For International Women’s Day a celebrated female athlete was immortalized in bronze.
On March 7th of this year, female athleticism took the stage with the arrival of a bronze statue at John Cain Arena honoring famed netball player Sharelle McMahon.
Unveiled by Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos, the tribute is the creation of Australian-based, internationally renowned sculptors Gillie and Marc— co-founders of Statues for Equality, the global project to bring more diversity to public statues— and was funded in part by the Andrews Labor Government’s $250,000 Celebrating Female Sporting Icons initiative.
Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here.
“Victorians, like the sports we play, are diverse and it’s important that the athletes we choose to honour reflect that diversity,” said Dimopoulos. “Recognising our female sporting heroes will help level the playing field and inspire the next generation of elite sporting talent.”
A celebrated athlete and Victoria native, McMahon has enjoyed an illustrious 25-year netball career as both a player and a coach.
After playing for the Melbourne Phoenix and later the Melbourne Vixens, she joined the national netball team, the Australian Diamonds, at the age of 21, and began an international netball career spanning 14 years and 118 matches. Over this time, she and her team earned two gold and two silver medals across four Commonwealth Games, and two Netball World Cup victories. She captained twelve times and scored the winning goal at the 1999 World Cup.
In 2010, she was the first athlete from a team sport to serve as a flagbearer for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, and in 2016 she received recognition for her many accomplishments through induction as an athlete member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Though she has since retired as an athlete, McMahon continues her work in sport as Cricket Victoria’s Head of Female Cricket, a position she’s held since 2021.
“It’s a fitting recognition on International Women’s Day for Sharelle McMahon,” said Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins, “whose incredible achievements, both on and off the netball court, have left an indelible mark on Victoria’s sporting history and been an inspiration for women and girls everywhere.”
McMahon’s statue comes as a collaboration between the Labor Government, the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust, and Netball Victoria, and is only the latest project in a broader effort to build greater representation and recognition for women and girls in sport.
Statues for Equity has further plans to unveil a second statue later this year honoring early netball player Anne Henderson at the redeveloped State Netball Centre in Parkville.
Read more about the memorial statue here.