top of page
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

In the Beginning

In 1894 the game of basketball was taken to England from the United States, but there was strong British resistance.  English women did, however, see some possibilities in the game :  changed its name and adapted its rules.  The rules of Netball were first published in England in 1901.  Netball arrived in Australia and New Zealand around the same time.  It soon acquired the name Women’s Basket Ball but by now it was the game we all love.

Netball rules were very different to basketball.  Women’s apparel of the day – long skirts, bustle backs, nipped waists, leg-of-mutton sleeves and button-up shoes – made long throws, running and dribbling difficult.  So the court was divided into thirds; a smaller ball was used; four extra players were added (making nine, but later being reduced to seven); players were only allowed in certain areas; the ball had to be caught or touched in each third; no running with the ball; no backboard; five (later three) seconds were allowed to shoot for goal.  Early goal posts were a pole with a washing basket attached.  Another pole was used to tilt the basket when a goal was scored.  When this didn’t work, the umpire had to shimmy up the pole to release the ball.

In 1970, the NSW Women’s Basket Ball Association, in line with All Australia, became the NSW Netball Association.


Hills District Netball Association (HDNA)

In 1958, Mr Edgar Bill, Headmaster of Beecroft Primary School, saw the need for Saturday morning sport for girls and so convened a meeting to form an organising committee to get the ball rolling for a Women’s Basket Ball Competition.  It was supported by Rotary and the first competition began.  It consisted of teams from primary schools between Cheltenham and Normanhurst.

Original teams were from Beecroft Sports Club, Cheltenham, Castle Hills, Hornsby and Asquith High Schools.  By 1966, the numbers were almost doubles and teams from Pennant Hills Sports Club, Thornleigh Sports Club, local primary schools as well as Mount St Benedict’s and Pennant Hills High Schools has joined the competition.  Finding courts proved difficult.  Games were played on 20 courts over nine different locations, with the man courts being the four at Cheltenham Oval.

Hills District Women’s Basket Ball Association (HDWBBA) was formed in 1968 with 16 clubs including Kuringai High School, Waitara CYO, St Patrick’s, Asquith, Carlingford High School, Waitara Convent and other sport and school clubs.  It was amazing that within 10 years, Mr Edgar Dill’s dream of a competition for local girls had grown so much.

The first executive committee consisted of Mrs Beth Blackshaw, President; Mrs Margaret Waterman, Secretary; Mrs Phyl Dixon; Mrs Lesley Sutton (Milner), Registrar.  These ladies faced many mammoth tasks in these early years.  In particular, they had to find suitable umpires and assistance was given by Mrs Neita Matthews from the Eastwood Ryde Association.  This resulted in Beth Blackshaw becoming the first NSW badged umpire from Hills.  To alleviate the venue problem, representations were made to Hornsby Council and the construction of the Pennant Hills Centre was started in late 1968 with 14 courts completed over the summer.


  • 1969 - The HDWBBA was affiliated with the New South Wales Women’s Basket Ball Association.  Competition was conducted at both Pennant Hills and Cheltenham on all weather courts.  The competition was run from tables under the trees.

  • 1970 - The competition was extended to Saturday afternoons to include senior teams.  The first Hills representative team was formed and played in the under 15s division of the State Championships.

  • 1972 - The Hills Cloth Badge (Encouragement Badge) was introduced for beginning umpires.

  • 1973 - Coolong Courts (Castle Hill) were accepted as a third venue due to the growing number of teams.  The amenities block was completed after protests delayed construction.

  • 1975 - Baulkham Hills Association was formed and a number of teams moved over.  In July, a match at Hills was the first in NSW to be broadcast on TV.  Barbara Wood and Jeanette Love gave the commentary.

  • 1976 - Louise Blackshaw was the first state player from Hills to be selected in the State Under 21 team.

  • 1978 - Hills Metal Umpires Badge was introduced.  Di Heron (nee Jordan) was awarded Hills’ first A badge.  The Coca Cola Championship was won by WPHSC 14 years.  Hills hosted the New Zealand National team who played a game against the NSW State team.  Two Hills teams played a warm up game with rules and uniforms straight from the 1930s.  Beth Blackshaw was awarded Life Membership.

  • 1979 - Lights were installed on six courts and the first pre-season night competition was held.  Melinda Baldwin was named in the State Under 16 School Girls team.  The Under 21s were runners up at the State Championships.  Brenda Eyles was awarded Life Membership.

  • 1980 - Beverley Watson was elected as Senior Vice President of NSWNA.

  • 1981 - Spring night competition commenced.  The Under 13s team came equal first at State Age.  The Under 18s team were runners up at State Championships.  Barbara Wood and Beverley Watson were members of the NSW Board of Directors.  Helen Bowrey and Kirsten Wood were selected in State teams.

  • 1982 - The Inaugural Achievement Trophy was awarded to Heather Huxley.  Four new courts were completed.  Coolong Courts were no longer used.  Shirley Travers was awarded Life Membership.

  • 1983 - Edna Wardrop was awarded Life Membership.

  • 1984 - Modified rules for 8s and 9s were introduced at Cheltenham Courts.  Jan Love was awarded Life Membership.

  • 1985 - Di Heron is awarded her AA badge – the first for Hills.  Julie Martin is selected in the NSW Night Tournament team.  Michelle Gardoni, Fran Dorey and Natalie Berriman were selected in the State Under 14 team – they finished as runners up at the National tournament.

  • 1988 - Three Hills teams win their divisions – 1, 3 and 5 – at night State League – the first time this was done.  Fran Dorey, Michelle Gardoni and Natalie Berriman were selected in the State Under 17s team.  Mrs L Day was awarded Life Membership.

  • 1989 - The administration building was completed.  Our State League Division 3 won.  This team included the girls selected in the Under 17s NSW team.  Nerida Spindler was chosen in the State Under 19s team.  Barbara Wood was awarded Life Membership.

  • 1990 - The 12s were runners up at State Age.  Our umpires were awarded five B and twelve C badges and Melissa Burgess was awarded her A badge.  The Division 2 Night Interdistrict team were winners.

  • 1991 - The year the World Championships were held in Sydney.  Hills girls were cheerleaders and part of a dance group.  We hosted two exhibition games with England and Scotland.  Our 13s won their division at State Age.

  • 1992 - State League 2 team won their division and were promoted to Division 1.

  • ​1993 - Saw the celebration of Hills’ 25th Anniversary.​​​​​​​​

  • 1994 - State League Division 3 and Interdistrict Division 2 were runners up.  Hayley McKivat was named in the NSW Junior Talent Squad.  Catherine Cox and Skye Griffiths were chosen in the State 19s Team.  Melissa Adams was awarded her AA badge, the second for Hills.  She then umpires for both CBT and ANZ games for several years.  She was chosen as the Australian Umpire for the Under 21s tour to the Cook Islands.  Marie Bowrey was awarded Life Membership.

  • 1995 - The 17s were runners up and the 19s were third at the State Championships.  Catherine Cox was a member of the Australian Under 21s Team.  Our 14s won at State Age.  Ruth Binns and Len Burgess were awarded Life Memberships.

  • 1996 - Helen Russell was awarded her A badge.  Margaret Coe became a NSW timer and scorer.  The 15s and 21s both came second.  The new regular morning barbeques started to assist fundraising.  Catherine Cox became a member of the Australian Open Squad.

  • 1997 - Catherine Cox and Nerida Stewart (nee Spindler) were chosen for the Swifts.  The dream of an indoor court was born.

  • 1998 - Julia Symonds became a member of the NSW Under 17s Team.  Our 15s were joint premiers at State Age.  Lyn Burgess was awarded Life Membership.

  • 1999 - Margaret Coe was appointed Manager of the State Under 19s Team.  Lesley Milner was awarded Life Membership.

  • 2000 - With the aid of a loan and Government grant, construction began on the indoor court.  Lyn Burgess and Margaret Coe received the Australian Sports Medal for Services to Netball.  Fran Macri and Anne Coulton were awarded Life Memberships.

  • 2001 - February saw the official opening of the Millennium Indoor Court due to the hard and constant work from Fran Macri.  Julia Symons was in the Under 21 Australian Squad.

  • 2002 - Our State League 1 team won their competition.  Mrs M Garnett and Beverley Mann were awarded Life Memberships.

  • 2003 - Lyn Burgess was presented with the Centenary Medal by the Governor General for Community Contributions.  The Board asked Lyn Burgess to set up Archives for New South Wales Netball and she still continues in this role.

  • 2004 - A mixed competition was introduced into the night competition.  Linda McDonald was awarded her A umpires badge.  Len Burgess received the Anne Clark Service Award – the only male to do so.

  • 2006 - State League 1 team came third while our State League 3 and Regional Interdistrict Teams were runners up.

  • 2007 - Helen George (nee Russell) awarded her AA umpires badge.  Lesley Milner was awarded the Anne Clark Service Award.

  • 2008 - Lyn Burgess received an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday Awards for Services to Netball and her service in several local organisations.  Carol Gorman was awarded Life Membership.

  • 2013 - Jennie Thompson was awarded Life Membership.

  • 2016 - Vicki Davis and Lisette Smith were awarded Life Memberships.

  • 2017 - HDNA Service Awards were introduced.  Recipients for 2017 were :  Chris Cigana, Janet Holman, Peter Holman, Toni Bauer, Marilyn Bonvino, Emma Lannan, Ros Miller and Debbie Martin.

  • 2018 - Saw the introduction of the All Abilities Program.  Sadly, this has been on hold because of COVID.  Hopefully it will restart again soon.  We are grateful for the support of Rawson Homes.

  • 2018 - Lyn Burgess OAM was given the Waratah Service Award by Netball NSW for her work with NSW Netball.  This is the highest Award for Service to NSW Netball to Volunteers.

  • 2018 - Service Awards presented to Angela Kerr and Sue MacMahon.

  • 2018 - 50th Anniversary celebrations including an afternoon tea.

  • 2019 - Service Award presented to Clare Ashpole.

  • 2021 - Service Awards presented to Sally Knight, Ruth Bowman, Janette Barton and Joey Rigor.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • 2022 - Our 15s State Title Team won their division - Division 2.

  • 2022 - Service Award presented to Lisa Robertson.

  • 2022 - HDNA Team 1 won Dooleys Metro League Division 1, beating Northern Suburbs by 57 to 51.

  • 2022 - Service Awards awarded to Kim Hosking, Phil Wheeler and Di Benham.  

  • 2023 - Service Awards awarded to Caitlin Knight and Ian Newbert.


bottom of page