The history of hockey in Australia began relates back to the sports of shinty and bandy that were introduced by the British colonists during the late-19th
century. The first recorded ice hockey match took place in 1907 when a group of young Melbourne skaters issued a challenge to the crew of the American battleship Baltimore. The game drew a capacity crowd to the Melbourne Glaciarium and garnered considerable attention in the press. Though the home team was defeated by the Americans, the groundwork for the future development of the sport was developed. In 1908, games were played in the country's two indoor artificial ice skating rinks in Sydney and Melbourne. By 1909, there were four hockey clubs in the province of Victoria and two more in New South Wales. The first inter-provincial games in Australia were played that year, with Melbourne (Victoria) defeating Sydney (New South Wales) two-games-to one. This early chapter in Australian hockey history came to a close with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. It would be many years before the game was played again.
Melbourne player John Goodhall established the Cup bearing his name in 1921. This went on to become Australia's pre-eminent interstate championship trophy. New South Wales and Victoria dominated the trophy for decades until Queensland's victory in 1977. The popularity of this competition spawned the Brown Trophy under-20 championship and the Tange Trophy for juniors under the age of sixteen. A few well known players emerged from Australia such as Jim Brown, who played with Britain's Grosvenor House Canadians in the 1920's and Ken Kennedy who starred with the Birmingham Maple Leafs of the British League the following decade. Australian born Thomas Dunderdale moved to Canada where he starred in the NHA, PCHA and WCHL. In 1974 he became the first person born in Australia to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Australia joined the International Ice Hockey Federation in 1950, though the Australian Ice Hockey Federation was not founded until 1954. The popularity of the game was very localized during the late '50s and early '60s due to the shortage of rinks in the country. The world caught its first glimpse of the Australian National Team when it competed at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics. The novelty of their participation attracted much interest. The Aussies showed their inexperience by losing all six of their preliminary and consolation round matches by an aggregate score of 88-10. Two years later at the "B" Pool tournament they defeated Denmark but lost badly to Japan Austria and France. The national side did not compete again for another ten years. Australia continued to experience difficulties at the "C" Pool World Championships in 1974 and 1979. A source of pride for the Australian hockey program occurred in 1989 when Sydney hosted the "C" Pool tournament. Unfortunately the hosts finished at the bottom of the standings.
The dismal results of the National Team had prompted officials to appoint Australia's first ever National Coaching Director in 1980. An amateur system similar in structure to that in Canada was installed to encourage greater participation among young Australians. By the 1980's, approximately 20 rinks were built stretching from Western Australia to Tasmania. The most state-of-the-art facility was the Macquerie Rink in Sydney-the only one with Olympic sized dimensions. The new National Ice Hockey League staged its inaugural season in 1980 with the Sydney All-Stars emerging as the champions ahead of the Ringwood Rangers from Victoria. The Super League began in 1982 with a limit of five import players per team. Women's Hockey also began to flourish with several clubs established in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.