About the Hockey History Project

About the Hockey History Project

For the first time in the history of Australian hockey, participants, the media and hockey fans can explore every international match ever played by the country’s iconic Hockeyroos and Kookaburras and track the international careers of their hockey heroes, family members and friends.

The ground breaking History Project is the result of more than six years’ painstaking work by former Australian coach Richard Aggiss and historian John Sanders. Reviewing match sheets, old newspaper reports, people’s personal collections and records, official reports, and cross-checking with colleagues around the world, they have compiled the most comprehensive historical record of the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras.

Their work has enabled Hockey Australia to recognise national team athletes with their official player number, allocated in the order in which they made their senior international debut for Australia.

A record of every official match played by the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras has been compiled as part of the project, dating back to 1914 for the women and 1922 for the men, along with listings of the team members selected for each series, tour and tournament.

During the research some fascinating and entertaining stories have emerged.

  • The 1939 Australian women’s team was already on board ship in Adelaide bound for the 4th IFWHA Tournament (later to become the World Cup) in Bournemouth, UK, before learning that the tournament was cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II.
  • In Ahmedabad in 1962, Julian Pearce, who normally played at half back, took Don Smart’s place on the left wing and scored four goals. As he came off the field he offered to give Don any tips he might like on how to play left-wing.
  • The Australian Women’s Team, playing in Ceylon on the way to the 1959 7th IFWHA Tournament, played in ‘bloomers’ rather than their heavier uniform skirts due to the heat, reasoning that it was “OK if they all looked the same!”

Explaining the origins of the project, Richard Aggiss, the 215th athlete to represent the Kookaburras, said, “When I began working in television as an expert commentator I found that the specific information I needed for commentary was not available, or was on another website, so I set about remedying the situation.”

John Sanders continued, “I was at the club bar when Richard mentioned his intention to compile a history of Australian hockey and suggested I join him. The more I engaged in the project the more determined I was to help complete a record of our international hockey representatives and their achievements.”

Hockey Australia thanks Richard and John, and everyone who has contributed, for the oustanding work they have undertaken.