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Our Club

Women’s hockey in the Cronulla area started just prior to the Second World War. In those days and in the mid 1940s after the war, the ladies from the Cronulla Hockey club would venture to Rushcutters Bay to play in the forerunner of the Eastern Districts Women’s Hockey Association (EDWHA) Competition. The driving force behind the game in Cronulla was a lady named Olive Burrell. Olive Burrell was so good she was chosen to play for Australia and we believe was the first Sutherland Shire woman to represent Australia in any sport.

After the war those wishing to play Hockey had to travel to compete. In January 1958 Edna Messer approached the Cronulla RSL Youth Club side to play in the inaugural Cronulla (later to become Sutherland Shire Women’s Hockey Association) competition. Cronulla RSL is the SSWHA’s oldest club. Games were played at Jenola playing fields. Advertising locally attracted enough players for 4 teams – all under 16.These teams were the Wallabies, Rosellas, Kookaburras and the Wattles. By the mid 1960’s there were 8 teams. By 1969/70 the strength in the juniors had translated into very strong 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade senior teams. These players provided strength to the Hockey Club, as they became coaches and committee members. Reflecting the strength of RSL Hockey many girls represented NSW, playing in competitions around Australia.

In recognition of her efforts Edna Messer was awarded the 1958 Sutherland Shire “Sportswomen of the Year Award” for services to Hockey.The records for the first three years of the SSWHA competition have been lost, however from 1961 Cronulla RSL has won 24 senior premierships. The first successful team was the second grade side in 1971. Cronulla RSL won the first grade premiership for the first time in 1977. The club has also won 24 junior premierships over this period. The juniors were quicker to gain success with second grade successful in 1967 and first grade in 1968. The future for Hockey is promising as we presently have a large group of talented young girls who won three age premierships in 2007.

To demonstrate how sport moves in cycles the Cronulla RSL senior hockey sides have also competed in the Eastern Districts Women’s Hockey Association (EDWHA) competition for the last five years. RSL has won two first grade, a second, third and fourth grade premiership in the EDWHA competitions.

No history would be complete without mentioning a few of the people who have been associated with the club. From the inaugural years Edna Messer, Beryl Freer and Dot Symonds ensured the club survived and prospered. For the past 25-30 years the backbone of the club has been Youth Clubs identities Curly Symonds and Bob Alleway. Curly and Bob have had such a profound influence on the SSWHA that they had their picture posted in the 2007 SSWHA annual report posing with another hockey luminary Lawrie Daly with the caption “the Three Wise Men”

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