Lorna McConchie

Lorna McConchie was an inspirational leader in physical education and the popular sport of netball.

Honour Roll

She was born in Melbourne in 1914 and after early school years at East Kew Primary School, Lorna attended University High School. She did a stint of teacher training at Foster in south Gippsland which then led her to take up the study of physical education at the University of Melbourne. After just her first year at university, she was invited to lecture in dance and movement and teaching practice.

On graduation, Lorna contributed to establishing the most prestigious physical education course in Australia at the University of Melbourne. The course attracted considerable interest, with graduates coming from around the world, producing some of the best teachers, lecturers and coaches in sport, recreation, dance and movement.

Through 1931 to 1940 Lorna was a member of either, or both, the Victorian and Australian netball teams. She was vice-captain of the Australian team in 1939 which was set to tour New Zealand, until it was cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II. After this, Lorna then reduced her competitive participation in the sport and devoted much of the remainder of her life to the administration of netball.

In 1949, she represented the Australian Physical Education Association at the first women's conference in Denmark. The year 1956 was Lorna take on the role of Australian coach and manager of the first women's touring netball team to visit England and then in 1963, she coached the undefeated Australian team at the first netball World Tournament, also in England. In 1959, Lorna was the Australian delegate at the Inaugural Conference of netball's International Federation, where an international constitution was accepted and international rules clarified.

Being a member of the Australian Council of Physical Education and promoting a healthy lifestyle was paramount to Lorna. She was a strong advocate for retaining and extending physical education in schools.

Lorna died in 2001, but this was not before she was nominated as a member of the Netball Victoria Team of the Century in 2000 and inducted into the Netball Hall of Fame in 2001. Netball Victoria has named the State League Umpire Award in her honour. Lorna McConchie led by example, perfecting the art and science of caring for her athletes, her students, fellow lecturers and friends from all walks of life. Behind a gently-measured manner was a woman of resolute mind and a determined spirit.