Softball Australia – Indigenous Softball Program
Softball Australia and our Member States have a long and proud history of promoting and delivering softball to Indigenous communities. Our Indigenous Softball Program produces positive health and social outcomes by providing female and male Indigenous Australians of all ages and abilities with opportunities to participate in softball – as players, coaches, umpires, administrators and volunteers. With softball generally recognised as the preferred sport of Indigenous women, and becoming increasingly popular amongst Indigenous men, we are committed to expanding softball programs in targeted urban, rural and remote areas across Australia.
We have been proactive in developing relationships and working with Indigenous communities and a variety of other interested or key stakeholders, including the Australian Government, SportAus, State Sport and Recreation Departments and many more..
For more information on the ISP and a snapshot of the great work happening in Indigenous communities throughout Australia, contact the Softball Australia office on 03 9417 0022.
As a team sport for all ages, cultures, gender and abilities, softball offers participants many benefits:
- Shared enjoyment with friends and family
- Improved health and fitness
- Increased physical activity and mental alertness of belonging to a community with shared interests
- Improved life skills, including quick thinking, loyalty, sense of responsibility, heightened concentration, judgment, discipline and teamwork
- Opportunities to compete and represent their community, club, state, or Australia
- Development of new skills, whether playing, coaching, scoring, umpiring or administration
- Ability to accommodate female and male participants of all ages and skill levels
- Affordability – players starting out do not have to make a big financial commitment
While the many benefits of softball are as applicable to the Indigenous community as they are to the wider Australian community, other features of softball standout as being particularly beneficial to Indigenous participants including:
- Fostering of community spirit and pride
- Improved self-esteem and self-worth
- Access to great role models, including Stacey Porter and Jeff Goolagong
- Access to softball equipment, coaching, officiating and scoring accredited training, competitions, carnivals, skill development clinics and programs such as Softball Batter Up
Stacey has been demonstrating her skills on the diamond since 1997 when she first represented NSW. She has been a member of the AIS Softball squad since 2002.
At 20 years of age, Stacey became the first female Indigenous Australian to represent her country in the Olympic Softball competition. As a member of the Open Women’s team, Stacey won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. In 2006, Stacey also won bronze in her first ISF Open Women’s World Championship with the Australian team.
In 2010, Stacey captained the Australian Open Women’s team, the Aussie Spirit, in their ISF World Championship campaign and in 2012 captained the NSW Firestars to win the Australian Open Women’s Championship, Gilley’s Shield.
Stacey is an exceptionally strong player and is arguably the best batter in the world. When Stacey is not playing professional softball in Japan, she resides in Brisbane and promotes community awareness and recognition of the sport.
‘As one of the indigenous role models for Softball Australia I’d like to acknowledge the work our sport is doing in our communities. I attended the first indigenous versus NRL rugby league game in 2010, I was so proud of the powerful sense of community and togetherness the indigenous people brought to the game and this is exactly what we can bring to Softball Australia. This is a great relationship that I did not have the opportunity to grow from when I was a young athlete. With ‘sport’ as our common bond, I’d like to encourage the development between the Australian government, Softball Australia, our sponsors and the indigenous communities’, Stacey Porter, Aussie Spirit Captain.
Stacey has received several awards for her outstanding achievements:
- 1997-1998 Best Batter In the Australian U16 Championship, Esther Deason Shield
- 1999-2000 Best Batter in the Australian U19 Championship, Elinor McKenzie Shield
- 2001 Most Valuable Player in the Australian U19 Championship, Elinor McKenzie Shield
- 2005 Female Sportsperson of the Year, Deadly Awards
- 2005 Female Softballer of the Year, Softball Australia Awards of Excellence
- 2005 and 2010 Best Batter in the Australian Open Women’s Championship, Gilley’s Shield
- 2008 Sportsperson of the Year, National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee
- 2008-2010 Most Valuable Player, Gilley’s Shield
- 2008, 2010-2011 Softball Australia’s Indigenous Athlete of the Year
Jeff is a two-time World Championship player from the ACT. He was a member of the ACT Team that won the 2001, 2003, 2006-2009 and 2012 John Reid Shield, Australian Open Men’s Championship. In 2012, Jeff was awarded Best Player in the John Reid Shield Grand Final. He was also a member of the winning team at the 2006 International Softball Congress Tournament and was selected in the All World Second Team as an outfielder.
In 2008, Jeff played in a number of high-level club competitions, including the ISC World Tournament and was a member of the Australian team that defeated New Zealand to win the Pacific International Series.
In 2009, Jeff played a vital role in ACT’s win at the Australian Open Men’s Championship, where he was awarded the Most Valuable Player for the tournament.
The pinnacle of Jeff’s career came at the 2009 XII ISF Men’s World Championship when the Aussie Steelers were crowned World Champions.‘Playing Softball has given me so many exciting opportunities. I have been fortunate enough to travel the world representing Australia and play in North American and New Zealand softball leagues. I have played alongside some of the best softball players and met many great people, many of whom are life-long friends. I’d like to thank Softball Australia for developing the Indigenous Sport Program. Through this program indigenous people of all ages are given the same opportunities I have been given to participate in Softball’, Jeff Goolagong Aussie Steelers player.
July 2019: Softball Australia celebrates NAIDOC Week at Redlands
The U23 National Championship and International Friendship Series celebrated NAIDOC Week 2019 with a Welcome to Country ceremony at Redlands, performed by the internationally acclaimed Nunukul Yuggera Dance Troupe. Read more…
May 2019: Anne Carmel Wilson driving Wadeye Softball
Softball plays a massive role in the Northern Territory indigenous community and Anne is one of many playing an integral part in ensuring the game thrives. Read more…
October 2015: 2015 Murri Women’s Softball Tournament
Ten amazing, inspiring and talented Indigenous teams along with their family and friends from all over Qld travelled to Ipswich over the weekend to celebrate women, family, community, health, fitness and Indigenous culture through a fun, action packed and “deadly” Murri Women’s Softball Tournament. Read more…
July 2015: NAIDIOC: Stacey Porter’s dreams for softball and indigenous women
ABC interview: Australian Softball Champ Stacey Porter is proud of her indigenous heritage and this NAIDOC week reflects on her task as a role model and her hopes and dreams for other young indigenous women. Read more…
July 2015: Softball Australia celebrates NAIDOC week
NAIDOC week upon us and it’s a great opportunity to announce Softball Australia’s commitment to Indigenous Australian’s in 2015-16 through the Indigenous Softball Program – Health through Softball. Read more…
July 2015: Murri Women’s Softball Tournament
Following the success of the inaugural Murri Softball Tournament in 2014, the 2015 Murri Women’s Softball Tournament proudly supported by Softball Qld, Qld Government and Softball Australia will take place on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 October at Ipswich Softball, Chubb St, One Mile, Ipswich. Read more…
January 2015: Vanessa speaks to the Koori Mail
Vanessa Stokes, champion pitcher for the Aussie Spirit catches up with the Koori Mail and talks about recent achievements and future goals. Read more…
November 2014: Inaugural Murri Softball Tournament a success
Eighty three women of all ages, health status and softball experience converged at Redland Softball Association and played to the best of their abilities. The experience was overwhelmingly positive for the players and justified Softball Queensland’s foray into the Indigenous subset of the sport and the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing’s funding of the event through the Women and Girls Special Initiative funding program. Read more…
May 2014: 2014 Southern NT Indigenous Softball Championships
The 2014 Southern NT Indigenous Softball Championships is an extremely important competition for women and their families in five communities across the NPY region including Docker River, Yulara, Mutitijulu, Imanpa and Apatula. Read more…
February 2012: The art of Indigenous Softball
Softball Australia is pleased to acknowledge the young Aboriginal artists that created a unique Indigenous inspired Softball bat and ball to represent the special spirit and bond between Indigenous communities and the game of Softball. The Softball bat was designed and hand painted by Angelina Doolan (aged 18) to depict the theme of wildflowers in the wet season. Kira Briscoe (aged 14) hand painted the Softball using the elemental colours to represent Air, Water, Fire and Earth. Angelina and Kira are students at the Worawa Aboriginal College in Healesville, Victoria.
Worawa Aboriginal College have a strong partnership with Softball Victoria through the development of the Worawa Aboriginal College Softball team who participate in the Knox Softball Association Women’s Competition.