St John Bosco Netball Club
The Salesian presence was in Engadine for several years before any form of organised sport was available for girls. As the Catholic population was on the increase, there was a tremendous need to take action. The Engadine people were always ready to answer a need and even if this was a mammoth task for a very young community, they were ready to give it a go. A group of parents with the backing of the Salesian sisters, who were in charge of St John Bosco Primary School, began a process to establish a St John Bosco Netball club in 1963.
The following excerpt is taken from the parish monthly newsletter, The Bosconian, May 1963:
Sr Frances is very pleased with the grass netball court marked out in the convent grounds as this provides a much needed amenity for the children. Enquiries have shown that asphalt courts are preferable for playing and are necessary for competition games. However, asphalt courts come high on the expense list and are something that the P & F can aim for in the future. In the meantime these courts will provide good experience for our stars to be.
A working bee held last Saturday saw ten stalwarts put in four to five hours of solid shovelling, wheelbarrowing and levelling of ashes, to say nothing of scrub clearing and stump removing and all to provide car parking and playing area for your use.
A very good idea has been proposed for our young netballers. To date there has been no competition there. Now, Mrs May McStay has proposed that the other junior convent schools in the Shire (five we believe) be contacted and arrangements made for a meeting and the possible formation of a junior association for competition games. All in all this was a very lively and interesting meeting thoroughly enjoyed by those present.
Why not come along to our next meeting.
REMEMBER, WE ARE ALL WORKING FOR THE GOOD OF YOUR CHILDREN!
The mothers, determined to begin netball for their daughters, continued to badger the school and parish for suitable courts as the grass and the ashes courts were not really suitable. The sister’ white habits were worse for wear after netball practice. The proposed yew courts would cost around £600. It was suggested that the parish foot the bill. At this stage in the parish development, netball courts were not on the priority list. Persistence won in the end and the desired courts were built.
As the girls were not yet involved in any local or shire competition, they nevertheless played friendly games with other Catholic schools in the Sutherland Shire.
In 1967 The Bosconian reported:
St John Bosco team playing very determined netball, were unlucky to go down to Miranda 19-18. Gina Nanni’s goals were real gems. Patricia Milli (mighty Midget), playing centre was always there for the pass. Catherine Semken showed her superiority playing goal defence saved the day on many occasions.
Lois Hole – Coach
Later the same year, The Bosconian reports:
‘Playing the leaders in the Netball Competition, Gymea, our girls came out winners 22-19. This game was thrilling from start to finish, with both teams showing tremendous defence skills’.
In order to give more girls the opportunity to play netball, it was decided to enter a team in the Sutherland Shire Netball competition. This team was graded as 11 years B2 and were known as ‘Bosco’, the name that has continued to this day.
For twenty-four years St John Bosco Netball Club was run from the primary school under the patronage of the school principal. In January 1988 the Netball club accepted the offer to become part of the Youth Centre, bringing with it 360 players in forty-four teams and an enthusiastic subcommittee.
Today St John Bosco Netball Club is highly competitive in the Sutherland Shire and many of its past and present members have represented the Shire and State in Netball competitions.