Australian Handball (similar to Irish and American handball) has been played formally in Australia since 1923.
Although its formal beginnings in Australia date from 1923, it has been played in some capacity or another since the 19th Century. A similar game was introduced from Ireland and the first Australian Handball court was built by Melbourne hotel-keeper, Michael Lynch, in 1847. Its early development has been attributed to the work of Christian Brothers’ Colleges. Over most of its history, its primary play has been in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. As the game continued to develop, by 1970, there were about 1,000 players registered within the New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian state associations.
For many decades, the Australian Handball Council has held almost annual national championships, and each state has held its own state titles. Senior titles have not been the only level of keen interest and activity, however. During the 1950s’ and 1960’s, both – the Australian Singles Schoolboys Handball Championships and the Australian Doubles Schoolboys Handball Championships – were held on regular bases. Many great champions of the past were ‘blooded’ on these schoolboy rivalries. Additionally, over many decades Australians have made regular appearances at the World Junior and World Senior Titles. Within Australia, of more recent decades, the chief rivalries have been between Victoria and South Australia. For the past three decades, the states have generally engaged in some ‘mid-point’ venue – usually in Warrnambool, Victoria, over one weekend annually, for the national handball championships. In some areas, modern changes to school venues have meant the disappearance of the school’s traditional handball courts, making it harder on handballers to access the game.
The game is nationally run by the Australian Handball Council, formed in 1928, of which the current Executive Director is Jim Kiley, and the Secretary/Treasurer – Greg Hay
For more information on Australian Handball visit: http://www.handballaustralia.com.au/