“Without a past there is no future”
ERNA was established as an Association in 1954 by founder and then President Norma Woods OAM as Eastwood Ryde Women’s Basketball Association and accepted into NSW Women’s Basketball Association as an affiliated member on 3rd February 1955. Our humble beginnings started with 10 ERNA teams.
ERNA provided membership for teams not just from the Ryde area but from surrounding areas that had no district association such as Hornsby, Parramatta, Carlingford, Epping, Beecroft, Hills, Baulkham Hills and Lane Cove.
In 1969 Women’s Basketball became known as Netball.
Netball NSW encouraged associations to be formed within their own council areas. Parramatta left ERNA and formed their own association in 1965; Hills left ERNA and formed their association in 1968. Baulkham Hills eventually formed their own association in the late 70’s.
With the withdrawal of these teams, ERNA went down in numbers but soon grew again. We were proud to have some famous sports people play at ERNA – Betty Cuthbert and Marlene Matthews played in our original member teams.
Norma Woods used to have all the teams march through the streets of Eastwood on our opening day of play. All streets were closed for this march. The community of Ryde would watch and cheer us on as we proudly marched through Eastwood holding club banners.
As ERNA grew, we played at many grounds. Our chief ground was Brush Farm where we used the Scout hall as headquarters on a Saturday and the Association Executive and Council met regularly at Dundas Town Hall opposite.
In 1964 Ryde Council finally built an amenities block for cricket and netball at Brush Farm.
Each year ERNA grew in membership, and soon needed more courts. We travelled to wherever we could get courts. In the mid 60’s we played at Hornsby as the Hornsby Hornets had 2 courts we could use. We also played at Gladstone Park Parramatta for night competition, because Parramatta had 2 courts we could use which had lights for night games and training. We also travelled to Durham Park at Baulkham Hills, Woods Street Epping, Henry Kendall Reserve Ermington, Curtis Park, Tyagarah Park and Cowells Lane. When NRRSL came into the ERNA competition we also played at NRRSL Club.
The ERNA Executive begged Council for courts in the Ryde District. Ryde Council gave ERNA two courts on one side of the canal at Meadowbank and three courts on the others side of the canal.
Every Saturday the Officer on Duty had to come to Brush and pick up score sheets, drinks, bell and timer, card table, umbrella and chair. The Officer on Duty would organise the sale of drinks etc. out of the boot of their car and use an ERNA card table as the official table. At one stage ERNA conducted competitions at 7 grounds. We had grown so much we needed every court we could get.
ERNA re-approached Council requesting grounds with a minimum of 5 courts to be viable. In the 70’s, 4 hard courts at Brush Farm were allocated to us.
In 1983, with a 3-way grant from Ryde Council, Government and ERNA, we were provided with 12 hard courts at Meadowbank Park. ERNA could then run competitions at 2 grounds – Meadowbank Park and Brush Farm.
In 2010 ERNA had 4 lighted courts at Brush Farm for 350 teams to train on!
A Notice of Motion to Ryde Council requesting lights for netball courts at Meadowbank was submitted by Anne Doring OAM. Representatives from ERNA clubs and representative teams attended the meeting where she presented ERNA’s case for lights which was passed unanimously. Thanks to Ryde Council, a Government Grant and ERNA, we were provided with 22 lighted courts at Meadowbank in 2011. We also slowly over the years, increased the number of hard courts. ERNA now has 28 hard courts at Meadowbank Park; 4 hard courts and 12 grass courts at Brush Farm.
ERNA has entered State Championships since 1969 and State Age since 1968 and have won many titles, doing the community of Ryde proud.
2015 ERNA once again won the NSW Waratah Cup with Coach Jen Hugget following in the footsteps of Anita Keelan who coached our State League team to victory.
In 2016 ERNA was one of 8 Associations granted a franchise in Premier League which replaced the Waratah Cup. ERNA Hawks Open & U20’s (now U23’s) team were selected. In 2017 ERNA Hawks Open & U20’s teams both came in 3rd receiving the Bronze Medal. In 2018 ERNA signed a 5 year contract for Premier League. ERNA’s Hawks Open team has made 3 Grand Finals since.
ERNA have many players and coaches who have made State, Australian and National League teams. ERNA is so proud of their achievements.
ERNA introduced social night summer competition for masters and seniors playing at Gladstone Park in the early 70’s. When we finally got lights at Brush Farm, we increased our numbers and ran the competition there. In 2003 we introduced mixed netball and junior netball to night competition. Our night competition grows every year attracting more people to play sport in Ryde.
In 2018 ERNA hosted a division of State Age Championships at Meadowbank Park. This was the second Championship ERNA hosted. This was wonderful for the city of Ryde bringing numerous country visitors into our community.
We owe our growth and development to the support from NSW, Federal Government and Ryde Council and the dedication of many wonderful people past and present:
Norma Woods OAM– Founder & President 1954 - 1968 (also awarded Medal for service to veterans and Youth in the Ryde District)
Beryl Houston – President 1969 – 1971
Pat Goodchild – President 1972 - 1978
Shirley Barker – President 1979 - 1982
Valda Lalor – President 1983 - 1993
Neita Matthews OAM – President 1994 - 2004
Anne Doring OAM – President 2004 - 2017
Karen Waud – President 2018 – present day
In 2016-17, one of the biggest achievements thanks to Victor Dominello MP and the NSW State Government was successfully gaining a grant of $30 million for a new netball centre to be built on the current Marsden High School property. It is so exciting that finally ERNA will be moving to a new site with 4 indoor courts and 32 hard courts!!
ERNA currently has 25 affiliated clubs. These clubs and ERNA are run by volunteers without whom we would not be able to provide sport for the members of our community.
Netball helps in the growth, development, fitness, mental health and well-being of all participants both young and old. It provides a pathway from grassroots to elite for players, coaches and administrators.
ERNA is now 68 years old and provides netball competition to 410 teams!
Thank you to Anne Doring OAM for her contribution to this document.