Lacrosse in Australia Lacrosse had its beginnings in Australia in April 1876 when a gentleman by the name of Lambden Mount wrote a letter to the Editor of The Australasian newspaper, based in Melbourne, declaring he was intending to start Lacrosse as a new sport in Victoria.
As a small boy growing up in Canada Mount had watched with ”rapturous excitement” the Red Indians play the game of “La Crosse”, tribe against tribe. Many years later, and now living in Australia, while watching the last football match of the Season between Melbourne and Carlton football Clubs, it occurred to him what a much superior game “La Crosse” was, and he determined to take steps to initiate it in Victoria.
Mount arranged the importation of 40 lacrosse sticks and the Rules of the Game and assisted with the commencement of the Melbourne Lacrosse Club which played matches “Reds” Vs “Blues” amongst its members during 1876.
A couple of years later in March 1879 a meeting was called by Lambden Mount and the players agreed to split up into four separate Clubs and a co-ordinating Association the Victorian Lacrosse Association(VLA).
Up until this time, lacrosse in Australia had only been played by Men.
The earliest reference to Womens lacrosse in Melbourne is dated 1906 when an English woman physical educationalist Miss Gwyneth Morris introduced lacrosse into the Melbourne Church of England Girl’s Grammar School. The first Women’s Club in Australia was established at Kogarah in South Sydney NSW in August 1913.
The first international game in Australia took place in Melbourne at the MCG between Australia and Canada in 1907 in front of a crowd of 30,000.
Australia has an important place in the International lacrosse scene, consistently finishing in the top three in the Men’s World Championships. In the inaugural Men’s World Championship held in Toronto in 1967, Australia finished second to the USA.
Australian national women’s teams have fared even better, having won two senior Women’s World Championships, the first in 1986 and again in 2005.
The Australian States undertake interstate competitions on an annual basis at Junior, Colts and Senior level for both Men and Women. Victoria has a very strong record of success at the State level, and as a result its players feature strongly when Australian Teams are selected.
Further detail of the early years of Lacrosse in Australia can be found in the excellent publication by Doug W Fox – OAM, entitled Lacrosse in Australia Lambton Mount and the Foundation Years.
Currently the game in Australia is overseen by a National body, Lacrosse Australia, which administers both Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse.