Australia’s first Aboriginal netball representative Marcia Ella-Duncan OAM will be inducted into the Australian Netball Hall of Fame at the 2015 Australian Netball Awards tomorrow night, Saturday 7 November.
A pioneer in Australian sport, 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. Ella-Duncan 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 Aboriginal athlete to receive a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
The talented midcourter said the Hall of Fame accolade is the highlight of her career.
“It is both flattering and an incredible honor,” Ella-Duncan said. “To be recognised among the most incredible people in the netball community is a wonderful honor and I feel very humbled to be included in that elite group.
“I enjoyed a wonderful career. It wasn’t a long career at international level and I’ve been recognised for a lot of things for my contribution to netball but this does stand out for me personally as a remarkable achievement.”
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.
The former midcourter has received numerous awards over her career, on and off the court, including an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to netball in 1988.
“The sport has given me an opportunity to break the mould and defy my destiny,” Ella-Duncan said.
“I have travelled the world, made lifelong friends, developed skills and qualities that have helped me at home, at work and in the broader community.
“Netball is my lifelong sport and I am eternally grateful for what it has given me.”
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 (RAP), which will be launched in Sydney on Saturday morning.
The 2015 Australian Netball Awards will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.