History of Lacrosse in Victoria
Mens Lacrosse in Victoria
The pioneer of lacrosse in Australia was a Canadian, Lambton L. Mount. He came to the Victorian goldfields as a fourteen year old with his family in 1853 but it was not until 1875 that he was moved to revive his early boyhood memories of lacrosse. After watching the football final between Carlton and Melbourne in that year it occurred to him that lacrosse was a superior game.
In April of 1876 Mount wrote to the Australasian Newspaper to announce that he was arranging to import forty lacrosse sticks from Canada and intended to start lacrosse and establish the Melbourne Lacrosse Club. He succeeded and the first practice match of this club took place on 22nd June 1876 between 15-20 players at Albert Park. The Melbourne club continued to promote the sport and arranged matches between the "Reds" and "Blues" in Albert Park during 1877-78. By 1879, four clubs had been formed with some 120 players. These four clubs - Melbourne, Fitzroy, South Melbourne and Carlton formed the Victorian Lacrosse Association in July 1879 for the purpose of coordinating matches. His Excellency, the Governor of Victoria The Most Hon G.A.C. Phipps, was the inaugural Patron.
The History of Men's Lacrosse in Victoria is a fascinating read, and can be downloaded here. This book follows the progress of men's lacrosse in Victoria from 1876 until 1994.
Womens Lacrosse in Victoria
The Victorian Women's Amateur Lacrosse Association was formed in 1936. The Association comprised two teams, Williamstown and the YWCA and the first coaching session saw 30 girls in attendance. The inaugural President was an English woman, Miss Nell Rawlins, who played with the YWCA. Her Secretary was Miss Joy Newhouse, who later became Joy Parker, the first patron and Life Member of both the Women's Lacrosse Victoria - WLV (formerly the Victorian Women's Lacrosse Association) and Women's Lacrosse Australia - WLA (formerly the Australian Women's Lacrosse Council).
As a result of the Second World War, the Association went into recession at the conclusion of the 1940 season. This was a pity because at the time, teams from both PLC and Melbourne University (physical education department) were both ready to enter the competition.
Although the War finished in 1945, for various reasons, the competition did not resume until 1962. It was Mrs Joy Parker who provided the impetus to re-establish the game of women's lacrosse in Victoria with the final push coming from Mal Taylor of the Williamstown Lacrosse Club. Three clubs were formed, Williamstown (two teams), Footscray and Malvern. Mrs Parker was President in this year and Mr and Mrs M. Titter donated the 'Fearon Cup' as the perpetual trophy for competition between Victorian clubs. The trophy was named after Captain James Fearon of Williamstown, who was renowned as a staunch and liberal supporter of lacrosse.
Matches commenced on Sunday afternoon 29th April 1962 at 1.30pm at Albert Park and teams comprised 8 players. The first official match of the Association was played at Lauriston Girls School in Malvern.