The Frankston District Basketball Association’s origins can be traced back to 1959. A group of students from the Frankston Teacher’s College traveled to Albert Park for a tournament where they met other players from Frankston. Through these contacts made, a few games were organised to cater for the need in the Frankston area. The earliest games were played at the Balcombe Army Barracks. The Army and Navy had teams involved, but no formal competition existed. It is thought that the first President of the FDBA was an NCO from the Army who happened to be on an inservice at the time.
In 1960 the College built a gymnasium, which was wide enough for basketball, but was 12′ short of acceptable length. Peter Ladd, who lived on Campus at the time, made contact with the Woinarski family, who were schoolmates of the Jennings boys, the builders. AV Jennings agreed to alter the building, which was of lightweight construction, at no cost to the college. AV Jennings could very well be considered as the FDBA’s first sponsor!
Teams from the YMCA and Seaford joined in and most of the administration was done by the teams on a rotational basis, such as collecting fees, marking lines, etc. The President of the College, George Jenkins, was very happy for the students to be involved in such activity as long as there was a formal structure, and financial accountability was in place. A staff team joined in the early 60’s and helped in negotiations with other groups, who were constantly in competition for use of the Gymnasium on the Campus. This staff team remained a vital part of the competition until the early 70’s. Spectating was not as common back then, when all spectators had to sit on the stage because there was no room between the court and the walls!
Along with Peter Ladd, another early identity of the FDBA was Mrs. Val Ward (dec), who was secretary of the Association for many years. John Holden, Frankston’s most decorated referee, came on to the scene in the early 60’s. Many of the early referees came from Dandenong until John formed the Frankston Referees Association in the mid-60’s. John’s ties with the FDBA are long and true. Having represented Australia at numerous Olympics and World Championships, his contribution to the FDBA is still felt to this day, through his teaching of referees and critiquing, etc.
In the early 70’s the Police and Citizens Club built the existing facility at the Towerhill Road site. This, along with Ballam Park Technical School was the site of the FDBA until one of many approaches over the years to Frankston City Council was successful, and the two court stadium at Bardia Avenue was built and opened on March 9, 1979.
At the time that ground was broken for the stadium, moves were also made to bring a senior representative team to Frankston. Jason Placas negotiated to bring Tony Gaze from Dandenong, along with the nucleus of his team. Four of these players were Frankston Junior players. The team competed in the VBA Championships in 1979 and 1980, and joined the Continental Basketball Association in 1981. After winning the CBA in 1982, the Frankston Bears joined the NBL in 1983 and competed at that level for two years, before financial pressures became too much for the Association to handle.
In 1986 Frankston joined forces with neighbouring Chelsea Association to form the Bayside Blues Basketball Club. This Club represented both Associations from ’86 to ’95, when Chelsea opted out because of financial commitments. The Frankston Blues are now the representative arm of the FDBA, with 42 Junior Blues teams, Men’s and Women’s SEABL Development League teams and SEABL Mens and Womens teams competing. The Blues Club has a strong tradition of excellence, with National Championships by our Womens team in 1993, 1997 and again in 2004. The Mens SEABL team has won 6 Conference Championships and were National Runners up in 1995 and 1998.
The Frankston Blues take great pride in the development of Frankston youngsters, with a commitment to man to man defence being taught at the junior levels, and “motion” offence principles also a vital aspect of the curriculum.
In 1992 the 4 court extension to our stadium was completed and opened on October 17. This extension gave the FDBA 6 courts, social room and amenities to rival any in Australia. Frankston hosted the Under 14 Boys Australian Championships in 1996 and hosted the National Junior Classic for under 12s and 14’s in the early 2000’s.
In 2003 the FDBA contributed to the building and gained joint use of a brand new 3 court stadium at Elisabeth Murdoch College in Langwarrin, allowing for growth of our Association in this important population growth corridor of Melbourne.
The FDBA has grown from these early beginnings to be one of the biggest basketball associations in Australia, with over 950 teams competing on a weekly basis. It is an Association of which we are extremely proud and whose members are extremely grateful to all those who have contributed to its existence over the years.