Austral Phoenix Celebrates 50 Years of Volleyball The Austral Volleyball Club is gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. With a rich history that spans half a century, the club has grown from humble beginnings to become a thriving volleyball institution in South Australia.
In 1973, the club was founded by a group of passionate individuals who had a vision for fostering the growth of volleyball in South Australia. Among the founding members were notable names such as Ray Harris, Bob Bates, Brett Stirzacer, Allen Harris, and Neil Butcher, all of whom played in the club's inaugural League team. Initially, the club utilised a church hall in Brougham Place, North Adelaide, as a home base and practice venue.
As the club gained popularity and attracted more members, it became evident that larger facilities were needed to accommodate the growing player base and enhance training opportunities. Consequently, the club relocated to Findon High School, which was where several members were also staff, allowing for a mutually beneficial partnership. In the late 1980s, the Austral Volleyball Club found a new home at Marion High School Gymnasium (Cosgrove Hall), marking a significant shift to the inner southern suburbs. This relocation opened doors to a fresh catchment area, expanding the club's reach and diversifying its player base. The move to the Cosgrove Hall provided a modern and spacious facility that better catered to the growing needs of the club.
The Phoenix have continued to grow in the 21st century, and while Cosgrove Hall remains a spiritual home of the Austral Volleyball Club, in 2022 the senior portion of the club made the move to the new Mitchell Park Sports and Community Centre. This move will set the club up for the next 50 years, with the opportunity to host State League home rounds, social volleyball, and other competitions in the future.
Throughout its five-decade journey, the Austral Volleyball Club has left an indelible mark on the local community and the broader volleyball landscape. The club's commitment to promoting the sport and nurturing talent has resulted in numerous achievements at both individual and team levels. It has consistently produced skilled players who have represented South Australia in various competitions, contributing to the growth and success of volleyball in the state. Among the notable Australian representatives from the club's membership are:
Andrew Grantham, Bea Daly, Beth Carey, Brian Low, Cathy Lee, Conal McAinsh, Darian Stirzacer, David Wright, Dianne Biebrick, Elliot Viles, Karl Neumann, Karola Laventure, Kay Dowley, Leanne Rohde, Marta Ostermeyer, Wanda Sipa, and Zachary Schubert.
To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Austral is organising a gala event scheduled for next month. This momentous occasion will bring together past and present members, supporters, and volleyball lovers to celebrate the club's rich history and accomplishments. The event promises to be a memorable gathering filled with interviews, awards, silent auctions, live music, and a vibrant display of the sport's spirit and camaraderie.
Date: Saturday 23rd September
Time: 6:30pm til late
Location: Adelaide Pavilion, Veale Gardens, South Terrace and Peacock Road, Adelaide
Dress Code: Cocktail