In Victoria a group of pioneers started a state competition in the 1970s, with enough teams in 1974 to split the state league into two divisions—western and eastern—won by Melton and Doveton respectively. A player who made a significant contribution at that time was Shona Bass. She represented Victoria and was selected for the Australian team which took part in the inaugural Trans-Tasman Cup in New South Wales and Queensland in 1979. These were among the first recognised A internationals played by the Australian women’s team. The first game was drawn, while the second was won by New Zealand 1-0 and the third by Australia by the same score. Shona Bass went on to play in the second Trans-Tasman Cup in New Zealand in 1980. After two draws, the Australians came out on top in the third game 3-2.
As with all the players at that time, Shona Bass had to pay for the privilege of playing and meet most of the expenses of her representative matches. She was already heavily involved in coaching and player development and was studying for a career in teaching. This limited her opportunities to appear with the national team but she took part in the second Oceania Cup in 1987 in New Zealand when the women’s Australian team came runner-up to Chinese Taipei in the final. The team included Julie Murray, Karen Menzies, Renaye Iserief, Sue Buswell, Sabine Buschmann, Sue Monteath, Leanne Priestley, Joanne Millman, Terri McQueen, Moya Dodd, Mariana Milanovic, Lisa Rader, Theresa Jones, Shona Bass, Andrea Martin and Sharon Mateljan. There had been a major dispute within the women’s ranks just prior to the tournament and the NSW players were withdrawn. In all Shona Bass won eight caps for what became known as the Matildas.
Though she continued to be involved in the development of the game, Shona Bass’s academic career became her main focus. She completed a PhD in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne and later became a professor and head of school at Deakin University and a widely published author. She is now involved with Early Foundations as a Director concerned with the development of children. Recently she debated the need for much greater public support for early intervention in children’s education with the Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan on Channel Ten.
Shona was a long standing state representative team player, having played for Victoria for over a decade, finishing runners-up in Melbourne in 1976 and Darwin in 1979, before ultimately winning in Alice Springs in 1987. She was a member of the National team that played the first A-internationals. She also coached Junior state teams and is a highly qualified coach.