ACC Legacy: Continuing to grow our sport

netballnsw.com continues to shine a light on the history of our netball community and the Anne Clark Centre as we approach our 2013 Netball NSW State Dinner.

First we brought you Kaye Sweeney’s sweet memories from her playing days at the Anne Clark Centre, before Beverley Dew revealed some of the hidden treasures uncovered by the Historical Committee.

With two sleeps until our annual dinner this Saturday 2 November, we sat with Netball NSW President Wendy Archer AM to see what some of her fondest memories are from over the years.

Wendy has enjoyed a long love affair with netball in NSW, first as a respected umpire and then member of the Netball NSW Executive Board, the last 11 years in the role of Netball NSW President.

Having spent so much time within the walls of the Anne Clark Centre, Wendy said it was difficult to pinpoint a specific memory from over the years.

“The one that really springs to mind – and you have to go back a few years for this one – is that we used to hold our Council Meeting upstairs in what is now the main office of the organisation,” Wendy said.

“We used to cram in there like sardines. I remember some Saturdays we would all be huddled in there and it used to get so hot!  But there was always a great camaraderie about squashing in, people jostling their chairs to fit in, and getting stuck into it.”

As an umpire, Wendy made her way through the ranks by achieving her National ‘A’ Badge in the early nineties when the Anne Clark Centre would host the superstars of Australian netball. Players such as Keeley Devery, Carissa Tombs, and Lisa Beehag could regularly be seen showing off their skills – with Wendy overseeing it all in white on the sidelines.

“I have fond memories of the time that I spent here in the very early days of State League as an umpire.  The events I’ve been involved in – matches, attending camps, selections – I’m sure a lot of people will be able to relate to,” Wendy said.

“Shortly after I got my ‘A’ Badge, Maureen Stephenson – who had also recently received her National ‘AA’ Badge – and I umpired a game between NSW and the Australian team in what they call ‘The Dungeon’ or Court D, so again the Centre has wonderful memories for me.”

“I remember watching Carol Phillips run around the court, as well as Helen Bowles, who is sadly no longer with us, Maureen Boyle with her whites on overseeing games; them and many, many others who have all played a part in the Anne Clark Centre.”

In addition to the happy memories, Wendy also enjoys the community spirit that surrounds the organisation – that she still recognises so many faces who have been involved in netball for so many years, and those of the younger generation stepping in to keep the legacy going.

“I think there is a real sense of community within our organisation. There are still faces who when I first started coming to Council that are still active participants in our netball community – whether at Club or Association level or sitting at our State level,” Wendy said.

“That’s the beauty and the gift that people give our sport.  Our sport is built on the back of what those people have done.  We have had such a wonderful base to work from – from people like Anne Clark who just gave tirelessly of her time, who inspired women in her era to give their time so the sport would prosper; off the back of that is what you see in Netball NSW today.

“Without them, and those before Anne Clark, we wouldn’t have the sport that we have today”.