Our History

Formed in 1986 CVI is the peak body servicing Calisthenics in Victoria

Calisthenics

Calisthenics has its early roots in England and Europe, however the sport as we know it today came to prominence in the Victorian gold rush era. Called Physical Culture at the time, its aim was the promotion and enjoyment of physical fitness. Calisthenics was developed to provide exercises to help city dwellers keep fit. These exercises were often combined with apparatus to keep their wrists, elbows and shoulders supple.

Musical accompaniment was introduced, and enhanced performances, and it slowly became an integral part of the sport. Public classes began in the 1880’s and by 1903 the Royal South Street Society introduced calisthenics to its famous Eisteddfod in Ballarat.

Calisthenics was introduced into Victorian State Schools in the 1930s. The sport became so popular that calisthenic clubs spread rapidly throughout Australia, although mostly in Victoria and South Australia.

With a strong inter-generational membership, many of those calisthenics performers who began calisthenics during that early growth period have family who continue to be involved in the sport and who have been integral in developing the sport over time.

New clubs opened, some closed, and coaches found themselves requiring formal accreditation. Competitions grew, clubs were put into gradings and the world moved along fast.

As families changed, and both parents began working in many families, life became busy. And technology…well, technology advanced and conquered. Calisthenics, like many other sports, continued as it had been, proudly steeped in tradition.

Today, calisthenics is nationwide with national competitions being held annually in different States.

There are hundreds of calisthenic clubs across Australia, attracting over 15,000 participants.

The competition in Ballarat is still a special fixture on the calisthenics calendar for many clubs throughout Australia, with Calisthenics Victoria introducing another exciting fixture in 2017, with the Championship Senior section performing their State Titles competition at the iconic Palais Theatre in St Kilda.

In a time when the use of technology sees our children limiting their physical activity as they hunch over an iPad, calisthenics, and specifically the apparatus, continues to provide benefits to wrists, elbows and shoulders, with rods and clubs replacing the dumbells and hoops of yesteryear.

In 2017 Calisthenics Victoria embarked on a major rebranding project, aimed at helping to give calisthenics a modern presence. Respecting history, the extensively consultative project focused on giving the calisthenics community, and the broader Australian community, the answers to the following questions.

What is calisthenics? The sport with performing at our heart.

Why calisthenics? We create confident performers who enjoy taking centre stage in calisthenics, and in life.

We have, and we will always, Live to Perform.

Calisthenics Victoria Incorporated (Calisthenics Victoria)

Calisthenics Victoria was formed in 1986, is the peak body for calisthenics in Victoria and is recognised by the Victorian State Government.

Bringing together all affiliated groups, Calisthenics Victoria’s aim is to DEVELOP calisthenics, SUPPORT our community, DELIVER a modern, quality sport and INSPIRE growth.

The Victorian Calisthenic Teachers’ Association (VCTA, more recently the VCCA), formed in 1958, had been Victoria’s only Calisthenics organisation, but it represented only teachers. In 1975, another group of interested teachers, and others, created the Calisthenic Association of Victoria (CAV) as Victoria’s peak body. They were formed to apply for government funding and assistance, which was being made available to sporting groups for the first time. However, the CAV did not receive the widespread support from Victorian clubs that it need to be a fully effective body, and it was to overcome this that the VCTA and the Association of Calisthenic Adjudicators proposed a fresh approach. It was from these efforts that, in 1986, Calisthenics Victoria was formed and the CAV was dissolved.

The creation of Calisthenics Victoria was welcomed by the other state peak bodies, and work commenced at once to create Calisthenics’ first national organisation. The Australian Calisthenic Federation (ACF) was subsequently formed in 1987.

Alan Hewett was the inaugural President of Calisthenics Victoria, with Margaret Lingham the Secretary.

In 2017 the VCCA amalgamated with Calisthenics Victoria, giving the coaches greater access to resources and to support improved education and training.

Calisthenics Victoria is committed to Performing Excellence.

Calisthenics Victoria Life Members

Life Membership is an honour bestowed on a person who has given selflessly to calisthenics. We proudly share the list of names of our Life Members, each of have contributed to calisthenics and our community, over many years.

1987 Betty Bennett
Ethel Blackeby
Bill Dahl
Joy Fildes
Rod Gale
Vera Hopton
Lois Magennis
Norm Plant
1991 Bill Woodward
1994 Betty Corrigan
1995 Margaret Lingham
1996 Brenda Green
1998 Gwenda Lucas
1999 Bev Gorman
2001 Bev Gaudion
Joan Lloyd
Jeanette Schreck
2002 Wayne Jones
Jan Lavender
2003 Margaret Campbell
Trish McLeod
Joy Smith
2004 Peter Cohen
2005 Norm Pearce
2006 Judy Currie
2007 Barb Elliott
2008 Lynne Hayward
2010 Liz Hickey
Barbara Nickless
2015 Judi Baird
Julie Fox
 2016 Bronwyn Lloyd
Bev Reddie
2017 Karen Rowett