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School netball heads west

Despite having a population of just 954, few towns leave quite an impression like Winton. Just ask Physical Education teacher Victoria Lee who now calls the small outback town home.

First venturing west after completing her studies at James Cook University, Victoria landed her first teaching role as Sport Coordinator at Winton State Primary.

The welcoming waves of locals made it easy for her to introduce something that’s very close to her heart – netball.

Excitement soon turned to disbelief after hearing that most students hadn’t even heard of netball or experienced a game.

After sharing her on court memories and the life skills the sport has given her, Victoria soon had a full team of students wanting to give netball a try. Students ranged from grades two to six, with some even walking over from the Catholic school across the road.

“I did a lot of raving on about netball and how amazing it is and getting other teachers and parents involved too” said Victoria.

Government funding, such as the Sporting Schools initiative made it easy for Victoria to deliver netball at one of only two schools in the area.

The young teacher is thrilled to see the involvement of the community, and believes that netball is as popular if not more popular than Rugby league in Winton.

Even the rich history of western Queensland can even be found in their team name.

“We’re the Diamantina Opals. Diamantina is the big river region around here and opal is what we’re famous for – other than Dinosaurs,” said Victoria.

Never being far from a netball court, Victoria started playing at an early age.

And although she wasn’t keen on the uniform in the beginning, it took some gentle encouragement from her mum to give netball a try.

Before long any doubts she had were quickly replaced with feelings of excitement about when she was playing next. She was hooked.

Continuing to play throughout her teenage years, the young teacher also coached during high school and throughout her university study.

Filling any spare moments she has with netball, Victoria has rallied up fellow teachers and friends to take part in Monday night social competition this season.

Now into her fifth year of teaching and delivering Sporting Schools programs almost every term, Victoria is really relishing her role as the Netball Teacher Ambassador for Winton.

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