Finding football’s feminine side

WA Women's Football League’s Joanne Huggins and exhibition organiser Brunette Lenkic.
WA Women's Football League’s Joanne Huggins and exhibition organiser Brunette Lenkic.

Mrs Lenkic, of Greenwood, began researching the topic after both her daughters made the State team in 2012 and realised she knew nothing about the sport.

‘I kept pushing the girls to play netball but their heart just wasn’t in it but I didn’t know much about football so I started looking into it,’ Mrs Lenkic said.

‘When I saw games were played in 1915 it really sparked my interest, it looked like a centenary was going to go past with no recognition.

‘I just think female sport in general, needs more discussion, more celebration on it and I guess for my girls I wanted them to realise that the sport they’re playing has a long and hard fought history.’

Mrs Lenkic along with the help of the WA Football League, State Library and members of the public has slowly started to gather images and memorabilia but is hoping more people will come forward to help her tell the story.

She believed a game played at Bassendean Oval in August 1944 involving women from Midland Junction playing under the banner of East Fremantle and Swan Districts could hold the key to providing much needed information about the sport’s early history.

‘We are looking for the women who played, the umpire who was also a State player Fred Wimbridge or any of his family members, trophies, umpires, uniforms, team songs, programs, photographs, videos, recordings, medal, trophies anything with a logo on it but most importantly anything that tells the story of female football,’ she said.

‘Female football hasn’t necessarily been valued publicly but it has been important to the women who played and they have stories and albums so anything that tells that story in its fullness we want.’

Founder of the WA Women’s Football League and former player Joanne Huggins said it was important to hold such an exhibition to show how far the game had grown.

‘I started WA Women’s Football League in 1987 because I wanted to play footy,’ she said.

‘The first year of comp 1988, there were four teams – Innaloo, Mt Lawley, Carlisle, Melville, today there are six league and nine reserves sides.

‘This exhibition is important to show how much effort went into making it the competition it is today and showing that women have been interested in the footy for a very long time before women’s lib.’

The exhibition runs May 22 to July 31, 2015 at WA State Library. For more email