Celebrating 40 Years of Country Championship Volleyball Competition in the
A Brief History and Genesis of Volleyball in the
Volleyball in the Latrobe Valley commenced in Morwell as an ‘Experimental Competition’ on Wednesday 20th April 1966 and comprised six (6) local teams consisting of one men’s team called “YMCA” from Morwell, one Moe “Saints” team, two “ESD” teams (Electricity Supply Division – SECV) and two more teams from Moe, called “Rebels” 1 & 2.
A Round Robin competition was played in this competition where each team played each other once and the team on top at the end of Round 5 was declared the winner.
This first ‘trial’ competition was played on the one-basketball-court, of the former Morwell YMCA Hall, since demolished, playing three games each Wednesday night. However, from May 1966 onwards, and due to the phenomenally rapid growth and interest of this ‘new’ sport, the Moe (high-roofed) YMCA Hall venue was included as well.
There were to follow two more volleyball competitions in 1966 after this initial experimental one, completing a total of three separate competitions in that first year!
The Premier team of that first experimental competition was the Moe-Rebels 1 team captained and coached by a Czech migrant and
The Official Starting Date of the LV-YMCA-VA Competition was Wednesday 25th May 1966, with a total of 12 teams participating. The Latrobe Valley YMCA Volleyball Association grew from the initiative of a few keen volleyball enthusiasts. It appears that Mirek Volny (Moe) and John Mitchell (Morwell YMCA Secretary), played key roles in getting volleyball going back in early 1966, according to pioneer player and Morwell resident, Stan Brown.
Other pioneering names sometimes featured in LV Express articles from that era, up to 1970, and most of whom have remained in the region, include entities like Bob and Jim Henderson, Arthur Nicholas, Jack Wilkinson, Bud Walker,
Not too many women players/teams emerged during the 1966/1967 years. But from 1968 onwards, names like Joan Goodwill, Karen Brown, Beth Campbell and Nanette Stanbridge appeared as some of the early women mentioned playing or involved with, volleyball in Moe or Morwell.
Some early contacts of LV Volleyball players with other volleyball teams and Associations in Country Victoria and also Metro teams, up to 1970 included: Warrnambool,
A Volleyball feature in those formative years included regular Round Robin (RR) matches - in between the two Winter and Spring competitions and/or during school holidays - to get new teams and players ready and organized for the new season to follow. Early organizers and managers of these RRs included Stan Brown, Russell King and Bob Henderson.
The first-ever general or friendly “invitation” for a “YMCA” volleyball tournament came from the Warrnambool Volleyball Association in March of 1968, one in which the LV Committee duly accepted and committed sending, a Men’s team.
Three players consisting of coach Wal Aboltins, Mirek Volny and Mike Gregson, were nominated as the LV Men’s Team Selection Committee. There were only two players we know of, who definitely represented
Other players still around and living in the LV area, who may have represented LV back then, in 1968, are a bit hazy in their memory, but take your pick from that list above, as it is known that we definitely managed ‘to scrape a side together’ to represent the ‘Latrobe Valley’ in country volleyball.
Next, in 1969, the Bendigo YMCA Volleyball Association invited YMCA-affiliated teams from all over
Then in the following year, on the 17-18th Oct 1970, again in
The LV-YMCA-VA (later LVVA, now LVVI) Committee in 1970 consisted of President Bob Henderson, Vice-President: Malcolm Darby, Treasurer - Stan Brown, Secretary - Max Payne, Referees’ Adviser - Bud Walker and general members Ms Karen Brown, Ms Beth Campbell, Gary Hoffard, Bob Kenter and F. Brown.
Players who took part and or have some proof of playing in that first Country Championship can help update our records by advising, LVVI Secretary -
Also, any past players who took part in the first Country Championship in
Latrobe Valley Past Representative Players: (A work in progress, please advise of any errors/omissions & see the honor roll page)
Australia: Bob Kenter, Ted Kalkhoven, Shaun O'Neill, Helen Kalkhoven, Nicky Kalkhoven, Phoebe Trembath
Victoria: Bob Kenter, Ted Kalkhoven, Shaun O'Neil, Helen Kalkhoven, Nicky Kalkhoven, Susan Lloyd, Liz Davis, Danny Anderson, many more on honor roll page