‘It’s quite simple, hit out or get out. If you’re not prepared to get in and have a go, then let someone else have a go. I had that philosophy as a player and I don’t think it’s any different as an administrator.’
The popularity and success of Australian women’s cricket in the early 21st century can be directly attributed to Belinda Clark.
While only in her 20s she had scaled the heights of national representation, captained the Australian team and led it in 1997 to World Cup victory in India, while concurrently administering the women’s game in Australia as its Chief Executive Officer.
Australian Womens Cricket Team. Eden Gardens India, 1997
1997 saw Australia win its fourth World Cup from five attempts.
Image from Left - Right (Back row): Cathryn Fitzpatrick , John Harmer (Coach), Dr Harry Harinath, Lisa Keightley, Julia Price, Michelle Goszo, Joanne Broadbent, Olivia Magno, Cherie Bambury Christina Matthews (Manager). (Middle row): Zoe Goss. (Front row): Bronwyn Calver, Charmaine Mason, Avril Fahey, Belinda Clark (Capt.), Karen Rolton, Melanie Jones, Meg McIntyre (Physiotherapist).
Growing up in Newcastle NSW, Belinda was equally proficient at tennis and cricket. She announced her enormous cricketing talent with a century in her first Test against India in 1991.
Her focussed and deliberate approach to batting promised an uncommon aptitude for leadership, realised three short years later in 1994 when she was appointed Australian Captain.
Belinda captained the Australian Women’s Cricket Team from 1994 to 2005, including four Ashes series. This photograph shows the 2001 Team at the Lord Harris Memorial, set in the Harris Garden at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London.
Image: Left-Right (Back row): Sally Bailey (Fitness), Avril Fahey, Charmaine Mason, Louise Broadfoot, Christina Matthews, Lisa Ross (Physiotherapist), Olivia Magno, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, Therese McGregor, Lisa Keightley, Michelle Goszko, Janine Stainer (Manager) Cherie Bambury, Steve Jenkin (Coach). (Seated Front): Julie Hayes, Julia Price, Belinda Clark (Capt.), Karen Rolton, Lisa Sthalekar.
Courtesy Christina Matthews collection, Bradman Museum.
But it was in the one-day game where Clark shone brightest. She is the highest Australian ODI aggregate run-maker and the first player, male or female, to score 200+ runs in a One Day International (ODI) (229* v Denmark, 1997).
However, it was her determined batting and gritty leadership against great rivals England and New Zealand, altogether with three World Cups, where she stamped her on-field legacy, always balancing relentless competitiveness, strategic intelligence and player empathy to maximise on-field success.
Australian Women's Cricket Team in New Zealand, 1997
Highlighting her leadership and exceptional batting record, Belinda Clark captained the Australian Women’s One Day Team to two World Cup tournament victories.
The Australian women's Test team are pictured before the start of the Shell Rose Bowl series in New Zealand, February 1997. Australia won the ODI series 4-0.
Image from Left - Right (Back row): Julia Price, Melanie Jones, Bronwyn Calver, Zoe Goss, Lisa Keightley, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, Charmaine Mason, John Harmer (Coach). (Front row) Lyn Larsen (Manager), Cherie Bambury, Joanne Broadbent, Belinda Clark (Capt.), Karen Rolton, Olivia Magno, Avril Fahey, Meg McIntyre (Physiotherapist).
‘I knew we had to aim high to inspire the group. We (had) trained more on our own than as a group, so we needed to tie everyone together with a clear aim and purpose. We needed to change the game …to become the best team ever’ Belinda Clark on 1997 World Cup win.
Highest Score: 136
Highest Score: 229*
Image of Belinda Clark in 2005, by Steve Christo.
Since retiring from representative cricket in 2005 Belinda has overseen the development of the Australian Cricket Academy in Brisbane, and in 2019 has held other senior administrative roles at Cricket Australia, including the implementation of national standards in junior cricket.
Belinda Clark poses with former Australian captains (L-R): Lyn Larsen, Margaret Jennings, Jodie Fields, Meg Lanning (then current Captain) and Sharon Tredrea during the Women's World Cup photo opportunity at William Barak Bridge on March 9, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Michael Dodge.
In 1998 Belinda was named Wisden Australia Cricketer of the Year, and in 2018 appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for distinguished service to cricket as a player, captain and administrator, through support for national and international professional councils, and as a role model for young sportswomen.
In 2011 Clark was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. In 2014 she became the first female inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame and in 2017 she was appointed as the first female Bradman Honouree.
Pictured is Belinda Clark receiving her citation as 2017 Bradman Honouree from the Bradman Foundation Patron, John Howard OM AC. Looking on is Australia's former Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, former President Women's Cricket Australia. Image Anthony Moran.
Australia's highest cricket honours are awarded annually to the best male and female players. The national awards, the Allan Border Medal and the Belinda Clark Award, are named in honour of two of Australia's most recent iconic players.
The highest NSW State female award is the Belinda Clark Medal, which has been issued annually since 2003 (Lisa Keightley). The pictured medal was awarded by Cricket NSW to Australian player Alex Blackwell in 2012/13.
On loan to Bradman Museum, courtesy Alex Blackwell. Image Mark Kelly.
Belinda rates her contribution while inaugural CEO of Women’s Cricket Australia to successfully integrate women’s cricket with the men’s game as her proudest administrative moment;
‘A big step forward, a step that needed to be taken. There’s no way that the game would be taken to over 100 international countries or the Australian women’s team would play a double header with the Australian men’s team without integration. We now accept those concepts as progress but they would not have been possible without a deliberate, sustained campaign.’ Belinda Clark
Image of Belinda Clark receiving her Bradman Honouree Bat in 2017. The bats are painted each year with Honouree's and Sir Donald Bradman's portraits by prominent Australian artist Dave Thomas.
The Bradman Museum currently exhibits Belinda Clark’s Baggy Green cap, her One Day International shirt and the 2017 Honouree gifted bat. Together, they not only honour a truly great Australian cricketer, but highlight the immense contribution made by Belinda Clark to the ongoing advancement of women’s cricket in Australia and throughout the world.
Image of Belinda Clark's Baggy Green cap. On loan to Bradman Museum courtesy Belinda Clark. Image by Mark Kelly.
Authors: Rina Hore, David Wells. Bradman Museum
Art Direction: Monica Donoso. Bradman Museum
© Bradman Museum 2019
Belinda Clark Baggy Green cap. On loan to Bradman Museum. Photograph Mark Kelly
Alex Blackwell's Belinda Clark Medal (2013). On loan to Bradman Museum. Photograph Mark Kelly.
Chris Matthews Collection
Michael Dodge/CA Getty
Anthony Moran, Bradman Museum
Belinda Clark Tribute :: Bradman Museum. Editing, Darren Powell/Shot to Pieces.
Belinda clark :: 200+ Innings. Lightwell Production, Bradman Museum.
Archive footage authorised for use by Bradman Museum for non-commercial gain.