The Victorian Amateur Athletics Association was formed in 1892 as a sporting association for men. It did not allow underage or female members.
The earliest record of athletics competition in Australia is from 1810 in Hyde Park, Sydney where Dicky Dowling won a sprint race over 50 yards. Professional athletics (called pedestrianism) began to grow, with large crowds betting on races. Professional foot racing boomed in the gold rush towns of Victoria and New South Wales. Miners raced against each other in handicapped races for the prize of a gold nugget offered by the mine owner. 'Gift' races were born.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground was the home of the first amateur athletics meeting in Australia, in September 1864. In 1867 the first amateur athletics club was established in Australia, the Adelaide Amateur Athletic Club. It held regular athletics meetings, and other clubs were soon formed.
As more clubs were intiated, there became a need for a governing body. This was first recognised in New South Wales and on 20 April 1887 at a meeting in Oxford Street Sydney. The honorary secretary of Ashfield Amateur Athletic Club moved that 'it is desirable to form an association to be called the Amateur Athletics Association of New South Wales to take the management of amateur athletic sports in the colony'. Other states followed suit, including the Victorian Amateur Athletics Association.
Museum Victoria holds medals that the Association issued in 1899 and 1901 (NU 20123 and NU 20361).
According to the Victorian Athletic League web site, a competing association, the Victorian Athletic League, was established in 1895. In 1917, a dispute over prize money led to a breakaway group, the Victorian Athletic Association, being formed. In 1921 the Victorian Athletic League and the Victorian Athletic Association were merged. According to St Kevin's Amateur Athletics Club web site, however, the Victorian Athletic Association was actually a later name for the Victorian Amateur Athletics Association. More recently, it was re-named Athletics Victoria.
In 1965 a number of young people presented themselves to take part in a meeting at Geelong, only to be told that they were too young under the constitution of the Victorian Amateur Athletics Association. A Trevor Billingham was so concerned with this exclusion that he began to consider the possibility of an athletics organisation for young members. On 9 September 1965 a meeting in Geelong decided to create a Saturday morning competition for boys and girls, to be known as Little Athletics. This led to the establishment of the Victorian Little Athletics Association on 10 March 1967.
In 1972 the Victorian Amateur Athletics Association was still a men-only association. It had registered around 8500 members since its inception.
In 2001-2 the Association had a total of 3,540 members, both male and female.
The Age website (article by Rick Mitchell, May 8 2002) http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002
Ingle Farm Little Athletics web site http://www.communitywebs.org/IngleFarmLittleAthletics/
Athletics Australia website http://www.athletics.org.au/insideaa/history.cfm
Commonwealth Games 2006 fact sheet on website http://www.melbourne2006.com.au/M2006_Facts_20_Melb.pdf Victorian Athletic League website http://www.val.org.au/index2.htm
St Kevin's Amateur Athletics Club website http://www.skaac.org.au/histo.html