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Popular since the beginning of the 20th century, particularly among Melbourne's independent schools for girls, hockey was also taken up by men as a winter game. By 1907 the Victorian Amateur Hockey Association (VAHA) was formed, three years before a similar association for women was in place. However, competition had been organised between four clubs as early as 1905. One of the four teams, Iona, later known as the Elsternwick Hockey Club, was the first club established in Victoria, and only the second in Australia. There is also some evidence that hockey was promoted in Australia by the Royal Navy in the early 20th century, and that the establishment of a naval base at Flinders in 1913 assisted the diffusion of the game. By 1914 there were 22 teams and 350 players registered with the VAHA. In 2004 there were approximately 300 senior men's teams and 160 senior women's teams in Melbourne, with around 10 000 senior and junior players registered with Hockey Victoria. The sport is played at a variety of venues spread throughout Melbourne's suburbs. The major venue for elite competition is the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Royal Park, which opened in 2001 and includes two 'wet' pitches and 1000 undercover seats, with a total capacity of 8000 for major events such as the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Matthew Nicholson

McLeary, Ailsa, Elsternwick Hockey Club, 1905-1990: A history, Elsternwick Hockey Club, Melbourne, 1990. Details