In the late 1980s and early 1990s I assisted Shirley Schneider with the physical preparation of the WA Senior Women’s team and my attention was drawn to the teams of the 1950s which had been so successful. I wondered why. I began to understand a little when I met Val Johnson at the 1991 Senior Women’s national championships in Adelaide. During a barbeque lunch Val hosted for the WA team she engaged in lively reminiscing with Schneider and Lorraine Malcolm (Statistician). I realized that there was a need to record the stories Val, Shirley and Lorraine shared. When Val came to Perth in September 1991 as a guest of the WASA for the opening of the State Softball Centre at Mirrabooka I negotiated to have several chats with her and Joy Marsland. My fascination grew and I pottered around collecting bits and pieces of information. In 1993 I learnt that noted sports historian Wray Vamplew was working on the history of softball in Australia. I offered to share what I had collected. Shortly afterwards Wray accepted an appointment overseas and the project was left in abeyance. I decided to offer to complete it. In its wisdom the National Sports Research Council required me to complete the full application process for a grant. After some delays I was given approval to proceed. The result was Batter Up! The history of softball in Australia published by the Australian Softball Federation in 1995. This took me way beyond my original intentions for WA softball and into the broad field of sports history. When I retired I determined to fulfill my promise the wonderful people who encouraged me all through Batter Up! Many interruptions and two more decades of softball have finally seen the challenge met.


I grappled for some time with the best way to present what I had gathered. Batter Up! was strictly a chronological record of the ASF and national teams. Softball WA is a thematic presentation tracing the progress of softball in WA from a girls’ game towards a sport for all - females and males from junior ranks to veterans plus the multitude of people who service the sport as umpires, scorers and coaches. ‘Towards’ is intentional since there are still groups to be included.

Throughout the text an overview of relevant national developments precedes the discussion of what happened in WA to establish a context for WA softball responding to a combination of local needs and national directives. The breadth and complexity of national changes since 1995 has been greater than what happened previously and has not been collated in a single text. Hence some sections are more detail to provide a meaningful context.


is a very brief background about the invention of softball in the USA to its introduction to Australia and then Western Australia.

focuses on the administration of the sport from the traditional volunteer base through to the business model now in operation.

examines each of the main competitions in the order in which they began: women’s club softball, State championships (plus the emergence of Affiliates), men’s club softball, State League Softball and Veterans.

shifts attention to the three phases of national competition: 1949 to 1969 when each State/Territory had one women’s teams; 1970 to 1984 when the women’s championships expanded to include Under 16 and Under 19 divisions; and, 1984 to the present when men commenced playing national championships. Change has been most rapid since 1984 and a separate chapter explains the changes before considering the efforts of the WA teams.

umpiring, coaching and scoring - are essential for softball to grow and improve. Coaching is addressed in two ways. First attention is paid to the education of coaches, then the focus shifts to addressing the needs of potential State and national representatives. Development is the ubiquitous service aiming to expand softball’s progress towards being a sport for all.

addresses how the WA softball community has grappled to ‘Find a home of our own’ and in the process establishing the three main venues: Langley Park, Yokine Reserve and the State Softball Centre at Mirrabooka.

summarises the awards and recognition earned by both players and administrators.


The Life Members have been the backbone of WA softball and a separate chapter outlines the process of becoming a Life Member and the work Life Members perform. To date 33 people have been awarded Life Membership of the WAWSA/WASA. I consider myself very fortunate to have spoken to each of them as I prepared their personal profiles. I am saddened and disappointed that I was not able to finish the text before some passed away. I had access to an abundance of materials from both the national and State offices, however, it is not the practice of the WASA to provide citations to Life Members at the time of their appointment so the profiles have been compiled from personal interviews, minutes and Annual Reports and in some cases media coverage as well as occasional comments about each other.


Profiles of the Life Members have been embedded throughout the book in what I considered the best place to highlight each one. This often proved very difficult to determine since many of the Life Members contributed across the whole sport but hopefully the placements enhance the understanding of the enormous amount each has contributed.


From the abundance of materials from national and State level I compiled an extensive set of tables and charts to support the text. However, only the most relevant tables have made it to the Appendices – namely State team lists, placings at national championships, winners of national championships. Despite all of this there are still some aspects such as club and affiliate histories still to be undertaken and I urge those closest to them to think about taking this on.