The arrival of basketball in Western Australia followed 20 years after the sport first sprung to life in the United States. The popularity of the sport grew amongst men and women across the globe and eventually in 1911 found a home in Western Australia.

Wednesday 3 April 1946 was an important day for basketball in Western Australia. This date marks the start of the original ‘Western Australian Basketball Association’, which was formed by a small group of basketball enthusiasts at the Perth YMCA on Murray Street. The sport had already been played across the state for 35 years however there had been no official management or promotion of the sport.

Organised men’s basketball in Geraldton commenced in 1950 with the help of Catholic Priests, Father Michael Moffat and Monsignor O’Conner. These priests had a vision for basketball in Geraldton and were the driving force behind starting the Geraldton Amateur Basketball Association. Initially they started Women’s Basketball (later renamed Netball) on the YCW land and then introduced Mens Basketball on the same courts. It was then that the courts were resurfaced from grass to bitumen to accommodate the men.

At a meeting on Monday 31st July, 1950, the following eight teams were nominated for affiliation with the GABA:

  • Rovers
  • Railways
  • Trades
  • Brigades
  • Yacht Club
  • GVFB (Volunteer Fire Brigade)
  • CMF (Citizens Military Forces)
  • YCW (Young Christian Workers)

The meeting was attended by the following representatives:

  • President – Phil Bunter
  • Vice President – Norman Jupp
  • Treasurer – F. Bell
  • Rovers – M. Jordan, F. Lucas
  • Railways – Toohey Wrensted
  • Brigades – Norman Jupp, Ken Cooper
  • Trades – Alan Ward, Les Eaton, H. Wright, Lou McCann
  • CMF – L. Facci, Ron Butler
  • YCW – C. Pass, F. Bell
  • Yacht Club – Bill Hudson, C. Pritchard

The first competition was played on a bitumen court at the YCW, which is presently the SGIO car park on Cathedral Avenue. Some games were also played at the Police Boys Club on Marine Terrace.

The first Premiership side was YCW with the following players in the Team:

  • Bob Nairn – Captain
  • Peter Purchase – Vice Captain
  • Don Pearce
  • Colin Pass
  • Phil Bunter
  • Colin Stokes
  • Les O’Dea
  • Ted Martin

The association was officially named the Geraldton Amateur Basketball Association in 1960, which also commenced the planning to build three courts on Sanford Street.

Of the eight teams originally nominated, Trades and Olympians (YCW) were the only clubs to survive the fifties, although Railways reformed in 1962. YCW had to change their name as by 1958 the majority of players were not members of the YCW. Olympians retained the same team and colours.

A women’s competition also began in 1960.

The current Clubs (2022) in the Geraldton Amateur Basketball Association are:

  • Chapman Valley
  • Hawks
  • Olympians
  • Pumas
  • Stateside
  • Trades

In the 1980’s, the State Basketball League (SBL) was just a group of teams competing in Perth. In an effort to expand the league, Basketball Western Australia (BWA) President, Bob Williams, began approaching various business people in the country areas of Western Australia to gauge their interest in a statewide Basketball competition. Among the businessmen Williams approached were Brian Middleton and Graham Greenaway, residents of Geraldton. It was suggested by a friend that Middleton and Greenaway contact Kevin Jones, who at the time was Administrator of the local basketball association; Geraldton Amateur Basketball Association (GABA). All of these individuals were excited about the possibility of starting a professional basketball team in Geraldton.

For much greater detail on the history of Geraldton Basketball, please go to https://geraldtonbasketballhistory.com.au/