New book profiles 18 people who have been pioneers of the game
Amidst the rise and rise of women’s football, a new book shares the stories of some of the pioneers of the game in Australia.
Dedicated Lives – Stories of Pioneers of Women’s Football in Australia by Greg Downes is an oral history of 17 women and one man who have contributed to the development of the game during the past 50 years.
Downes has based the book on some of the pioneers he interviewed in researching his PhD thesis in 2016 on a similar topic, stating that the stories he heard “have always stayed with me”.
Writing in the Foreword to Dedicated Lives, Downes states that he has “never lost the desire to make [the subjects of the book] part of the history of the women’s game.”
Downes has let the pioneers take centre stage in the book, telling the stories in their own words.
He says the people profiled is “by no means an exhaustive list” but he hopes it helps give readers a better understanding of those involved in building the game.
Some of those profiled are little known names, such as Nell Perry who is pictured on the back cover, while some have had prominent roles in the game, such as former Board member of Football Australia, Heather Reid.
Downes believes that there remain a range of issues that restrict the women’s game from reaching its full potential.
“The chronic under investment by government and football authorities over many years has resulted in a widespread lack of facilities and rising costs associated with registration at the grassroots level.
Downes says that women and girls have been waiting for 40 years to access improved community facilities, and he hopes that Australia co-hosting the 2023 World Cup will be the catalyst for many of these issues to be addressed.
Dedicated Lives – Pioneers of Women’s Football in Australia is published by Fair Play Publishing with a recommended retail price of $29.99. It is available direct from the publisher, good bookstores, and Amazon in paperback and as an e-book.
Greg Downes’ next book, also to be published by Fair Play Publishing, will look at the first, but unofficial, tour of an Australian women’s team to a football tournament in Asia in 1975.