The Women's Game Starts Up Again in Rockhampton

Women’s soccer in Rockhampton appears to have kicked off again around 1970s. In his book about sport in the Rockhampton district, Smith states that in 1974 Kaylene Webb, Jennifer Fraser, Pam Reynolds and Leonie Wovat asked Mr Doug McQuire to teach them how to play soccer. Doug’s son, Sterling McQuire,  remembers the day they came over to his house to ask his father if he could show them how to play soccer, “that’s virtually how it all started” he told us. After this, they formed a team at Nerimbera Soccer Club and encouraged the All Blacks Sports Club to form a women’s team as well. In 1975, the two teams had their first matches. Sterling marked the field for them. Smith, suggests that the matches sparked interest in the local area and resulted in the formation of Rockhampton Women’s Soccer Federation.

The first competition fixtures commenced in 1975 and Smith reports that the matches attracted large crowds. The Queensland Sports Pictorial reported that there were 8 teams in Rockhampton during 1975, and Women’s Soccer Queensland reported that by 1976 there were 150 female players in the area.

In 1977, Pam Reynolds and Aloha Richards joined the state team making them the first country players to play for Queensland. This seems particularly fitting given that Pam Reynolds was among those women who inspired a new generation of women to play football in Rockhampton. “She was our first QLD representative,” Sterling McQuire explained to us. Sterling had coached the women’s team that year and told us, “she was just a natural.” On the top right is a photograph of the 1979 Nerimbera women’s team, they were a strong and diverse team winning 24 of their 30 matches.

1977 was also the year that Central FC, in Gladstone, was established. Central has a proud history of women’s football dating back more than 25 yrs. Unfortunately the club cannot find images of the first women’s team but the current president (Marty Emerson) informs us that the players enjoyed the social aspect of the game.

In 1979, Berneice Reynolds became involved in football at Nerimbera FC. At the time, she observed public resistance to the women’s game, “we had a lot of opposition from those who said we couldn’t play as it was a male sport” (as quoted in the Morning Bulletin September 12, 2008). But this did not stop Reynolds who came from a family of footballers. She would go on to become of one Central Queensland’s greatest football assets, not only as a player, but as a coach, referee and administrator.