SITTING together on the Esplanade in 1914, a group of women had a discussion which would change the face of sport in Western Australia forever.
Around the turn of the century, British Navy personnel stationed in Australia had started laying the foundations for development of hockey throughout the country and matches – many of which involved women and particularly schoolgirls – were recorded during the early 1900s.
As the years went on and the game moved from strength to strength, it led to a pivotal conversation in which Maude Johnson, the captain of one of the four metropolitan hockey teams at the time, highlighted the need for a formal hockey association for women.
Two years later the eventual result was the formation of the WA Women’s Hockey Association – 100 years ago in 1916.
On Sunday, September 11, women players, coaches and umpires past and present gathered to celebrate the centenary of women’s hockey in WA.
Hockey WA chief executive Peter Churack said it was a milestone worth recognising and celebrating.
“I’m delighted we’ve taken steps to recognise and remember this significant milestone,” he said.
“Western Australia has a long and proud association with hockey and it is only right that we celebrate the action taken by the many inspirational women who have, over the years, helped to pave the way for future generations to take part in this fantastic and inclusive sport.”
“It’s remarkable to think that only eight years after hockey appeared at the Olympics for the first time, we had a dedicated Western Australian Women’s Hockey Association established here in the State and the effort of those women – and the vision that they had – should be celebrated.
“Hockey in Western Australia has continued to grow to the point where we now have more than 20,000 registered members throughout the State and players of all ages participating.
“But it’s important that we, as a hockey community, remember the history of our sport and the people who have helped us get to where we are today.”