While there anecdotal evidence of a match in 1917, between the city’s South Girls School and Harlaxton, the first record of women playing football in Toowoomba we can find is in 1921. On the 23rd of June 1921 several young ladies approached the secretary of the British Football Association, Mr. W. Lyons, about playing in Toowoomba. The secretary put a call out in the paper to find more women who might be interested in playing. A week or so later on the 30th of June, the Daily Standard reported that six women were looking to form a team made up of nurses from Toowoomba and Willowburn hospitals.
By early July 1921, Cities and Rovers were formed. Twenty-seven women (plus official representatives of the British Football Association and the Referees Association) attended a meeting at Hillcock’s Rooms to form the two teams. They decided on their strips (green jerseys, navy bloomers and blue caps for Cities and cream jerseys, blue bloomers and white caps for Rovers). They also decided that the gate receipts from their first public match would be directed to a local charity. A practice session took place at the local showgrounds that afternoon and was followed by a lecture using blackboard illustrations. For a full run down of the meeting read the original article in the Darling Downs Gazette below.
There are reports of a number of consequent practice matches, of fixtures between Cawdor (a club in Toowoomba) and Toowoomba Ladies and acceptance of an invitation from Brisbane for a match. The Warwick Daily News also reported teams forming in Emu Vale, a town in the same region during July 1921.
It appears that Toowoomba was a vibrant hub for female footballer players during the 1920s. Unfortunately the next record we have of football in the Toowoomba and surrounding area is in the 1970s. Do you know anything about women's football in the area during the 1930s-1960s? Contact us to add to our living history of women's football.