Prior to 1960, no formal program existed for the training of calisthenic adjudicators. In the early years, Adjudicators were selected individuals who had experience in calisthenics, both as a competitor and as a coach. Others were selected because they were experienced in some related fields, for example, Stage Dancing or Ballet. These Adjudicators adopted their own form of assessment, and essentially gained their adjudication knowledge and skills ‘on the job’.
This informal adjudicator selection and ad hoc training arrangement continued until 1960. At this stage, a group of coaches, met at the Melbourne home of Mrs Vera Binstead to discuss adjudicating. An outcome of this meeting was the formation of a sub committee of the Victorian Calisthenic Teachers’ Association (VCTA). In effect this sub committee was the beginning of the Australian Society of Calisthenic Adjudicators.
In the early 1960’s, the Victorian Calisthenic Teachers’ Association trialled panel adjudication at their competitions. The panel system provided a training ground for new adjudicators who were guided by the more experienced panel members. As the adjudicator group increased in numbers, their meetings became more formal and resulted in the development of the first Constitution for the Australian Society of Calisthenic Adjudicators (commonly referred to as ASCA) The adoption of this Constitution in 1974 saw the group become a separate entity from the VCTA. At this time, members were classified as either Junior, Intermediate or Senior Adjudicators according to the number of years adjudicating experience.
Similarly, South Australia’s first adjudicators were not formally trained. They too acquired their adjudication knowledge and skills from their experience in calisthenics and/or related dance and gymnastic activities. Unlike their Victorian and Western Australian colleagues, the first South Australian adjudicators remained as a relatively informal group until 1985. Meeting records reveal that during these early years, adjudicators in South Australia commenced a relationship with the Australian Society of Calisthenic Adjudicators in Victoria. Several South Australian adjudicator’s names are listed on the ASCA Victorian Roll Book between 1977-1984. This arrangement continued until 1985, when Betty Corrigan flew from Melbourne to Adelaide in order to Chair the inaugural meeting of the South Australian Sub Branch of the Australian Society of Calisthenic Adjudicators Inc. In 1984, ASCA had become an Incorporated body.
In 1980, the Calisthenic Coaches Association of Western Australia (CCAWA), decided to form an Adjudication Panel for the training of adjudicators. All qualified coaches interested in adjudication were invited to attend a practical workshop conducted in June that year. In May 1981, a committee elected by the CCAWA formed the Western Australian Adjudicator’s Panel, a sub committee of the CCAWA. Their first official meeting took place in March 1982 at the headquarters of the Calisthenic Association of Western Australia in Flynn Street, Wembley. The Panel member’s training involved engaging in workshops conducted by local and interstate coaches and adjudicators, writing for interstate adjudicators, as well as adjudicating at competitions. At this point, interstate links were forged with the Australian Society of Adjudicators, when the CAWA registered three adjudicators to join the Australian Society of Calisthenic Adjudicators based in Victoria. In March 1990, the Western Australian Adjudicators’ Panel, officially became the Australian Society of Calisthenic Adjudicators Inc (WA Branch).
From the beginning, adjudicators were conscious of the need to develop consistency in assessment of basic techniques, and much time was spent deliberating on these and other issues. When adjudicators were invited interstate, every opportunity was taken to have meetings and discuss common issues. Over the years, the adjudicating groups in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia have worked together for the advancement of adjudicating.
With the development of the Australian Calisthenic Federation (ACF), the need for developing a national group of adjudicators was recognized. The inaugural meeting of the Adjudicators’ Advisory Committee (later to be known as the Adjudicators’ Advisory Board or the AAB) was held in Melbourne in July 1989 with representatives present from Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. The meeting was convened by Mrs Brenda Green of Victoria, who had been appointed by the Australian Calisthenic Federation to be the Coordinator of this committee.
It was at this meeting that the existing ASCA Inc Constitution was amended to cover all three State Branches. Other matters tabled, included discussion of the need for SA and WA Branches to affiliate with their State Associations, Cadet training, Adjudicator Accreditation, and the profiling of adjudicators within the sport. In the committee’s report to the ACF, it was recommended that the Australian Society of Calisthenic Adjudicators Inc. be recognised as the parent body of adjudicators throughout Australia and that it become an affiliated body with the ACF. In 2002, as a result of the restructure of the ACF and a revised Constitution, adjudicators gained representation and voting rights on the ACF.
The Adjudicators’ Advisory Board has made a significant contribution to adjudicator training and education. In June 1995, the ASCA Adjudicator Accreditation Program was inducted into the National Officiating Program– the only female sport in Australia to be accepted at that time. The program has continued to meet the accreditation requirements for officials as set down by the Australian Sports Commission. In 2005 the Adjudicators’ Cadet Course and the Advanced Adjudicator Course were accredited by the ASC. As part of the Accreditation Program, a National Adjudicators’ Conference has been held every three years. The first conference was held in Melbourne in 1994, followed by Adelaide 1997, Perth 2000, Melbourne, 2003 and Adelaide in 2006.
The AAB has continued to work towards the development of Calisthenic adjudication across Australia. In 2003, the Adjudicators’ Accreditation Program: Distance Education was introduced. The commencement of this program has increased the opportunities for coaches in regional areas and in those States where no A.S.C.A Branch has been established, to access adjudicator training and education. After an extensive consultation and review process with key stakeholders, a new Adjudication Mark-up was introduced in 2005.
As new challenges arise, the AAB, in conjunction with the Australian Society of Calisthenic Adjudicators, will strive for the advancement of calisthenic adjudication across Australia. They will continue the work started many years earlier, by a group of dedicated women who had the foresight to formally bring together individuals who had a common interest in adjudicating. In doing so, they have ensured that adjudicating is an important part of the sport of calisthenics.