Discovering Our History
The Flying Bats Women's Football Club celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015. During this year of celebration a small team of volunteers formed to unearth the history of the Club. With scant written records, it was a challenge to piece together the key parts of the Club's history.
To discover the Club's past, the project team recorded oral history interviews with past and current players, committee members and team managers as well as supporters. Interviews occurred across Sydney - from Marouba to the Inner West, and even as far as St Albans located about two hours north-west of Sydney near Wisemans Ferry. The team also gathered memorabilia, including photos, video footage, jerseys and trophies from throughout the Club's 30 year history.
Preserving Our History
The collection of oral history interviews, including the audio and transcripts, will be preserved in the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives based in Melbourne for future generations to reflect on and enjoy.
The team was also keen to share the history online as a web-based resource and digital archive. As you take a look back at the history captured in this resource, you will be able to play short audio clips from our interviewees. These have been extracted from the full interviews which range from one to several hours in length.
Our Oral History Collection
As part of the history project, the team conducted oral history interviews with 19 past and current members of the Flying Bats whose collective memory spanned the Club's entire 30 year history. The interview participants were asked about their early lives, their introduction to soccer and how they came to join the Flying Bats.
Through the interviews we learnt of Bats who had been Mardi Gras 78ers, one Bat who had gone on to become a well-known public figure, a refugee lawyer, a film maker, and stories of tireless community champions who gave their time to create a space where women, and particularly queer women, could belong and be empowered.
While we endeavoured to capture a diverse collection of interviews, we are still interested in hearing from current and past players, past committee members or team managers, coaches and supporters who have not yet been interviewed. We are also working to compile a complete list of those Club members who have been awarded the honour of 'Flying Bats Life Member'.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below if you have a story to share. We hope that this digital archive will encourage more people to be involved in telling their recollections of being part of the Flying Bats community such that many different perspectives are reflected in the history.
Do you have a Bats story to share?
Contact us here.
Why is this history significant?
This is a community led oral history project that will increase visibility of the forgotten histories of lesbian and queer women and women in sport.
Both women's sport and the lives of LGBTIQ people are topics that require further investigation and incorporation into broader social narratives. The Flying Bats oral history interview collection will be a significant resource from which researchers and the community can learn about these often marginalised stories.
This project also offers the Club the opportunity to reflect on our history as a both a long-running women's soccer club and as a lesbian soccer club. It also promotes the Club's many achievements over the last 30 years.
By sharing our stories with a broad audience it is hoped that the project will foster an appreciation of diversity and the importance of community. The project aims to promote women in sport, counter homophobia and and inspire others to build inclusive spaces.
The Flying Bats History Project team would like to extend a huge thank you to the oral history interview participants. Their willingness to share their stories has allowed us to document the history of the Club. Thanks also to those past and present Flying Bats members who donated photos and other memorabilia, including Julie Purser, Anna Flynn, Holly Brimble, Michelle Brown, Jane Castle, Claudia Taranto, Ingrid Cullen, Fran Krix, Tracey Atkinson and Alison Todd.
The project was made possible through the support of Marrickville Council and ACON, who both provided a grant for the history project. We extend our gratitude to both organisations for their generous contribution to LGBTIQ history and the history of women's sport in Sydney.
We also acknowledge the significant role of the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives in preserving our oral history interviews for future generations to enjoy. Sydney's Pride History Group also provided support to the project.
The project would not have been realised without the dedication of the Flying Bats History Project oral history interviewers: Anna Flynn, Sarah Midgley, Shirleene Robinson, Sarah Taylor, Sophie Partridge and Kay Harrison.
A special thanks to Dr Shirleene Robinson from Macquarie University who provided oral history training to the team of interviewers and, with Sarah Midgley, prepared the content of this digital archive.
We would also like to thank the Flying Bats Committee for their ongoing support of this project, including Sophie Partridge who was president of the Club at the inception of the project and to Jen Peden who assisted in promoting our history launch. Danielle Warby also provided valuable guidance at various points during the project and proposed the idea of a project to coincide with the 30 years anniversary of the Club.