Venetians History

Marg Whitney

A special recall of the history of Venetians through Marg Witney’s eyes:

1968 my friends and I played Netball at Matthews centre (now Perth) in a team name made up of all our initials. It was called SEMAJD. Blue tunic’s 4 inches above the knee when kneeling on the ground when tested by the Uniform police!

We were quite successful in that year and several others wanted to join us we had no knowledge of how to run a club and knew we must change the name. Girls wanted to join an independent club no associated with schools etc.

At that time there were two predominate colours in netball red and blue with a combination of white and black. Being young and not wanting to conform we decided to do something different.

My mum who was the secretary of the team went and brought us samples of different patterns we could look at as far as colours were concerned. We were still dictated by the style and the length of the uniform as mentioned previously.

At that time we had numbers 1 to 7 not letters on our tunics press studded on (Velcro) was not available as yet and lovely big bloomers that our mothers thought were wonderful, especially when you fell over in the mud or slipped on the green grass or had your legs all over the place!!

As 19 year olds we decided that we would submit our new striped tunic for the powers that be to ok for 1969. The colours were vertical stripes of green, lilac, yellow, with yellow knickers. To say it was an upset was right it had to go to the WA Netball next meeting to be approved.

We couldn’t think of a name all the teams were ether named after schools or areas i.e. City Beach Royals etc etc. While mum was making the uniforms my husband said what is that material for it looks like blinds he meant the canvas ones that were popular for outside window covering at the time. However he called them Venetian blinds well that how blokes look at things I guess one blind is as good as another! So the name became part of Netball history for the next 40 years up until today.

In the mean time mum had made 14 tunics (no reserves) for two teams which we would be wearing no matter the judgement.

We started training with leather balls which were very expensive and had to pay for them ourselves as part of our fees. Training was held at any primary school that would let us in after work or those that wouldn’t and we just snuck in. When it got dark we went home!

Our two teams did really well they were in F5 and D5 grades I think. Which meant more people wanted to join in 1970!

In 1970 on onwards we started to field 5 6 79 teams in a season plus summer all at Perth. We also started Juniors with the help of Wyn Germano we trained these players after work in the play ground at a local school in Mt. Lawler. The seniors trained at Subiaco PS and Hollywood high school on a court that had a 45 deg slope running across the court that was a challenge

We also made changes to our uniforms green wrap skirt that were forever flying up yellow knickers and tie dye t shirts. Dying the t shirts took Pam Harris and I 2 whole weekends we both had coloured hands at the end that seemed to stay forever. It was all done in the copper at mums. Other teams were quick to follow in the next winter season.

We still maintained a good winning ratio with the Juniors and Seniors over this time, However people were getting married and having children and Wanneroo had opened a new netball complex. We were invited to join them so sent a few teams there for a season to see what it was like.

By this time we had moved into A grade so were happy with our lot for the first senior team, the travel to and from Wanneroo for people like Wyn Pam and myself was very wearing as when we got there we each had 3 teams to train plus our own training. We were all travelling from North Perth.

Once again the club started growing with our success and as an alternative club to be with our juniors increased and we had intermediates and seniors as well. Finally the whole club moved to Wanneroo where we have been ever since.

Achievements during my time.

Representatives in to State under age squads
Representatives in Country week at Perth.
Representatives in WA championships in all grades by d8by different individuals.
Representative in Americas Cup competition. P Monaghan
Representative on WA Netball Board and Perth Netball Association Board. M Witney
Umpires state C badge M Witney

Venetians were able to have a consistent number of umpires and coaches trained over this time to help the club and netball in general move forward.

The coaches that we had back then thought nothing of training 2 or three teams in a winter season. I can only say thank you to them all from the bottom of my heart.

We always struggled for money when we went to Wanneroo the training under lights was very expensive. At one stage we trained at Woodvale High School which was cheaper but only had 3 courts.

Every year we took part in a fundraising day at Wanneroo when they had a stall. Sponsorship was generously given by my Husbands company Calibre Constructions and some of his mates when we were in dire straits. Selling Chocolates etc etc also helped.

Eventually I was seconded by the West Coast Region to become a committee member then president for several years. At that time I had to ask Jenny West to be our new President as I could not cope with both. This lead to being a board member for the Orioles (fever) at the beginning of the Australian competition. Also moved into a position on the board of WA Netball for which I was acknowledged with a life membership.

Marg Witney

– Margaret Witney (Stanley) founder with others and life member of Venetians Netball Club