The Austral Volleyball Club was founded in 1973, when it first entered a league and reserve mens team in the South Australian Volleyball Association. Amongst the founding members, were such names as Ray Harris, Bob Bates, Brett Stirzacer, Alan Harris and Neil Butcher, who played in the first ever League team. In that inaugural year Austral was ranked third in the league. League and reserves women teams were established in 1975.
The initial competition was based at the Bedford Park Teachers College, now known as the Sturt Campus of Flinders University and still a vibrant hub of volleyball in Adelaide.
In 1973 the home base and practice venue was a church hall in Brougham Place, North Adelaide. As the club grew, larger facilities were required and the training venue was relocated to the Findon High School Gymnasium, as a number of the players were also staff members of the school. A move to the southern suburbs, which was to become its current home, occurred in the late 80s, when the Marion High School Hall became available, providing a new catchment area for players. Two of whom included Darren Snell and Andrew Grantham who were later to become chosen as the best server and most valued player respectively for the 2001 League mens team of the Year.
In the early 90s when Marion High School was closed down and land subsequently subdivided and sold, the hall was preserved and offered to the community. Austral took a major stake in its use and consolidated its home at this location. Cosgrove Hall is now the permanent home for Austral. All of its activities, meetings, training sessions and club memorabilia are located in this venue.
Over the years, Austral can boast many achievements. We have won the women’s league trophy in 1980, 1981, the Skip Cup (best club in all divisions) in 1980, 1982, 1985 and had divisional titles in many carnivals including Wallabies (Melbourne), SA Open and Riverland. Recently our Division 1 Boys and Division 4 girls were premiers in season 2002.
Our membership over the years have included some exceptional volleyball talents, many representing Australia. David Wright, Brian Low, Carl Newman and our current league mens coach Andrew Grantham are all Australian representatives. From our women’s teams we can boast an even more impressive line up of those that have worn the green and gold including, Marta Ostermeyer, Wanda Sipa, Leanne Rohde, Cathy Lee, Dianne Biebrick, Bea Daley and Kay Dowley.
Judging by the enormous expansion of our junior contingent, mostly due to the extraordinary efforts of our Junior Development Officer, Glenn Duffield, it is certain that this impressive list of world class volleyballers will continue to grow.
Ray Harris was visionary in establishing a fledgling club that has subsequently grown into a major force in Australian Volleyball. In acknowledgement of Rays role, we have established the Ray Harris Perpetual Trophy, awarded each year to the club member whom has made the greatest contribution. In 2002 this award went to Glen Duffield. In 2003 the award went to both Glen Duffield and Tim Riley.