Netball mourns passing of iconic figure

Credit: Netball Australia.

The Australian netball community is saddened by the passing of Australian Netball Hall of Fame icon Deirdre Hyland AM, one of the sport’s distinguished administrators.

Hyland passed away over the weekend aged 79. She was a contributor to netball at a community, state and international level, dedicating herself for the recognition of netball as an elite sport.

A school teacher, Hyland served as president of the Queensland Netball Association – now Netball Queensland – between 1974 and 1980.

She was elected president of Netball Australia in 1978 and held that position for a decade. During that time, Hyland also simultaneously managed Australian teams on tours in 1978, 1981 and 1982 and was delegate at the 1983 and 1987 Netball World Cups.

She was also chairperson of the organising committee for the 1991 Netball World Cup staged in Sydney.

Hyland then served as president of the International Netball Federation between 1987-91 where she pioneered changes such as the implementation of an Umpires Accreditation Committee and creating the inaugural Netball World Youth Cup, played in Canberra in 1988.

Netball Australia CEO Kate Palmer paid tribute to Hyland’s leadership and innovative nature that led the transformation of a new era for Netball Australia.

“Deirdre’s leadership was characterised by her ability to share her vision and create change,” Palmer said.

“An intelligent and thoughtful person Deirdre’s legacy to netball and sport in Australia has been profound. Deirdre maintained an active involvement in netball and we will miss her dearly.”

Hyland was a board member of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) from 1981 to 1983 and Director of the Confederation of Australian Sport.

She was inducted in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1989 and in 1990 was made a Member of the Order of Australia. That same year she was awarded an All Australian Netball Association Service Award.

In 2008, Hyland was an inaugural inductee into the Australian Netball Hall of Fame as a General Member and inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame in 2010.

Hyland continued to involve herself with netball beyond her administration career, co-authoring the 2011 book Netball State of Play with Dot McHugh OAM in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the INF.

She also penned the book Little Anne, a biography on the life of New South Wales legend Anne Clarke BEM.

Deirdre is survived by her brother Robin, cousins Renne and Hans Ness and dear friend Dot McHugh.