Our History - Gaelic Football & Hurling Association of Australasia

In the early 1840's there was a newspaper report of a form of Gaelic football played in South Australia and it is acknowledged that similar games were played on the goldfields of Victoria in the 1850's. There is a lack of documentation of many challenge games of Gaelic football and hurling which were played between the Irish of Melbourne and Sydney in the 1920's and 1930's

Associations were formed firstly in Victoria and New South Wales to control and organise local games. This was followed in 1963 by the formation of an Association in South Australia and in Western Australia and Queensland soon after. The latest affiliated units are Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

At a meeting convened in Sydney in 1974 representatives from NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia met and formed the Gaelic Athletic Association of Australia to promote, control and foster Gaelic games on a national level. Subsequent to this with the affiliation of Auckland and Wellington-Hutt Valley from New Zealand the name changed to the Gaelic Athletic Association of Australasia.


It is now known as the Gaelic Football & Hurling Association of Australasia

The role of the Australasian association has grown immensely in recent years in the administration and promotion of Gaelic games. Developments include a Level 1 Coaching Course in Gaelic Football and a seperate one for hurling. Subsequent to this was the appointment of Coaching Directors in each Australian States, a one-day Referees Course to secure more qualified referees and the construction of the association’s website and more lately Facebook to cater for the number of people using social media. As a result of these initiatives there has been more than a doubling of the number of teams competing in Gaelic Games including Camogie over the last couple of years.

The first Interstate Football and Hurling Championship was played between NSW, Victoria and South Australia in 1971 in Melbourne. This has now developed into an annual competition, held every October in one of the affiliated State capitals. The Australasian Games are played over five days across all codes; Senior Men’s Football, Minor Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie, involving up to 650 players. The tournament concludes with a Gala Presentation Dinner at which the Australasian All Stars are named in each of the five codes.

Underage development is currently underway in a number of cities. Perth is paving the way with a thriving "Junior Academy" that caters for youth north and south of the Swan River. In 2014 the first week-long Cul Camps outside of Ireland were conducted under the tutelige of an experienced Coach from Leinster Council in Ireland. Around 100 young people from 6 years upwards attended the very successful camps.

2014 also saw the first "World GAA Games" competition take place in Abu Dhabi for Men’s and Ladies Gaelic Football. The competition was open to all affiliates outside Ireland and Australasia entered a 9-a-side Women's team. The competition included teams from New York, Middle East, Asia, Europe, Canada, South Africa and Argentina.The Australasian women played Middle East in the final and with a minute remaining were 1 point ahead only to conced a penalty and lose by 2 points. Four of the nine players selected in the World All Star Team were Australasian representatives.

There are now almost 4,000 players involved in Gaelic games in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Darwin, Canberra, Tasmania, Wellington and Christchurch.

For further information on the association contact the GFHA Secretary at gerardro@bigpond.net.au or telephone 0402 337 838

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