Australia's softball history began in 1939 when Gordon Young, director of Physical Education at NSW, began to promote the game in schools and colleges. In 1942, during World War II, US army sergeant William Duvernet organised softball as a recreation for US nurses stationed in Victoria. Another American, Mack Gilley, introduced the game to Queensland in 1946. Australia's first inter-state championship was played in Brisbane in 1947 and was won by Victoria, with the second national championship held in Melbourne two years later. It was at this championship that the Australian Softball Federation was formed, with Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales becoming the founding members. Eight Australian Championships are now conducted each year - Women's, Men's, Under 23 Women and Men, Under 19 Women and Men, and Under 16 Girls and Boys. Softball has steadily grown to become a major sport in the schools program and Canterbury is proud to support the 250,000 children who play the game each year.