Ella-Duncan welcomed into Hall of Fame

Former Australian international Marcia Ella-Duncan OAM was tonight inducted into the Netball NSW Hall of Fame, becoming the 35th individual to be entered into prestigious company following her great service to the sport.

The 53-year-old was recognised at the Netball NSW State Dinner on Saturday 5 November at Bankstown Sports Club, and joins the likes of NSW Netball legends such as Maureen Boyle OAM, Anne Clark BEM and former teammate Anne Sargeant OAM.

A pioneer of the sport, Ella-Duncan became Australia’s first Indigenous netball representative after making her international debut against the New Zealand Silver Ferns in 1986. The creative midcourter went on to play 18 tests for Australia, which included winning a silver medal at the 1987 Netball World Cup in Glasgow, Scotland.

A descendant of the Yuin nation on the NSW far south coast, Ella-Duncan began her netball career as a nine-year-old at the La Perouse Netball Club before going on to represent NSW throughout the 1980s. She was an early participant in the coveted ‘Golden Boot’ era for NSW Netball, taking home four Championship titles for both the NSW 21/U and NSW Opens Teams (1983-85, 1987).

Netball has continued to play a major role in Ella-Duncan’s post-playing career and she remains involved with Randwick Netball Association as a coach, this year helping steer their DOOLEYS Metro League Division 4 side to a Runners-Up finish.

However Ella-Duncan’s passion lies with her heritage. As an active member of the Indigenous community, she encourages young women to lead happy, healthy lifestyles. An active member of Netball Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group, the program outlines a course of action that specifically addresses the needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in order to increase participation from grassroots level right through to the Australian Diamonds.

Netball NSW President Wendy Archer AM paid homage to Ella-Duncan for being an inspiration, not only for young Indigenous girls and boys, but for the wider netball community.

“It is my great pleasure to welcome Marcia into the Netball NSW Hall of Fame – an individual who has shown so much commitment, devotion and creativity in promoting our wonderful sport,” Archer said.

“Not only is Marcia a leader on the court, more importantly she is a true leader off the court. The work she does within the community is outstanding, particularly working with Indigenous groups in encouraging young people to get involved in sport and lead positive, healthy lifestyles.

“For many former athletes you hear the phrase ‘I want to leave the game better than I found it’. This is the epitome of Marcia’s ethos – she is leaving her mark on the sport, helping it to grow and evolve and we are so proud of her efforts.

“On behalf of Netball NSW I would like to congratulate Marcia, as well as the other Hall of Fame inductees and Award Winners, for their wonderful recognition at tonight’s State Dinner.”

Along with Ella-Duncan, two historical artefacts of memorabilia were inducted into a new category; the Netball NSW Hall of Fame – Heritage category:

  • The NSW Women’s Basketball Association Minute Book – dated from 1927, the book’s significance lies in the fact it was used to record the very start of NSW Women’s Basketball, which later became known as NSW Netball Association (Netball NSW) in 1970.
  • 1969 NSW Netball Association Touring Singapore Team – the team consisted of 12 individuals, of which five are members of the Netball NSW Hall of Fame. Representing Australia at the international tournament, the team returned home undefeated which, given the era and resources available to the sport, was a truly outstanding effort.

“Both the 1927 Minute Book and 1969 NSW Netball Association Touring Singapore Team carrying great historical significance for Netball in NSW; and as such are deserved inductees into our newly created Netball NSW Hall of Fame – Heritage category,” Archer said.

“The Minute Book marks the introduction of Netball in NSW, therefore laying the foundations of our organisation that I am very proud to represent.

“The 1969 Touring Team was also the first NSW side to compete internationally to represent Australia, which is an incredible achievement considering the limited resources available to our sport at the time. Not only did they represent their State and country with pride, but were able to return home undefeated – a wonderful accomplishment.”

The NSW netball community also celebrated the following 2016 Award Recipients:

  • Anne Clark BEM Service Awards: Stephanie Bortkevich (Newcastle), Ken Eberbach (Ku-ring-gai), June Haynes (Northern Suburbs), Ann O’Mara (Sutherland Shire) and Leslie Smith (Charlestown)
  • Marilyn Melhuish OAM NSW Swifts Player of the Year: Laura Langman
  • Marj Groves AM Scholarship: Claire O’Brien (St George District)
  • Nance Kenny OAM Medal – Premier League Player of the Year: Kristen Kessler (Wyong District)
  • Lynn Quinn OAM Bench Official Award: Karen Wilson (Baulkham Hills Shire) and Patricia Mann (Penrith District)
  • Neita Matthews OAM Umpires Award: Laura Hay (St George District) and Shauna Winchester (Ku-ring-gai)
  • Margaret Corbett OAM Coaches Award: Jaqua Heddle (Penrith District)
  • Judy Dunbar Media Awards: Central Western Daily (Community Media Excellence), Duncan Huntsdale, ABC Grandstand (Best Feature) and Mark Evans, Newscorp Australia (Best Photograph)

Hall of Fame Citation: Marcia Ella Duncan
A pioneer in Australian sport, Marcia Ella-Duncan represented New South Wales in both the Opens (1984-1987) and 21/U (1981-1983) State Teams, claiming four Championship titles during that period.

The talented midcourter went on to play 18 Tests for Australia after making her international debut against New Zealand in Christchurch in May 1986.  Her career included winning a silver medal at the 1987 Netball World Cup in Glasgow, Scotland.

Ella-Duncan was also the first Indigenous athlete to receive a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

Born and raised in Sydney, Ella-Duncan – a descendant of the Yuin nation on the NSW far south coast – began her netball career as a nine-year-old at the La Perouse Netball Club, playing in a team of girls five years older than her.

She has received numerous awards over her career, on and off the court, including an Order of Australia Medal for services to netball in 1988, and in 2015 was inducted into the Netball Australia Hall of Fame.

Ella-Duncan continues to combine her loves of sport and championing issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

She is the coaching co-ordinator for the Randwick Netball Association (RNA) in Sydney, coaches the RNA’s State League team and founded the Pearlers Netball Club, which provides an inclusive, diverse and supportive netball environment for all its members.

She is also a member of Netball Australia’s Working Group to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan, and has been a leader and visionary in her desire to see more indigenous people – particularly girls – to be involved in netball and lead happy, healthy lives.  

Hall of Fame Citation: The NSW Women’s Basketball Association Minute Book
The NSW Women’s Basketball Association Minute Book is one of the most significant artefacts in our 87-year history.

This minute book is almost 90 years old, as such in a very delicate condition, and is the original documentation by which the foundations of the sport were built in 1927.

Some of the content that lies within this book includes:

  • Minutes from 18 September, 1935, which includes our Constitution
  • Details of the first annual Membership Free
  • And finally, minutes which included the City Girls’ Amateur Sports Association to register as NSW Women’s Basket Ball Association.

Hall of Fame Citation: 1969 NSW Netball Association Touring Singapore Team
The 1969 NSW Netball Association team consisted of ten players: Captain/Coach Nola Green (2008 Hall of Fame), Vice-Captain Carole Sykes (2008 Hall of Fame), Frances Hayes, Nancy Atterton, Carol Trimble, Lorraine Burton, Eileen Jones, Kaye Thomas, Jan Meades, and Vicki Kerr (2014 Hall of Fame inductee).

Their manager was the great Nance Kenny OAM (2011 Hall of Fame), and Umpire Neita Matthews OAM – also 2011 Hall of Fame inductee and our current Netball NSW Patron.

The team was selected from the NSW Netball Association to represent Australia at a Tournament in Singapore to mark their 150th anniversary.

The Tournament was played over five days; from 11 August to 15 August 1969 at the Singapore Netball courts.

There were 15 other countries competing in a range of sports at the tournament, but there was great interest in netball, with Army, Navy and Airforce teams also participating.

Our NSW Team went through the tournament undefeated.

At the Closing Ceremony Nance Kenny was presented with a 150th year Anniversary Memento Of the Pesta Sukan (Festival of Sport).

If we consider the era in which this team travelled and the resources available to our sport, it was truly an outstanding effort to attend the Tournament and compete internationally, let alone to return home without a loss.