Bundaberg Netball 75th birthday celebrations

Bundaberg Netball Association 75th birthday
Lyn Petersen, Fay Beresford and Pauline Langford at Bundaberg Netball Association's 75th birthday celebrations.

Bundaberg Netball Association celebrated 75 years in the community with a gala dinner on Saturday night with past and present players reminiscing about the sport.

Memories flooded back for Lyn Petersen nee Beresford, and Pauline Langford nee Moller along with life member Fay Beresford, 94, as they looked through albums holding decades of photos and news articles about the sport.

Lyn, 72 and Pauline, 74, said it had been 50 years since they had played in the Royals Ladies Basketball team, as it was known during that era.

75 years Bundaberg Netball
Netball at Salter Oval in 1960, known then as women's basketball.

The pair played together in the undefeated Royals Ladies throughout the winter fixtures in 1965.

“There were two different games but at the time netball was called basketball for the ladies,” Lyn said.

“We played in the same team as Daph Geddes and it was a great game to play.”

They recalled memories of their fathers helping to build the netball courts at Kendalls Flat decades ago.

For Pauline one highlight was winning Miss Carnival in 1963 at the Austral Hall.

“We played all weekend just about and they had a Miss Carnival at the Austral Hall across from Central School,” Pauline said.

They both agreed the rules may have changed over the years but the camaraderie in the sport remains the same.

“It’s just great now to see so many young girls play – it’s totally different from when we played but we enjoy watching it,” Lyn said.

“There is too much contact these days though!”

Bundaberg Netball Association 75 birthday
Pauline Langford nee Moller was Miss Carnival in 1963 with the Bundaberg Netball Association

Netball continues to grow in Bundaberg

Bundaberg Netball Association president Anthony Lewis said the evening was a great opportunity to celebrate the largest female participation sport in the Bundaberg Region.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to celebrate what we have and what we love about the sport, while we acknowledge the hard work from all our volunteers,” he said.

“We couldn’t get to 75 years without the volunteers.”

“We also have Netball Queensland president Jane Seawright coming along tonight, which is a pretty special.”

Bundaberg Netball Association 75th birthday
Bundaberg Netball Association's president Anthony Lewis and his daughter Mackenzie at the 75th birthday celebrations.

Anthony said netball in in Bundaberg was continuing to grow.

“We have 74 teams across 13 divisions now and we were around the 50 mark only four years ago,” he said.

“We’ve had growth every year and the facilities have helped this; we couldn’t be doing what we are now without the facilities.”

Anthony’s daughter Mackenzie joined as a nipper at seven years of age and now 10 years later her passion has grown so much that she now umpires, coaches and continues to play.

“My younger sister Jorja also plays; you really make heaps of friendships playing a sport like netball,” Mackenzie said.

“It’s a great sport and it keeps you fit, and I would recommend it to anyone.”

Anthony said as a family they had always seen team sport as a good thing, which instilled not just friendships, but life lessons were learnt along the way.

“As parents we have always seem team sport as a good thing as you have to learn how to deal with people because its not a once off interaction, so you have to learn how to cope,” he said.

Bundaberg Netball Association 75 years
Bundaberg Netball Association's Shelley Naumann and president Anthony Lewis at the 75th birthday celebrations.

Progress and friendships along the way

Bundaberg Netball Association life member Shelley Naumann said 75 years was a long time and there had been a lot of development and friendships made a long the way.

“It’s the memories that have been created in these years that really stand out,” Shelley said.

“I played netball as a seven-year-old, so I am now 41 and I play walking netball now.

“The photos help bring back all of the memories and we can see the changes over the years.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was an historical moment for the Bundaberg Netball Association to celebrate 75 years.

“There has been so many hard-working volunteers and families associated over that 75 years and tonight is a great way to recognise all of that work and sacrifices and dedication that has gone into netball in the Bundaberg Region,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Bundaberg certainly has one of the best regional netball facilities in Queensland and this has ensured there is a magnificent pathway forward for those who are wanting to get in to netball now.

“We have two fantastic national teams in Queensland and there is certainly going to be lots of young Bundaberg players representing them in the future.”