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Daphne Pirie

Daphne Pirie

More information about Daphne Pirie can be found in the AWAP register.

One of eight children - six boys and two girls - Daphne Pirie came to love sport at an early age. Her father, President of the Queensland Rugby League and a former champion sprinter, had his leg blown off as a Lighthorseman in the First World War and turned to sports administration on his return home. On Sunday afternoon outings the family would hold potato races by the creek. Daphne's mother, who grew up on a farm in Rockhampton and worked hard to look after her children and her crippled husband, encouraged her daughter to get out and about and be involved in sport. School sport mostly consisted of air raid drills, but Daphne would swim at the Milton School swimming pool and run at the Exhibition Ground at State Primary School Athletics days.

When the Queensland Women's Amateur Athletic Association re-formed after the war, Pirie began running. Serious training began at the age of seventeen when she was sent with a junior team to Sydney by the Mayne Harriers' Athletic Club in 1948. By 1955 she held 40 open championships in her State and was unbeaten in all events.

In the early 1950's Pirie and others re-formed the Valley Women's Hockey Club (disbanded during the war) as a social activity alongside the Valley men's team. In her second year in the game Pirie made the State team, and by 1955 was in the Australian team. She enjoyed the team game, finding it easier than running - 'running is tougher, and it's individual' - and was happy to switch between the two; playing hockey in the winter, running in summer, and working at Whatmore's Sports Store in between.

Daphne Pirie was married in 1958 and had her first child soon afterward. The family lived at the Gold Coast and Pirie began playing hockey at Murwillumbah. Not content only to spectate when her elite career was over, Daphne developed a career in sports administration. On Ruby Robinson's retirement, she was appointed to the Queensland Olympic Council, becoming its first female vice-president. She was founding president of Womensport Queensland and is a director of Gold Coast Events Management. She holds life memberships with Hockey Australia, Women's Hockey Australia and Hockey Queensland and is a Hockey Queensland Hall of Fame Inductee. She is a board member of the Queensland Academy of Sport and President of the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of fame. Most recently, she was honoured by Womensport Queensland who, in 2006, granted her their inaugural 2006 contribution to sport award.