The Polish Sports Festival

The first Polish Sports Festival was held on a private property at Wallan on the 1st of December in 1963. It was a modest affair in which about 150 competitors participated and a small crowd of spectators gathered. The conditions were rather primitive and there were no established fields for playing soccer and netball, which were the main events. The second Festival was held on the grounds of Polonia Soccer Club in Essendon on the 6th of December in 1964. However, the poor weather and inconvenient location were responsible for its lack of success.


The third Festival was postponed until February 1967 when a suitable venue was found at Chirnside Park in Werribee. From then onwards the number of competitors increased yearly, finally exceeding 400 while the number of spectators swelled to almost 3000. The team events of soccer and basketball began to attract interstate teams and on one occasion (1970) a volleyball team from New Zealand took part in the Festival. Chirnside Park continued to be the venue for nine years until the 12th Festival was transferred to Lara near Geelong in February 1976.

The Festival in Lara became one of the most important events on the social calendar for the Polish community in Victoria. It continued to attract large numbers of competitors and spectators. Since 1989 the Festivals were held at the Polish Sports and Recreation Centre in Albion.

The following competitions are currently included: soccer, netball, basketball, athletics and indoor events, such as table tennis, billiards, chess, darts and bridge. Traditionally, the Festival is organized on the last weekend in February (Saturday & Sunday), but the official opening takes place on Sunday morning.

Over the years official guests at the Sports Festival included: the State Premiers, Ministers of the Victorian Government, Members of State Parliament and representatives of local government.

Since the fall of communism, Polish diplomatic and consular representatives were invited and participated in the Official Openings of the Festivals.