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Tory Marcella Wicks (1900–1977)

by Marion K. Stell

This article was published:

Tory Marcella Wicks (1900-1977), hockey player and administrator, was born on 13 May 1900 at Waverley, Sydney, third daughter and middle child of Leslie Fletcher Wicks, a native-born schoolteacher, and his wife Annie Louise, née McCullagh, who came from Victoria. Named Pretoria, she was always known as Tory. Educated at Fort Street Girls' High School, she worked as a typiste and then as a secretary. She and her sisters Nancie and Mildred founded the Gumnuts Hockey Club, a team of ex-students from Fort Street, in 1920.

Selected for the New South Wales team in 1923, Wicks was chosen for the All Australia Women's Hockey Team two years later. She remained a member of both teams almost continuously until 1935. When an English touring team visited in 1927, she was Australian vice-captain. In 1930 Wicks led the Australian team as captain on its first international tour, to South Africa, Britain and Europe. A physically fit and reliable player, she used her keen sense of anticipation to direct the team from her position at full-back. Although the primary purpose of the tour was to absorb 'technique and tactics' rather than to win, Australia recorded its first international victory—against Ireland. Wicks remained in Europe until 1931 on an extended holiday as guest of her many hockey friends. Later in her life she declared: 'I know of no better passport around the world than a hockey stick'.

In 1935 Wicks captained Australia against New Zealand before retiring from international hockey. She earned (1936) the All Australia badge in hockey umpiring; with Mollie Dive and Kate Ogilvie she set and maintained high standards. Over many years she travelled to country centres to coach players and umpires. Wicks held senior administrative positions within the Sydney, New South Wales and Australian women's hockey associations. In 1953 she was elected secretary of the International Federation of Women's Hockey Associations. Her contacts proved invaluable. With her co-delegate and friend, Dr Marie Hamilton, she successfully lobbied to hold the triennial international tournament in Sydney in May 1956. For three years she worked tirelessly, often until 2 a.m., to co-ordinate the tour, turning her family home at Bondi into the hub of hockey administration.

In an era of strictly amateur sport, she raised the £30,000 necessary to host nine international teams for a fortnight's matches followed by a three-month goodwill tour of country centres and cities across Australia. Wicks was made a vice-president of the I.F.W.H.A. and a life-member of both the New South Wales and All Australia Women's Hockey associations. She never retired from promoting the game she loved. A stylish, neat woman with piercing, blue eyes, she drew companionship from those she met through hockey.

Tory Wicks died on 8 February 1977 at St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst, and was cremated with Anglican rites. The naming of the Tory Wicks Memorial Playing Field at Ryde was a tribute to her tenacity of purpose and ideals. Her sister Nancie Wicks (1898-1981) also served the game of hockey, as an international player and administrator; she was appointed M.B.E. (1977) for her services to hockey and her charity work with the Rachel Forster Hospital for Women and Children.

Select Bibliography

  • L. Hodges, A History of the New South Wales Women's Hockey Association 1908-1983 (Syd, 1984)
  • Australian Women's Weekly, 6 June 1956
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Feb 1931, 11 July 1954, 11, 20, 23 May 1956.

Additional Resources

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Citation details

Marion K. Stell, 'Wicks, Tory Marcella (1900–1977)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 13 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, (Melbourne University Press), 2002

View the front pages for Volume 16

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Wicks, Pretoria Marcella

13 May, 1900
Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


8 February, 1977 (aged 76)
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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