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Basketball South Australia has a rich history

Basketball South Australia is proud of their history and where Basketball was founded in South Australia. Follow along the timeline to see where our great game came from. If you are looking for more history, check out the Basketball SA History Facebook Page

Basketball SA History Videos

Basketball in South Australia the First 50 Years

Noel Woollacott

The History Committee of the SA Basketball Commission honours Frank Angove OAM

Basketball SA History Timeline

1897 – First game of Basketball played in South Australia, played at the     OBI between YMCA and a Morman Church Team

1898 – 1st regular Competition session begins

1907 – Basketball in South Australian Country areas begins with competition games at Pt Pirie, Peterborough, Terowie, and Crystal Brook

1914 – Mt Gambier begins its competition with most games indoors.

1914 – city of Adelaide competition commences 

1920 – Junior Competition begins, YMCA has a big influence with now an admission charge being made.

1920  – OBI formed by YMCA to promote health and exercise for you people.

1920’s – sees the Morman church players  having a big influence in the standard of play and conducting coaching clinics. The first of 3 America players came over to play and promote Basketball.

1930 -Noel Woollacott started visiting country areas promoting Basketball.

1930’s – Noel Woollacott called games on Radio 5KA with regular newspaper reports which were unusual for sports at the time.

1936 – SA Metro Basketball Association founded Games played at the Duncan Building in Franklin Street with 16 teams, teams were represented by various Business Houses with large number of spectators attending.

1936 – OBI building is opened 

1936 – Noel Woollacott starts a Women’s Competition 

1940 – 1945 minimal games due to 2 World War.

1945 – WW2 ends and games resume with games at OBI and suburban Drill Halls

1946 – Frank Angove is one of the main parties to restart the Basketball Competitions

1946 – First Australian Men’s  Championship held in Sydney.

1947 – West Adelaide Basketball Club Created

1947 – North Adelaide Women’s Team Created

1948 – North Adelaide Basketball Club created

1948 – 3rd Australian Men’s Championship at OBI Adelaide 

1950 – Norwood Basketball Club Created

1950 – SA Church and SA Church of Christ begin their own Competition 

1951 – The District and Amateur Basketball Association formed with 57 teams

1951 – Don Collins becomes first player to win multiple Woollacott Medals

1953 – Forestville Stadium one court (Asphalt) was built being the 1st Indoor Stadium specific for Basketball in Australia 

1953 – Australian Men’s Championship held at Forestville Stadium and South Australia wins the Championship for the first time.

1954 – 57 Teams in all grades with assets of the Association reaching £4708 – 7s – 6d

1955 – first Australian Women’s Championships which was conducted and continued till 1974 

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1956 – Melbourne Olympics with South Australian Inga Freidenfields as Captain of the Australian Olympic Basketball Team.

1956 – second court built at Forestville 

1957 – South Australia wins the first of a record breaking 4 Australian Championships in a row (1957 – 1960)

1957 – Australia competes at the FIBA Women’s World Championship in Brazil with a strong representation from South Australians with Vern Thomas as Coach, Bronte Collins, Gaynor Flanagan, Pat Hoban, Eric Homburg, Lorraine McGuire (Captain) with Joy Sheridan as Manageress. This was 13 years before the Australian Men compete in their first FIBA World Championship in 1970.

1958 – third court built at Forestville 

1958 – Maria Kelertas becomes first woman to win consecutive Halls medals 

1959 – South Australia had 2 teams competing in the Australian Men’s Championship due to the standard of Adelaide competition.

1960 – Australia Olympic Team players moved to Adelaide and played in the Local Competition so as to prepare for the Rome Olympic Games. SA was considered the best competition in the nation at that time.

1961 – 2 courts built at Bowden Stadium

1961 – North Adelaide women compete in the first of 12 consecutive Grand Finals to 1972 and then compete in a further 13 consecutive Grand Finals from 1979 to 1991

1962 – South Australian women win a record breaking 8th Australian Women’s Championship in a row (1955 – 1962)

1963 – third court built at Bowden Stadium

1964 –  South Australian John Heard appointed Captain of the Australian Olympic Team for Rome Olympics.

1964 – Les Hody becomes the First Australian player to represent two countries in the Olympic Games (Hungary 1956 and Tokyo 1964) as a naturalised player.

1964 – 350 teams compete in all grades with assets of £43886 – 2s – 6d

1965 – First court built at Marion

1965 – Deposit paid on land at Kingston Ave Richmond where the Apollo Stadium will be built

1966 – second court built at Marion on 28/5/1966

1968 – Adelaide plays host to the Korean Women’s Team

1969 – Apollo Stadium was built with 3000 seating for Basketball and Concerts being the premier venue for touring acts. Apollo was the name of the spacecraft that flew and Landed on the moon in 1969.

1970 – Australian Men’s Club Championships commences until 1980

1971 – Australian Women’s Club Championships commence till 1981.

1971 – 2 courts built at Hillcrest Stadium 

1975 – 2 courts built at Colonel Light Gardens Stadium 

1975 – Ken Richardson becomes the first American to win the Woolacott

1976 – 2 courts built at Morphett Vale Stadium 

1978 – West Adelaide wins the first of five record breaking consecutive premierships in a row (1978 – 1982) after a competing in 17 Grand Finals from 1978 to 1982 winning a total of 11 during this period.

1979 – NBL starts with West Adelaide and Glenelg as South Australia’s representives.

1980 – A full time General Manager appointed to the District Basketball Association 

1980 – West Torrens replace Glenelg in the NBL

1981 – WNBL starts with West Adelaide, North Adelaide and Noarlunga as South Australia’s representatives. Ted Powell, Kay McFarlene and Brendan Flynn being instrumental in the formation of the WNBL.

1982 – West Torrens (Forestville) replaced in NBL by a composite side comprising of the remaining SA district Clubs excluding West Adelaide and compete in their first season as the City of Adelaide Eagles.

1982 – West Adelaide wins NBL Title

1983 – North Adelaide Women Win Australian Women’s Club Championship.

1983 – City of Adelaide Eagles evolve with a name change of Adelaide 36ers acknowledging the founding of South Australia in 1836.

1984 – WBC formed as a second tier national competition with  teams from Sturt, Forestville, South Adelaide competing with a 2nd team from West Adelaide joining them shortly

1985 – West Adelaide agrees to merge with Adelaide 36ers retaining the Adelaide 36ers name.

1986 – Adelaide 36ers win the NBL Title

1986 – South Adelaide Women win the WBC Title 

1986 – 4 Basketball courts with additional indoor and outdoor tennis courts purchased at Athol Park

1986 – 3rd court at Morphett Vale built.

1987 – Adelaide Buffalos a combined team win the SEABL a Championship which is the equivalent of winning against all Australian State NBL 1 Teams 

1988 – Seoul Olympic Games South Australia’s Phil Smyth and Jenny Cheesman appointed Captains of their respective teams. Geoff Weeks becomes the first South Australian Referee to be appointed to an Olympic Games.

1991 – North Adelaide women win a record breaking fourth premiership in a row(1988 – 1991)

1990 – North Adelaide wins the WNBL Championship 

1990 – Bowden Stadium Closes.

1991 – 2 courts leased at Elizabeth 

1991 – 4th court built at Morphett Vale Stadium 

1991 – Powerhouse Stadium was built to International Standards and opened on 19/12/1991 costing $16million with a 8000 seating capacity 

1992 – Barcelona Olympic Games – Phil Smyth competes at his 4 Olympics and is the most captained player in Australian Olympic history.

1992 – Mark Davis wins a record breaking 5th Woollacott Medal 

1993 – Basketball Association of South Australia inducts Frank Angove, Keith Miller and Merv Harris in its inaugural Hall of Fame.

1994 – FIBA Women’s World Championships Qualifying round played in the Powerhouse 

1994 – Adelaide Lightning win the WNBL Title in front of 7000 spectators, a record attendance for a women’s game played in Australia 

1994 – 3 court Complex at Port Adelaide leased.

1995 – Adelaide Lightning win WNBL

1996 – Adelaide Lightning win WNBL title

1998 – Adelaide Lightning win WNBL Title

1998 – Connell Light Gardens Stadium burns down.

1998 – Adelaide 36ers win NBL Title 

1999 – Adelaide 36ers win NBL Title

2000 – Sydney Olympic Games with practice games played in Adelaide by various countries 

2002 – Adelaide 36ers win NBL Title

2005 – Vicki Kelson wins a record fourth Halls Medal

2005 – Basketball Association of South Australia dissolved due to financial reasons leading to private ownership of Adelaide 36ers and Adelaide Lightning 

2005 – Adelaide Lightning acquired by private ownership

2005 – Adelaide 36ers acquired by private Ownership 

2006 – Adelaide Lightning was on sold to another private ownership group

2006 – Basketball Of South Australia (BSA) commences running of Basketball in South Australia 

2008 – Adelaide Lightning win WNBL

2015 – Basketbal lSA rebrands the State League to Premier League

2016 – Rio de Janerio Olympic Games

2019 – Adelaide 36ers move from Powerhouse stadium to Adelaide Entertainment Centre hosting over 10000 spectators 

2019 – Mt Gambier join Premium League 

2020 – BasketballSA holds a Hall of Fame dinner with Werner Linde inducted as the First Legend

2020 – BasketballSA move their administration offices from the Powerhouse to the House of Basketball in Hilton

2020 – Basketball cancelled in South Australia for several months due to the Covid19

2021 – Basketball slowly returns on a restricted basis under strict Covid requirements

2021 – Approval for the constructions of the State Basketball Centre with the addition of 4 courts and offices at the Wayville Basketball Centre with the assistance of the State Government and the Adelaide Show Society

Basketball South Australia News

House of Basketball

314 South Road, Richmond SA 5033
(Cnr Frederick St)
Enter via South Road

Phone: (08) 7088 0070

Postal Address: 314 South Road, Richmond SA 5033