A new book detailing the fascinating history of women’s squash in Australia was officially launched earlier today.
‘The Golden Age of Australian Women’s Squash’ visits some of the incredible performances of Australia’s top female players over the course of five decades, revisiting some of Squash Australia’s biggest stories, as well as telling a new audience about some of the lesser-known tales in the sport’s rich history.
The author, Barbara Slotemaker de Bruine, who won Australian Coach of the Year in 1993, told Squash Australia that the idea for the book came four years ago, during an overseas trip when she met 1960 British Open winner Sheila Macintosh, who was 87-years-old at the time.
“I was thinking ‘where are these stories going to go?’ and I thought ‘we’ve got to do something soon…’ all that knowledge wasn’t recorded,” she said.
“A book was published by the British but there was no record of the fact that we [Australia] had dominated. It was virtually unwritten, so I thought ‘I have to get this down.’”
To compile the book, Slotemaker de Bruine interviewed numerous legends of the game, including many former World No.1s and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallists. Included in ‘The Golden Age of Australian Women’s Squash’ are personal stories from some of Australia’s biggest names, such as: Vicki Cardwell, Rachael Grinham, Liz Irving, the late Judith FitzGerald, Sarah Fitz-Gerald, Michelle Martin, Rhonda Thorne and Margaret Zachariah.
“Researching something and what actually happened are two different things. The research has been quite accurate because I had a lot of people digging stuff up including records, photos and more,” Slotemaker de Bruine explained.
“These records, in many cases, have not been recorded before and eventually I am hopeful that this book will become an inspiration to the next generation of young women, who aspire to success on the world stage,” she added.
Recalling the history that saw the Golden Age (1962-2010) rise to prominence, there are stories of three-time Australian champion Betty Meagher founding the Australian Women’s Squash Rackets Association (AWSRA), Heather McKay’s dominance on the world stage and Australia’s impressive record at the World Individual Championships.
“There’s a lot of good stuff in there, it’s an indication of the perseverance of our female athletes,” Slotemaker de Bruine said. “It’s basically the insights of the personal stories, the former top talents as well as the adversity.”
Readers around the world can purchase The Golden Age of Australian Women’s Squash from a variety of online retailers.