’s a sport that I love and I want people to have that same experience. You can get involved and just play or you can get involved and do a lot more things as I have over the years. But it’s great and I would love other people to have those same experiences because it certainly changed my life. I think that it’s something out there that could change a lot of other people’s lives.