Little Athletics evolved, like most voluntary community organisations, through the mind and conscience of one man. Trevor Billingham followed the pattern set by many pioneers in the field of community service. He recognised a need and introduced an idea designed to meet that need.
On an October day in 1963 three boys turned up at an athletics meeting in Geelong. They were ready to compete. On approaching an official they were told that they were too young to take part. The official was Trevor Billingham.
The disappointment, evident in the boys, left a marked impression on his mind.
The thought was temporarily forgotten. It came alive again several months later. At a coaching clinic designed for secondary school students it was noted that the majority of children were of primary school age.
Reminded of his earlier experience, Trevor Billingham had the gem of an idea. The answer to the need expressed in the children would be a simple Saturday morning competition.
On the first Saturday of October 1964, he met with a small group of children on a Geelong oval. They took part in a short program of running events.
From that simple beginning, athletics for boys and girls under 12, developed at a phenomenal rate.
Little Athletics created tremendous interest. By 1967 the Victorian Little Athletics Association was formed and within five (5) years there was an Australian Little Athletics Union (formed 31 March 1972). The Union was formed to co-ordinate the activities of all State and Territory Associations.
(Taken from article written by Robin Johnson the founder of WALA in 1974 Myala).
Perry Lakes Centre.
In 1967 Mr. Robin Johnson saw Little Athletics in action in Victoria where he met Trevor Billingham, then Secretary of the Victorian Little Athletics Association. Robin was impressed by what he saw and decided on his return to W.A. to commence the organisation in this State.
He enlisted the aid of a dozen helpers, athletes and officials and on the 17.2.68 the first Little Athletics meeting was held at Perry Lakes Stadium.
There were 200 athletes, 12 officials, 6 stopwatches and a limited assortment of equipment including one javelin, one shot and one discus. All children were given at least two events with some having up to four and the program was adjusted from hour to hour. six more competitions were conducted.
The foundation of Perry Lakes Little Athletics Centre had been laid. The organisation grew rapidly and by the end of the following season 1,000 athletes were registered. At this stage the Carrawatha/Willagee Club indicated they wished to establish Melville Districts Centre. Some re-structuring was necessary. An Association was formed to control the organisation throughout the State, allowing each Centre to function independently.
The new Association was formed in April, 1969 at a public meeting on 249 Cambridge St Wembley. On the 28thMay, 1969, a general meeting of the Perry Lakes Centre was held to form the Centre as we know it today.
The sport of Little Athletics continues to grow and thrive today thanks to the foundation built those years ago.
Olympic Games Honour Roll
Many people who started out in Little Athletics have gone on to compete in the Olympic Games – not only in Athletics, but also a variety of other individual and team sports. Little Athletics teaches fundamental skills, which are invaluable for those who move on to pursue other sports.
Past Little Athletics WA Participants
Past Little Athletics Participants – Do you recognises any of the names on this list?