Canberra football stalwart and Majura FC legend Rhonda Parkin was recognised at the 2018 ACT Women’s Awards this week, inducted into the ACT Women’s Honour Roll.
Rhonda has long been at the forefront of helping shift the Canberra football community towards becoming a more inclusive environment, having formed the first ever Girl’s only team at Majura, and has continually helped promote Women’s football in the region.
Rhonda’s first involvement in Football came in 1985 when she joined Majura, then just a small club in the heart of Canberra.
“We joined Majura in 1985. The club was 200 strong, and it was very male dominated,” she said.
“It wasn’t until about 1990 when I took on the very first Girls team in Majura. In those days, Wanniassa and Warramanga used to play a couple of girls teams between themselves and they invited us into that. So we had those three girls teams.”
After that small step, Rhonda began to push Female Football to the masses, beginning with a lunchtime competition at schools, and taking players into shopping centres and other public areas to demonstrate that Girls could in fact play football as well.
“It just grew,” Rhonda said.
“We more or less doubled Majura’s registrations in two years, and that was through females.
“From there I started a PeeWee program from U/3’s to U/6’s and we had 300 players in that group for around 18 years.”
“I was the only adult, it was run by our teenage players, who were handpicked for how involved they had to be. It was very popular and lead to Majura’s growing in size, the biggest we got over those years was up to 1300 children.”
After serving as Vice-President for 16 years, Rhonda now bides her time as the Canteen Manager on weekends, a role that has made her famous thanks to her delicious curries and other canteen items, having changed the makeup of the menu since taking over.
“Basically I came in to the Canteen, and I am very fortunate there is a man who is a life member, who still comes in and picks up the bread on a Saturday and helps out all morning.
I walked in and said Pies and Sausage Rolls are so boring. So he and I changed it.”
It was a new thing to try, and it has worked, but I’m gobsmacked by the amount of kids who don’t get the Pies and Sausage rolls; they love their curries and their soups.
“There’s a photo of this 18-month old boy on our Facebook, Paddy, who would sit outside the canteen with his curry on every day of the season while his brother played.
“This year, he comes to the canteen on the final day of the trials, and says ‘Hello Rhonda, I want a curry.”
“I have been having your curries all of my life,’ he said.
And I asked him how old he is, and he said, “three!”
And it’s stuff like that, that is what makes it worth it for me!”