Women’s participation in sport has a long history. It is a history marked by division and discrimination but also one filled with major accomplishments by female athletes and important advances for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Join Active Moreland in celebrating some amazing women and girls in Moreland who not only participate in sport but are also serving as role models in our diverse community.
Ruby Roseman-Gannon - cyclist
“I started track riding when I was five, and I'm in Year 11 now. There were clinics offered by Brunswick Cycling Club at the velodrome in East Brunswick, and my Dad took me along. On the first day I crashed twice. Track bikes are different to ride, and I went over the handlebars. I kept at it, and didn’t have another crash until I was in an U15 mixed road race in Tasmania. There was a sprint finish, the boy just in front of me swerved, I hit his wheel and broke my collarbone – but got back on the bike and finished the race.
"I was awarded a scholarship by the Victorian Institute of Sport at the start of 2014, but I am adamant I want to keep doing well at school VCE because there is not much money in women’s cycling unless you are at the very top. I will turn 17 in November which means I’m now classified as an Under-19 for races. I’ve enjoyed starting to compete against women rather than juniors. The races are tougher, and I just completed my first open-age road race with a proper peloton.
"At this point I haven’t decided if I want to specialise in road or track riding. I love them both, although you have to do a lot more distance training for the road. In one week I might ride 400km. Dad and I still ride together fairly often. Little by little I’ve been catching up and now I can beat him, which feels pretty good!”
Ruby is a member of the Brunswick Cycling Club.
Victoria Carullo - Moreland resident
“A few months ago I did the New York Marathon. I’d done half marathons before, but nothing this high-profile. Just getting accepted to run is a highlight. It is a ballot system where you hope your name is pulled out. Amazingly I was selected, as was my husband, which for both of us to do at the same time was very lucky.
“Before the marathon, my overwhelming feeling was of nervousness and excitement. 42km is a long way. I was confident I was physically prepared – my training program went for 20 weeks and in that time I ran over 780km. As a recreational runner living in Brunswick, I’m on the doorstep to some great running trails and tracks, and I do gym and cardio sessions at least three times a week. But it’s still nerve racking.
“New York is the most exciting city in the world and the marathon takes you through all five New York boroughs – through Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and finishing in Central Park in Manhattan. More than two million people line the route cheering you the whole way, plus there’s live music and bands every couple of kilometres. It’s very motivating. In fact it allows you to be distracted from the pain you may be experiencing!
“I managed to do the marathon in 4 hours and 31 minutes. I actually felt really good afterwards, I was surprised how well I pulled up. For two days after it, stairs were not my friend, but the best thing you can do to recover is keep moving. Four days after the marathon I was back running again.
“I don’t have another major run planned in the immediate future, but the 2017 London Marathon shows potential.”
Shirley Peake - Moomba Park Tennis Club
“I started to learn to play tennis when I was 35, and it has been a big part of my life for quite a few years now. When I was younger I was a very keen runner with the Brunswick Women’s Amateur Athletic Club, and played netball and squash as well. In 1975 they started a tennis club at St Matthew’s in North Fawkner and I went along to see what it was about. Soon enough I was on the committee, and once you get on a committee it’s hard to get off. I had five children and four of them played tennis for differing periods of time. We played round robins once a month on a Sunday, had a barbecue afterwards and made lots of good friends.
“In 1995, St. Matthew’s Tennis Club also used Moomba Park’s facility and subsequently this became our main venue. I have been involved there ever since. I have been Secretary, Treasurer and had various other roles. Nowadays I play in a ladies team on Tuesday nights, go along on Saturday mornings to help with the junior tennis, and help run the canteen. Volunteers are the backbone of every sports club. We have 12 grandchildren and they have been involved in different sports.
“What I like about tennis is you can play it all your life. There is no restriction on age. There are some damn good players who are 80. They can’t run, but they are smart and they know where to hit the ball. An old man once said to me, ‘Never stop playing. It doesn’t matter what grade you play in, just keep on playing.’ Another thing I like is that it’s an individual sport but you can be part of a small team. It’s just a great thing to be involved in.”
Hannah Delorenzis - Moreland Zebras Soccer Club
“Soccer is one of the biggest things in my life. Last year I enrolled at the FC11 academy where I was the only female out of 150 students in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. It was really, really intense but I graduated, and I’m proud of that. I grew up in Pascoe Vale South doing basketball, athletics and indoor soccer. I have only been playing outdoor soccer for three years. I have won the Best and Fairest for my club multiple times, which is a real honour.
“I have been one of the captains at Moreland Zebras for the past two years. I love everything about the sport, but especially the mental side of it. It is a simple game, but it is also very strategic. I am a competitive person, and competing as part of a team means a lot to me. Being part of the club is also great socially.
“I used to work full-time at a hospital doing pathology but now I do a lot of other things that are football-related, including coaching a boys’ school team and refereeing interschool matches. I have a big passion for women's football and hope to see it develop more in upcoming years and hope to be part of that. As a player my ambition is to make it to Premier League level. Playing with Melbourne Victory would be a dream come true. I also love coaching, and my goal is to work with people who can’t afford to play or don’t have ready access to the sport, such as refugees. I believe there is a heart in this game, and we need to reach out to more people.”
Esther Hassett - Brunswick Renegades Women's Football Team
“I am a foundation member of the Brunswick Renegades, which competes in the Victorian Women’s Football League. Our inaugural year was 2014 when we made the preliminary final in Division 5. In 2015 we have been promoted to Division 4 and we are doing well. It is a real credit to our club because when we started, 50 per cent of us had never played footy before.
“I grew up in Gippsland and played footy at primary school with the boys, but apart from having a kick with my father and brother I didn’t play again once I started secondary school. When I came to Melbourne to study I started playing with the Melbourne University team, the MUGARS. I was with them for three years and we took it pretty seriously. We were in Division 1 and then Premier Division and we trained hard. I spent some time overseas, and when I came back I thought I was finished with footy, but a friend invited me to join the Renegades. It’s great fun. We train one night a week and focus on enjoying the sport, developing our skills and having a good time as a group. It has made me realise I still love footy, and I wasn’t ready to leave it behind.
“Something I like about the Renegades is that we are an inclusive club, and one of our core values is that we don’t say no to anyone who wants to have a go. We have a really diverse club, including younger women as well as women who have played over 200 games. Last year we had a rotating captaincy, but this year I have been made captain which is an honour. I enjoy everything about the sport. Even the tough stuff is great fun, and you get used to the bumps and bruises. I play in the forward line and I was leading goalkicker last year. This year I’ve made a lucky start to the season and kicked plenty of goals again. In my working life I’m a teacher at a Special School, and I find a shared interest in football is a great way to communicate with a lot of the students, especially the boys. However they ask me every Monday how many goals I’ve kicked, and if it’s fewer than five they tell me I have to do better!”
Gronya Somerville - badminton
“I started playing badminton when I was 12. I played tennis as well but I find badminton much more interesting because there as so many shot choices that can be made from any given position on the court. As a sport it encompasses so many physical attributes – speed, agility, flexibility, jumping, lunging – as well as having a huge mental side. In international tournaments you have really tall Europeans competing against tiny Japanese girls, and there is something in the sport for every body type.
“My primary goal is to represent Australia at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in either women’s doubles, mixed doubles or both. With the experience of competing at the World Championships as well as the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games I feel like I am ready for Olympic competition. Edinburgh was a highlight of last year because it was my first multisport event and that was awesome. This year started well when I won the 2015 Oceania Championships women's doubles with Leanne Choo.
“I train on court for two-four hours, six days a week, plus three two-hour gym sessions, and fit this in with studying Exercise Science and Human Movement at Victoria University. Badminton still has a fairly low profile in Australia, and when I walk around Brunswick no-one looks at me twice. However when I go to China it gets hectic, with a lot of people wanting autographs and photos. I like it better at home with less attention. My great-grandfather was Kang Youwei, a Chinese political reformer who tried to turn his country into a constitutional monarchy at the turn of the 20th century. When I play in China the local media often talk about that connection. I’m proud of that historical link, but mainly I just try to focus on my sport.”
Nadine Rabah - Aussie Rules
“I grew up among AFL-mad brothers and plenty of male cousins, so I’ve loved footy for as long as I can remember. When I was young I played for an U12 boys team at the Glenroy Footy Club and won their Best and Fairest. I did my secondary schooling at Mercy College in Coburg and played with their girls’ footy team where I enjoyed kicking goals and being a member of a successful group.
“While I was at school I started umpiring and really enjoyed it, and now that’s my main focus. I umpire in the Essendon District Football League where I train two to three nights a week, then umpire on Saturdays. As a young Australian with a Lebanese Muslim background living in the northern suburbs I never considered myself a role model, but some people say they see me that way now, so that’s great.
“As well as studying at uni, I work as an AFL Victoria Game Development Officer which involves a lot of visits to schools where I deliver football programs. I have also been appointed to the AFL’s Umpiring Diversity Advisory Council, where we are trying to change perceptions of umpiring and get a wider group of people involved. I grew up barracking for Carlton, but now that I do some community work with the Western Bulldogs and volunteer with the North Melbourne Football Club, I find myself becoming more of a neutral supporter of the game. I guess I barrack for the AFL now. I have a huge passion for the game, and I want to help break down all of the cultural and religious barriers.”