Caption text for photo above:  Some members of Yallourn cricket team, who are taking part in the series of matches for country and city teams, at St. Kilda during the Easter holidays.  Source: ‘The Age’ April 18th 1938 Page: 4.



An aspect of the sporting life of the town of Yallourn, which should be placed on permanent record, was the stunning success of the Yallourn Women’s Cricket XI in the late 1930’s. The following article is an attempt to encapsulate the team’s accomplishments for future generations to read and appreciate.

It is known that the first women’s cricket matches in Australia can be traced back to 1874 at Bendigo…  

“More than 50 years ago a women's cricket match, claimed to be the first ever played in Australia, was contested on the Lower Reserve. Bendigo, as an adjunct to the Easter Fair.  George Mackay, in his book. ‘The Annals of Bendigo’, writes… "A women's cricket match was played on April 1. 1874. One side was attired in red Garibaldi jackets and sailor hats, and the other side in blue Garibaldi jackets and sailor hats." Source: ‘The Herald’ November 9th 1935 Page: 38

The Victorian Ladies Cricket Association was formed in 1904. In the inaugural year of that association, more than twenty teams were affiliated in the competition; and according to one source ….

“Due to World War I the association was disbanded in 1916 and re-formed socially in 1930 as “The Pioneers,” (Pioneer Victorian Ladies Cricket Association). The formation of the Women's Cricket Association in England was in 1926; and 1931 was the Foundation Year of the Australian Women's Cricket Council, which changed its name to Women's Cricket Australia and now comes under the banner of Cricket Australia.”  Source:  ‘CV Pioneers History’ Website


One of the earliest references to a women’s/girls’ cricket match at Yallourn was uncovered in ‘The Herald’ in December 1937. Games of cricket between women may have been played in Yallourn in earlier years but it was difficult to verify. The headline of the article is shown below and a copy of the accompanying text is also reprinted.

The text to a headline in 'The Herald' December 2nd 1937. Page:40 is as follows (apologies for any errors in transcription as several of the original paragraphs were difficult to decipher) ….

“YALLOURN CRICKETERS ARE KEEN:  Girl cricketers in Yallourn are better than the average first year player in the Victorian Women's Cricket Association, according to Miss Dot Mummery Debnam who visited the district during the week. It was the first visit of a Victorian official to Yallourn; and Miss Dot Debnam batted for both sides in a special 12-a-side game. Players were selected from the three Yallourn Association teams, Waratahs, Yallourn Ladies and Blue Birds (Brown Coal Mine).

Players who impressed Miss Debnam included Lorna Gore, who is only 14 and one of the best all-rounders in the district competitions. She bowls a medium pace ball and has a good defensive batting style. Yallourn’s fast bowler, Una Welfare, was not available for the match, but Phyl Crane, secretary of the Yallourn Association, and Dorothy Cooper, medium pace bowlers, also slow bowler, Winifred Paice, were outstanding in the match. Elvie Whitmore, who has scored 70 this season, and Lillian Pickard, 50, the best batswomen in Yallourn.

Mrs Jackson, who was associated with Miss Debnam in a partnership in Saturday s match, made 27. Miss Debnam says she is a hard player to dismiss. Another 14-year-old player Muriel Spriggs made 38 not out in a recent competition match. Fielding was also keen. Marie Kennedy, Masie McKay and Valerie Ireland being particularly outstanding, while the wicket-keeping of Lyle Nicholl, Ella Thomson and Gladys Cahill is a feature of the three teams in the association.

Hats and eye-shades are worn by Yallourn girls in preference to caps, and their uniform is a silk frock with divided skirt. After the match, Miss Debnam gave a lecture to 40 players. Yallourn will send a strong representative team to the V.W.C.A. Country Week fixture at Christmas.”

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