• Entry type: Organisation
  • Entry ID: AWE2254

National Fitness Council of South Australia

(From 1939 – 1975)
  • Occupation Sporting Organisation


The National Fitness Council of South Australia was a government advisory body established in 1939 that alerted individuals to the importance of gaining physical fitness, and encouraged community interest in open space and the “Quality of Environment.” In 1976 the Council was taken over by the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport.


From its inception the National Fitness Council offered women a decided role in the organization and promotion of recreation in South Australia. As most of its programmes were sex segregated, administrative and practical positions for women within the agency were assured.

The Council continued to play a major role in fostering women’s sport in the post-war years. It provided coaching assistance in a variety of sports (including tennis, athletics, hockey, netball and was also instrumental in organizing and promoting new team sports. It was responsible for the formation of the South Australian Amateur Gymnastic Association in 1952, and the introduction of softball, cricket and court cricket to girls’ schools. In 1941, the Council expanded its activities outside the country areas into rural and regional South Australia.

Through the provision of financial and administrative
assistance, played a major role in the formation of the South Australian Women’s Amateur Sports Council which, in turn, was important in providing suitable playing grounds for women’s sport. Repeated attempts by the National Fitness Council and the South Australian Women’s Amateur Sports Council to get government assistance were partially rewarded in 1952 when the state government donated 19 acres of land for the development of a women’s sports field. This was the area that would become known as the South Australian Women’s Memorial Playing Fields.


Published resources

Archival resources

  • State Records of South Australia
    • Miscellaneous records - National Fitness Council↵National Fitness Council records↵National Fitness Council records
  • State Library of South Australia
    • Papers relating to the National Fitness Council of South Australia

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • South Australian Women's Amateur Sports Council (1953 - )
  • Member
    • Fisher, Elizabeth M. (1925 - )
  • Related Concepts
    • Women in Sport