The game of Gateball was created in 1947 in Japan and came to Australia in the late 1980s or early 1990s.
In 1984, the JCU (Japanese Gateball Union ) was founded and the WGU ( World Gateball Union), comprising China, Korea, Brazil, USA, Chinese Taipei as well as Japan was formed the following year. Between 1987 and 1998, other countries to join were Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Argentina, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Australia officially joined the WGU in 2003 as its 14th member, after having held unofficial membership for a number of years.
The inaugural Australian Gateball Championships were held at Tempe, NSW, in August 2000 in which 3 NSW teams and 2 Victorian teams participated as well as 5 teams from Taiwan and 3 from New Zealand. In 2001, the Australian Championships were played at Brighton, Victoria. Teams entered from Melbourne (4), Sydney (2), New Zealand (2), and Japan (4).
Since then, National Championships have been held at Caloundra in 2003; at Mosman , Sydney in 2005; at Cairnlea, Victoria in 2007, Rockhampton in 2009, Newcastle, NSW in 2011 and Cairnlea in 2013.
Australia’s foray into international Gateball was in November, 1998 when 2 teams ( the Koalas and the Kangaroos) visited Hawaii, competing in the 7th World Gateball Games. Most of these players were from NSW. (Keith McLeod was a notable exception).
Edna Vincent was a member of the highly- acclaimed Australian Wombats team [all others of whom were members of the Brunswick Mallet Sports Club(Vic.)] which visited Toyama, Japan, in October, 2002. It was at this competition that Australia had its first ever win in an international competition.
State Titles have been held in Queensland since 2005 and have been held at Ipswich, McIlwraith, Southport, Caloundra, Rockhampton and Southport.
An Inter-Regional competition was also commenced in 2005. This event is now restricted to one team per region.
A great deal of mystery seems to surround the origins of Gateball in Queensland. Nothing much seemed to be going on prior to the Caloundra club’s catching the ball and running with it when they hosted the 2003 Australian Gateball Championships.
In July 2000, Carmel Donley, then CAQ President, had organised a 2-day Seminar at Toombul at which Keith McLeod introduced the idea of Gateball to about 20 interested persons. Toombul members did not display a great deal of interest but Edna Vincent did. There was some interest from Caloundra and McIlwraith. When Queensland was asked to host the 2003 Australian Gateball Championships, Morrie Taylor, then President of Caloundra, saw the potential and jumped at the opportunity but, sadly, died before the event was staged. The late Fay Rock then took over as President and Lorraine Singleton became the Event Manager of this 2003 event. As well as Fay and Lorraine, other members of the organising committee were Annette Carter, Pam Fletcher, Carmel Donley, Coral Schintler, Edna Vincent and Dot Hannell. This event must be seen as a significant step forward for Gateball in Qld.
Edna Vincent was instrumental in getting Gateball started in Central Queensland.
When Rockhampton club numbers were in decline in 2002, members looked to Gateball as a way of perhaps increasing membership. Edna Vincent was invited to visit the club. She espoused the wonders of Gateball, enthused our members and others, and , as a result, Gateball grew in Central Queensland. In mid 2003 Keith McLeod called in on his way south after a trip further north and he encouraged the club to compete in the National Championships in Caloundra later that year.
It just so happened that Brisbane did field two teams, the Muttaburrasaurs and the Echidnas. (thanks to McIlwraith).
Edna Vincent was Queensland’s first Director of Gateball. In 2004 Queensland had 4 clubs playing Gateball – Caloundra, McIlwraith, Ipswich and Rockhampton. Carmel Donley wrote on 07/05/2004 that Edna had agreed to resume her position as Gateball Director following a short illness. She arranged promotional days with Keith McLeod whilst he was in Queensland in May and June, 2004. She also investigated how players could become Referees in Gateball. Edna provided numerous information pamphlets and was able to assist in advising how to obtain equipment.
Also, Central Queensland initiated a schools development programme. Three schools in the Yeppoon were assisted with donated equipment and commenced an inter-school competition.
Since 2003, Queensland has progressed to having staged a second National Championships, having held a Queensland State Titles Event and an Inter-Regional event on 6 occasions as well as numerous club tournaments and other minor events. (both inter-club and intra-club.)