History Matters || Glen Innes sportswomen have a history of success

Hockey Deepwater 1930s: Back L-R: Edna Tickle, Enid Atkinson, Winnie Baker, Jessie McCowen, Vera Wilmott, Isobelle Sutton. Front: Mary Bourke, Alice Martin, Olive Baker (Capt), Lily Baker, Dulcie Lockwood.
Hockey Deepwater 1930s: Back L-R: Edna Tickle, Enid Atkinson, Winnie Baker, Jessie McCowen, Vera Wilmott, Isobelle Sutton. Front: Mary Bourke, Alice Martin, Olive Baker (Capt), Lily Baker, Dulcie Lockwood.

Women's sport from early days has been popular in Glen Innes and we have had distinguished local participation in state and national teams as well as Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

It was a mighty feat for those lades in the early days, managing to nimbly race round the pitches and courts in those heavy restraining garments, which surely must have hindered them.

All sports reports in the Examiner were fulsome to say the least and eagerly followed by locals.

Men's sport has always received wide press coverage, especially racing, in the early days.

However our women's hockey teams produced some outstanding results in the 1920s with the locals starring in State and National teams.

I wrote in The Beardies Heritage in 1972: "In the 1920s and into the 1930s about four town women's hockey teams, and others from Emmaville, Deepwater, Torrington, Stannum and Ben Lomond played for the Schmidt Cup.

"The Wilson Cup was competed for on a district basis at the Northern Hockey Carnival each year.

"Hockey was often played as a curtain raiser before the inter-town football matches.

The members of a representative team that won the Premiership in Country Week in 1929 included: Misses Nance Mellings, Jean Mann, Almena Hockley, Edna Falk, Kitty Howell, Ivy Lawrence, Lynn Campbell, Molly Carter, Molly Kemp, Sadie and Rene Coleman, Irene Hottes and Captain, Mrs Ena McRae.

"Mrs McRae and Miss Sadie Coleman were selected to play with the NSW team in Perth; however, Miss Coleman was only 15 years old and her parents thought her too young to go."

"At the Australian Hockey carnival being held in Perth, Victoria yesterday defeated NSW by six goals to three. Mrs D S McRae scored all three goals for the vanquished." Examiner July 16, 1929.

Mrs McRae, known as a brilliant centre forward, then toured South Africa.

She spoke enthusiastically of the manner in which the teams were received in this country - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Holland, and Belgium.

Full details of all tours are not available, but Mrs McRae usually scored the Australian goals, thus placing Glen Innes on the map hockey-wise.

At the time of this world tour the Wilson Cup was played for at the Northern Hockey Carnival in Glen Innes between Tingha, Emmaville, Glen Innes, Torrington, Deepwater and Armidale.

 NSW Womens Hockey Association Country Week 1-8 June 1929. L-R: R Coleman, J Mann, N Mellings, A Hockley, E Falk, E McRae, L Campbell, E Duncan, M Kemp, M Dean, S Coleman.

NSW Womens Hockey Association Country Week 1-8 June 1929. L-R: R Coleman, J Mann, N Mellings, A Hockley, E Falk, E McRae, L Campbell, E Duncan, M Kemp, M Dean, S Coleman.

Glen Innes defeated Armidale in the finals. Mr Clem Jones was the local coach".

The Examiner of Thursday 18 May, 1939 mentioned that, "In 1929 her first season in the game she was a member of the Country Week Premier team.

"The same year she won selection in the State and Australian team.

"Her record cannot be equalled for she has the distinct honour to be selected in the only three Australian teams to tour abroad 1930 England and South Africa, 1936 America and 1939 America.

"Ena was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Harry Howell who ran the Glen Innes Club Hotel.

"She shot to the top rank of hockey in quick time."