The Origins of Netball

The game of netball evolved from basketball, which was invented by Dr. James Naismith a Canadian Physical Education Teacher, who wanted an indoor sport to keep his pupils physically occupied during the winter months.

Dr. Toles introduced netball to England in 1895 from the USA at Madam Ostenberg's College. It was brought here to Jamaica by English women who came to Jamaica to teach in our girls' secondary schools such as Wolmer’s Girls School. This game has been a part of the physical education programme at Wolmer's Girls School, which is located on Marascaux Road in Kingston, since 1909.

In the early years following 1909 the game was played mainly in schools and teachers' training colleges, but after a while, the alumnae of these institutions started teams, and began to play friendly matches among themselves. In the 1930's seven teams in the Corporate Area played for an ISSA Cup. They were:

  • Wolmer's Old Girls Association (W.O.G.A.)
  • St. Andrew
  • St. Hugh's
  • Excelsior
  • Shortwood
  • Lincoln

W.O.G.A. built a hard court at Cavaliers, the first hard court for netball in Jamaica.

The Jamaica Netball Association became affiliated to the West Indies Netball Board in 1959, and was invited to send a team to the West Indies Tournament in Montserrat in August 1959. First Jamaican Netball Team – 1959.

  • Grace Beckford-Benjamin
  • Marie Beckford-Miller
  • Monica Brown-Mendes
  • Barbara Buckley-Jones, Ph. D.
  • Hermione Edmonds-Whittaker
  • Valerie Fleming-Webster
  • Ouida Golding-Beecher, M.B., B. Sc.
  • Joy Grant-Charles
  • Fay Mills
  • Dorothea Morris

The Jamaica Netball Association was formed in 1959 by Pancho Rankine, Margaret Beckford and Margarietta St. Juste. The game began to be played at the club level since then. The game grew in popularity and its spectators looked forward to being entertained by competitions at the school, church, community, business, club, parish, and national levels.

For further information, visit the Jamaica Netball Association website.