The State Age Championships, one of the largest female sporting events in the Southern Hemisphere, was originally called the Junior District Carnival, a day-long carnival which was first held on Sunday 14 July, 1968 at Sydney’s Moore Park.
Forty-four teams representing 10 Associations contested in five age-groups during the inaugural tournament; 14 Years, 13 Years, 12 Years, 11 Years and 10 Years. With Manly-Warringah and Sutherland Shire dominating the winners’ list at the first championships.
As the years rolled on, the number of entries grew to such an extent that it became necessary to contest the Championships over a two-day period to enable each Association to play one another. And as team numbers continued to increase, the Championships expanded to include a third day.
In 1983, a second division in each age group was added, and two years later the competition was re-structured, settling on ages groups for 15/U, 14/U, 13/U and 12/U. Since this time, the competition has continued to grow to include four divisions of competition in each of the age groups.
Due to the size of the event, multiple Associations are used simultaneously to host, which is always an incredible effort from our fantastic volunteer-powered Associations and the Netball NSW staff.
In 2018, the 50th year of the State Age Championships, almost 3,000 players, representing 300-plus teams from 88 Associations from all over New South Wales, took part.
Having seen such growth, and teamwork to make them happen, it was a pleasure to see the State Age Championships inducted into Netball NSW Hall of Fame under the Heritage Category at the organisation’s 2018 State Dinner.