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Congratulations Dot Kelly on being awarded OAM, Australia Day 2023


Mother of 7

Grandmother of 22

Great Grandmother 21

Dot Kelly grew up in Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales, born in 1933 she came into the world when times were hard, money was scarce, and educational opportunities limited.  

The challenges Dot faced in her adolescent and young adult life were met with determination and a drive which led Dot to seek equality and opportunity for all.  This drive and determination would see Dot become an ambassador for netball, particularly for disadvantaged children, it would see her become the most successful netball coach for Bankstown City Netball Association winning twelve NSW State Championship Titles and assisting in many more.  Together with her many charitable works Dot’s catchphrase lives long and true for the broad range of people whose lives Dot has touched over the years.  Dot’s catchphrase being “There is no such word as can’t”.



Padstow United Netball Club

Dot’s netball journey began as a young woman playing at Moore Park Sydney with her sisters.  This introduction to netball would be a defining moment and when Dot’s first two daughters were old enough, she signed them up to play netball for the local netball club.  During the time at Padstow United she managed and helped with the teams her daughters were in.  Dot used these years to hone her skills and techniques to become a mentor and formidable coach in the years to follow.  She saw a need in the community and set about founding South Bankstown Netball Club. 

South Bankstown Netball Club (1963-2015)

As President of South Bankstown, she became aware of a shortage of training grounds in particular grounds that were lit at nighttime.  

Dot campaigned for the local reserve, Clarke Reserve, to be transformed into a netball training ground for the players of the local area to utilise.  She was successful and went on to appeal to the local council for lights at that ground for the older players to utilise.  Bankstown Council Alderman worked hand in hand with Dot on many projects over the years to build the area into the netball hub that it is today. 

As President of South Bankstown for 50 plus years Dot fostered the game and championed participation for children from all walks of life, no matter their circumstance. During these years she attended many coaching courses and always encouraged her club members to do the same.  She encouraged many young girls and boys to strive to be the best netballers players and umpires they could be.  Dot coached more than 35 A-Grade South Bankstown teams. The Club was very successful being Premiers in many of the A grade age groups which lead to the prestigious award of Club Champion in Bankstown on many occasions.   The Club also won competitions such as the Bankstown Gift & The prestigious Coca Cola Competition held for all 15-year A grade premiers in the State of NSW.  The Club always upheld its motto “For Sport For Good’.  Dot’s fundraising activities were constant with funds going towards coaching, playing & umpiring clinics which were encouraged by the President.  


Fundraising activities included –

·         Lamington drives

·         Collection of aluminium cans

·         Games nights

·         Trivia functions

·         Raffles

·         Bunnings Barbeques

·         Krispy Crème Drives

South Bankstown also encouraged their players under the guidance of the Club Executive to help with voluntary work such as –

·         Salvation Army Door Knock Appeal

·         Special event bucket collections at the Saturday competition days for a charity of Association’s choice

Whilst president of South Bankstown Netball Club Dot encouraged above all good sportsmanship and social justice awareness.  Her ability to coach the strategic game of netball whilst championing social justice and developing skills to prepare her players for adult life on and off the field is immeasurable. 

Dot’s Presidency travelled to many areas prompting a change of name for the Club from South Bankstown to Souths.  Souths had teams competing in Bankstown City, Liverpool City and Gosford City Netball Associations.


St Therese School Netball (1961- 1983)

During these years Dot’s 6 daughters attended St Therese Primary School.  Dot volunteered to coach the school netball team and travelled to other catholic schools for weekly competitions.  Dot’s involvement would see St Therese become extremely successful.  Several of those players would join Dot’s South Bankstown Club and go on to represent New South Wales as young woman. 

Bankstown City Netball Association (1971-1999)

As Dot’s success grew in the local competition it was not long before she began coaching representative teams for Bankstown City Netball Association. 

Dot went on to coach 33 Bankstown Representative teams with 12 State Age Champions and all other teams finishing within the top 5 of the State.  

Dot holds the record for the highest number of State Age Championships won for Bankstown City to date.  

Further recognition saw her elected as Bankstown City coaching co-ordinator for many years.  Dot passed her knowledge to many extremely successful coaches including her daughters, two of whom went on to win 15 NSW State Age Championships between them, many of those with Dot assisting.  

Dot mentored all coaches from grass roots level to championship level.  She was giving of her knowledge and time.  Of note are Dot’s trips to Young Netball Association, a country district that would see Dot visit on several occasions with her daughters and volunteer players to hold coaching clinics, at no charge to the Young Association.  

For her service Dot was awarded Life Membership of Bankstown City Netball Association in 1982.  Dot presently age 88 still promotes the game and was recently seen around the courts at the NSW State Age Championship held in June this year after attended the official opening ceremony as a dignitary.

Liverpool City Netball Association (2000-2011)

Coaching Co-ordinator – Educating coaches & players in the skills, techniques & sportsmanship of netball.

During Dot’s years at Liverpool, she saw a huge gap in the availability of netball to all due to the socio economic diversity of the area. Dot would go on to make Souths Club available to all and would fundraise more than ever to assist the underprivileged of this area. 

Whilst at Liverpool City Netball Dot assisted her daughter Donna in winning the U/14 State Age Title.  This would be the first win for Liverpool City in 33 years.  This win spurred Liverpool City on to further great achievements.  However, Dot’s major achievement at Liverpool was her ability to reach out to people who had never played before, providing transport, uniforms and care to teenagers who could not have played the game only for her generous and caring spirit driven by her belief in the ethos of the Club “For Sport For Good”. 



St Therese School

·         Coaching netball

·         Cleaning of the primary school under the guidance of the Sisters’ of St Josephs.

·         Member of fundraising committee responsible for organising:

Annual School Fetes

Lamington Drives


Knitting Competitions for school children

St Therese Catholic Church

·         Member of the Altar Society – This group cleaned the altar & sacristy as well as provide & arrange flowers on a roster basis

·         Organiser for the Widows & Widowers gathering – This allowed all the members of the local parish to socialise together for a special mass blessing, morning tea & companionship 

·         Assisting and planning social events for primary children

·         Member of the local Rosary Group – A rosary is held in the family home on a weekly roster basis 

·         Fundraising –including lamington drives, pie drives and delivery of local telephone books

Alzheimer’s Group

Dot volunteered at local meetings to assist with entertainment for clients and carers alike.  She also prepared meals and travelled with the group as a carer on many trips including overnight trips.  

Mary McKillop Associates

Dot organises regular prayer and group meetings.  She assists with transport to prayer group meetings and masses associated with the main body of Mary McKillop Foundation & Associates. She assists with all fundraising events and it is front and centre at the annual Bunnings BBQ event where it is well documented that Dot is one of the most experienced Bunnings BBQ organisers around. 


Biggest Morning Tea

This event has been organised by Dot & her family.  The planning is extensive with meetings to organise a flyer invitation to local residents, a letter for raffle donations distributed to local businesses & clubs, equipment for the day, food cooked and donated by the family along with allocation of jobs on the day.  The event has been held at the family home with a garden party setting in the front yard as well as indoor setting for others.  A white elephant stall is also manned by family for the purchase of homemade gifts, second hand books and plants.  

To date the family have raised: 

2018     $3,010

2019     $3,020

2020 – Cancelled due to covid

2021     Raised $3,105


Meals On Wheels

Dot is a volunteer for Meals on Wheels.  She began assisting on a casual basis when needed.  Dot’s caring and nurturing nature was never more apparent than during the recent Covid 19 lockdown which saw many volunteers not able to assist.  At age 87 Dot stepped up and became a regular “runner” for Meals On Wheels until a guideline with age restriction was put in place and Dot was precluded from service. 

Community Ambassador for Elderly

Dot is the ultimate motivator who encourages exercise for the elderly through education surrounding available activities on offer, and to follow, by offering transport to those in need.  Dot holds firm that if “you don’t use it you’ll lose it”.  At present she transports four other elderly ladies to and from exercise classes every Friday.  She also organises weekly luncheons, again providing transport to those who can no longer drive. 



At 88 years of age Dot’s drive, enthusiasm, motivational skills, and volunteer work continues. 

She is currently volunteering for:

·         The Biggest Morning Tea

·         Meals on Wheels

·         Community Ambassador

·         St Therese Catholic Church

·         Mary MacKillop Associates

·         Ambassador for Bankstown City Netball Association


Personal Care

Over the years Dot has been a caregiver for many family members including two grandchildren who were born with chronic illnesses.  Dot was the glue that held the families together during these times of hardship. 

Dot also cared for her sister and her mother providing 24-hour care for them in her home during their end of life.  Dot’s sister would live with the family for several months, completely incapacitated.  Dot’s compassion and strength would never be more apparent. 

She has also cared for several other family members providing practical assistance whilst they battled terminal illnesses and then supporting them during end of life.  

Dot just simply does it.  No bells and whistles, no self-promotion.  A generosity of spirit in everything that she has chosen to be a part of during her life.  Selfless, courageous, and driven for the greater good she is an inspiration to all that know and love her. 



Special volunteers award in 1996 for outstanding work in the Bankstown Municipality by Mayor Kevin Hill

2001 awarded an International Year of the Volunteer Award

2001 Honoured at the Peoplescope Federation Celebrations at Parliament House, Canberra 

During the 1970’s and 1980’s Dot was invited to numerous functions at the Bankstown Council Chambers in recognition of her volunteer work in the local community. 

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