Kyabram Free Press
Diamond day for Hayward
Some 250km south of where she was born, Kyabram’s greatest netball export celebrated her journey circumnavigating 100 laps around the sun on September 5.
Three-time Australian Diamond Wyn Hayward (nee Mckenzie) joined the centenarian club on Sunday in Melbourne’s Bentleigh East, the second city she called home after leaving Campaspe Shire.
Hayward became the 15th Diamond to don the Australian dress when she took part in the 1948 tour to New Zealand in New Plymouth, helping her nation defeat the Silver Ferns in all three Test series matches.
According to her grandson Cam Osborne, to this day the freshly-turned100-year-old still reminisces fondly about her trip across the ditch.
“Going to New Zealand was her big moment, it was the first time she had left the country," Osborne said.
“She remembers it well because they actually took a sea plane out of Sydney Harbour, which flew them directly to New Zealand.
“She played in all three Test series games and loved it — the team was there for a month, but she actually stayed on for a further three months before returning.”
Growing up as the youngest of seven in the quaint Goulburn Valley town post-world War I, Hayward moved to the big smoke with her mother at age six to complete her education.
Finishing a tailoress apprenticeship when she first left school, Hayward then went on to assist fixing planes at Essendon Airport during World War II.
All the way through, she’d displayed a penchant — an unhindered talent — for the game of netball.
In 1932 aged 11, she became a member of the Victorian State School side, progressing to eventually earn her first international cap in 1948.
However, what remains peculiar is that netball, as it is now known, wasn’t invented until 1960.
“Netball was called women’s basketball back then; they had men’s and women’s basketball, but it was still the game in today’s day and age known as netball,” Osborne said.
“Women didn’t actually play the sport of basketball, but as the years went by and more women began to take part, so they had to split off and change the name, which is when it was actually labelled netball.”
More than half a century on from her Test debut, Hayward made history on Sunday as she blew out her birthday cake candles.
The ex-kyabramite became the first and only Australian representative to hit triple digits, and although the festivities were perhaps a little more detached due to COVID-19, her grandson said there was no stopping Hayward from celebrating in her usual lively manner.
“She’s still very fit and active — we couldn’t have the party we would have wanted because of lockdown, but she’s still celebrating.”