History of the Laburnum Netball Club


by Jude Brewis (Co-founder of Laburnum Netball Club – 2000) - written in 2012


Where does one start except that if you don’t get in and do it yourself, it’ll never get done!  Or so was our thoughts back in 2000 when a couple of us mums decided Laburnum could cater a little better for the females of the school…..yes they had Kelly Sports coming in doing Sports Clinics for cricket, soccer and other such sports, but never had there been anything associated with netball.   So just over ten years ago myself and Karen Presnell approached the school and put to them the idea of introducing netball ….. rallied together a bunch of ten eager girls including our own eldest two, most of whom had difficulty catching the ball let alone attempting to throw it as high as the ring, but their excitement for being part of a team was more than enough.  Those were the days when they looked forward to training!  Little did we know that a small seed planting of one team would grow to today’s unbelievable 21 teams in a thriving, incorporated Netball Club.


So was born the first official Laburnum Netball Team the “Bellbirds”….originally decided because of the sound of the Bellbirds in the area surrounding their primary school (I do apologise to all those who had to scratch their heads and think of yet another native bird name when another team began!)  We registered them in a 10 week Netta course down at Vermont South (Now Whitehorse Netball Association) and then entered them in their first season of actual competition….I can still remember their first game with their oversized green netball skirts and matching green bibs that were so big they all had to keep hitching them up on their shoulders, proud parents donned with cameras and videos (we were allowed to do that back in the early years) and of course the very important “orange roster” which was taken very seriously as whoever brought the oranges signed the sheet as the “captain” for the day.


At assembly each week they would announce how their game went that prior weekend so excitement started brewing amongst other friends in the same year level  that the following season a second team was born called the “Lorikeets” who to this day are still playing for the club and are now the longest playing team, as the Bellbirds sadly ceased playing a few years ago (but am pleased to see their name still lives on being used by a younger team).  The Lorikeets were likewise coached by another mum who was willing to put her hand up to help her daughter from that team, Anne Donoghue, who to this day also still coaches that team.  To all those wondering, neither Anne, Karen or myself had any specialized coaching skills….we had all just played netball ourselves through the years and were willing to help our kids so they had an opportunity to play netball themselves.


Two teams grew to four as we then started to promote the sport for all the girls of the school, with older girls wanting to join the club and younger siblings, much to their disgust, had to wait until they reached Grade 2 age!   Bellbirds, Lorikeets, Flame Robins, Larks, Firebirds, Kookaburras and Magpies.  The club was starting to grow beyond anything we had ever imagined so hence the club became incorporated in 2004. Anne Donoghue took over as the President and Philippa Blencowe the very organized Secretary of the fast growing club….these two wonderful workers steering the club in a very positive direction along with the help of other committee members such as Deirdree Geilings who was fantastic in both coaching and mentoring new coaches.


We had teams playing at Box Hill on a Tuesday evening because they couldn’t play on a Saturday and around this time we even had boys starting to play who were a force to be reckoned with….who ever said netball was just for girls!!  Laburnum was starting to get a name for itself at Whitehorse Netball Association as a new, very fast growing club, allowing some of our older girls to start umpiring and badging so the club were really starting to take responsibility for themselves.


We held some great end of year break ups where we had over 130 partaking in sausage sizzles, team photos and of course the presentation of certificates to each player.  We organized outings to the Phoenix Vs Kestrel games at the State Netball/Hockey Centre where we often had over 140+ girls and parents attend so it was a great community feeling and fundraiser for the club.


When starting the club back in 2000 our only desire was to give the players the opportunity to play a team sport with their friends, a bit of fitness, to learn good sportsmanship and to always encourage each player whether they were the most skilled or the one with the most growing to do….that they were all valuable and equal members of a team. To this day my youngest daughter’s team the Kookaburras has remained together since grade 2, so 19 seasons and going for their 20th soon.  They have been exposed to what it feels like to be defeated some seasons and to defeat every team in their section other seasons, but they have stuck at it through thick and thin and slowly chipped their way eventually winning each grand final of each section until they have reached their ultimate goal and that is to play in Section 1, for which they were runners up in 2010’s Grand Final.


So for all you little ones just starting out, it can be done!  Once they left primary school and all dispersed to their different high schools, it is their netball team that brings them all back together each week where they can not only play a great game and keep fit, but they get to catch up with all their old primary school buddies through the years of high school and beyond.  Not only have our children gained great things from being part of a team through the Laburnum Netball Club but we as their parents have also made some lovely friends whom I know we will continue to cherish for years to come.


I sincerely hope the club continues successfully for many years to come and just looking at the calibre of fresh and eager parents of younger players who have just been elected as the new committee, I believe this is achievable.