Volleyball has been played in regional Victoria since the early-1960’s. During those early days, most competitions, like the founders of our great sport, were run by, or in conjunction with, the YMCA.
The Victorian Regional Council of YMCA’s proposed the first Victorian YMCA Championship in Warrnambool on 30th March 1968 with an entry fee of $4.00 per team.
The sport continued to grow with additional regional associations affiliating with the Victorian Amateur Volleyball Association (now VVI) who provided the coaching and refereeing assistance needed to raise the standard of play. In 1970, the YMCA Championships started to give way to the Victorian Country Championships with the first ever event held in Bendigo.
In 1973, a re-organisation of the VAVA saw the proposal to create separate Victorian Country and Metropolitan Volleyball Councils. The VCVC was established in 1974 and took over the organisation of the Victorian Country Championships.
For the next 10-12 years, the Country Championships grew in stature with the inclusion of two divisions for open men and women and junior divisions for boys and girls. Representative teams successfully contested Australian Country Championships between Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales on several occasions.
In October 1985, the VCVC voluntarily wound up the Council and handed the responsibility for the Country Championships back to Volleyball Victoria, who by that time had full-time State Executive and Coaching Directors.
Since that time, the Long Weekend in June has continued to be the date of the major annual volleyball event for most regional associations, even though in 1986 the Junior Country Championships were wound-up in favour of state and national schools events. A number of regional associations have ceased to exist, as have a number of regional tournaments. Regional leagues were created in both the Gippsland and Central-North-West regions, with Gippsland the only one to survive. Some associations have successfully competed in the State League competitions at various times.
These championships now provide regional players and officials an opportunity to participate in a consistently well-managed event, using many international protocols and a high standard of presentation. Without doubt, this event now ranks as one of the best volleyball events in Australia.