This weekend marks a special occasion in the history of Netball NSW with Sunday 29 September marking 34 years since the Foundation Stone was laid at the Anne Clark Centre.
The Anne Clark Centre has played an important part in the legacy of our organisation and throughout its history has hosted many events – both netball and other – and gone through a number of changes.
The Foundation Stone was laid at Wyatt Park, Church Street, Lidcombe on Saturday 29 September, 1979 – Netball NSW’s Golden Jubilee; the same year as the organisation was officially incorporated as a company limited by guarantee under the NSW Companies’ Code.
Fifty-four Associations were affiliated with Netball NSW in its Golden Jubilee year, representing nearly 25,500 senior players and officials, and almost 36,000 juniors.
The Association’s goal of a State headquarters was realised on Saturday 11 October, 1980, when the Anne Clark Netball Centre was officially opened by the Honourable K.G. Booth MP, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Tourism.
Anne Clark BEM at the time described the occasion as an historic moment; “This building is the fruition of a dream 55 years, work and standards, by members – past and present – and a symbol of inspiration for our future players. ‘Not the prize, but the Game’.”
Netball NSW Patron Anne Clark was there to celebrate the occasion alongside Board Members, Life Members, Government dignitaries and the netball community, including the Anne Clark Centre Building Committee comprising of Betty Berg OAM, Marie Dunn OAM, Grace McDonald OAM, Neita Matthews OAM and Dorothy ‘Dot’ McHugh OAM.
Since that time, the Anne Clark Centre has seen many historical events including the 1983 Netball NSW State Championships, held on the long weekend of Saturday 11 to Monday 13 June, the Open and 21/U National Netball Championships from Friday 15 to Thursday 21 May 1987 during the ‘Golden Boot Era’ of NSW netball, as well as the Netball NSW State Age Championships on Saturday 4 to Monday 6 July in the same year.
The NSW Swifts use the Anne Clark Centre as their training arena as they prepare, week in and week out, to take on the very best netballers in the ANZ Championship. NSW State Teams also spend hours on the courts to best formulate their combinations ahead of National Netball Championships, as well as the DOOLEYS State League, Australian Netball League and other Netball NSW competitions being contested on the courts.
And although the majority of events that have been held at the Anne Clark Centre are netball related there have been many other events hosted that haven’t involved our favourite sport.
From social badminton tournaments to School Spectacular practices, cultural festivals for our sub-continent and Pacific Islander friends to Family days out – the Anne Clark Centre has and continues to see a rainbow of occasions celebrated within its walls.
The legacy continues this year with Netball NSW hosting one of our marquee events, the annual State Dinner, at the Anne Clark Centre on Saturday 2 November.
This year’s dinner will recognise some of the amazing accolades from across 2013, but also give the netball community an opportunity to celebrate the history of the Anne Clark Centre before we move to our new home in Sydney Olympic Park, Netball NSW’s Centre of Excellence.