Basketball Victoria is celebrating our 90th birthday!

We are celebrating our 90th birthday!  

Basketball Victoria’s 90th birthday celebrations are set to highlight the very best of Victorian basketball from the 1930’s to today!

Take a look back with a trip down memory lane as we showcase the best, brightest, most important and iconic elements, people and moments in our proud history. Over a nine week period, we will dive into the history books and see what shaped basketball in Victoria each and every decade we’ve been part of the community. 

From humble beginnings in 1931 as the Victorian Amateur Basketball Association, our game has flourished. We’ve seen associations and clubs grow and blossom across the entirety of the state, Victorians shine at Olympic Games and World Championships, stars created in professional leagues both here and abroad as our pathways help shape the destinies of players, coaches, technical officials and administrators alike. Above all though, we are proud to hear the pound of leather on hardwood every day as over 400,000 Victorians enter into basketball stadiums each year as part of their own basketball journeys. 

Basketball Victoria CEO Nick Honey said the passion of the community and its extraordinary volunteers and participants have shaped the organisation and pushed our sport to its highest popularity to date. 

“I feel proud to be part of such an outstanding basketball community with a rich history across the last nine decades,” Basketball Victoria CEO Nick Honey said. “All of the volunteers, administrators, players, coaches and referees throughout Victorian basketball’s history have guided our organisation and our ethos from 1931 right through to today. 

“Basketball Victoria encourages everyone to strive for their own level of greatness in our sport and we always celebrate success. These ideas are important to us because we learned them from countless amazing people who defined our organisation and community over the years. 

“While we wish we could host an event to honour this occasion, due to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions we will celebrate these efforts and achievements digitally.  

“Our birthday is a celebration recognising those amazing people who have contributed at every turn to Victorian basketball and to look back on our favourite moments across our history. 

“Here’s to our 90th birthday and continuing to push forward to even greater heights in our next 90 years and beyond.” 

THE BEGINNING

Basketball quickly took off in Australia in 1897, just six years after it was invented in the United States by James Naismith. However, the very first game held in Australia was in South Australia between Our Boys Institute (OBI) and the Young Men’s Christian Association Training School (YMCA). Basketball then came to Victoria and slowly spread throughout the country, popping up in even the smallest of towns. Its popularity began to cement itself within the general population as it was a great way to pass the time, especially during the summer months. 

The 1909 Creswick A Basketball Team – the oldest photo of a Victorian basketball team on record. Picture: STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA

THE 1930s

In 1931, the Victoria Basketball Association was born – thanks to Ivor Burge – which spearheaded the growing expansion of the sport in the country. This was followed by the NSW Basketball Association shortly thereafter, as well as the formation of the Amateur Basketball Union (ABU) of Australia in 1939. The latter was recognised as the first national governing body of the sport. As more states began to join the ABU, it eventually changed its name to the Australian Basketball Federation – which is now Basketball Australia. 

IVOR BURGE

After attending college in Springfield, Massachusetts (the birthplace of basketball) – Ivor Burge returned to Australia and produced the first standardised rulebook for basketball in October 1928. He then founded the Victorian Basketball Association (now Basketball Victoria) in 1931. Burge continued to promote Basketball in Victoria through his position with the YMCA until 1940.  

In 1946 Burge was involved in the writing of the Constitution of Basketball Australia and founded the Queensland Amateur Basketball Association. He was appointed the Associations first President, a position he held until 1954. 

Burge was awarded life membership of the Australian Basketball Federation in 1992, and in 2004 was an inaugural inductee into the Basketball Australia Hall of Fame. 

The Australian Championships for players with an Intellectual Disability was named the Ivor Burge Championship by Basketball Australia in 1995 as he is considered one of the founding fathers of basketball in this country.  


If you have any memorabilia, highlights, pictures or write-ups that you’d like to see featured in our 90th birthday celebrations, please email them to Jarrod Potter – jarrod.potter@basketballvictoria.com.au. We also encourage everyone to use the #BV90Years hashtag to join the conversation and reminisce on your favourite moments in our incredible sport. 


The 1930’s

The 1940’s

The 1950’s

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