FROM one concrete court and a leaking roof to hosting Australia's longest-running volleyball tournament, the Warrnambool Volleyball Association has come a long way.
The association will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a function at the Arc on Saturday afternoon to coincide with the 39th annual seaside volleyball tournament.
A dinner will be held on Saturday night to celebrate the milestone and recognise the stalwarts who have helped make the association what it is today.
Two people with fond memories of their involvement with the association are life members Alan Lowe and John Beks.
They remember playing on the concrete court on Henna Street.
"It started off as a keep fit kind of thing in 1963-64 and then it evolved into a couple of teams and then we finished with a men's competition and a women's competition which had their own hierarchy," Lowe said.
The sport developed a firm following in Warrnambool and court time was in high demand.
"It developed so quickly that at one stage we were limiting ourselves to three eight-minute sets to accommodate the number of people who wanted to play," Lowe said.
The association moved from Henna Street to the Queens Road YMCA stadium in 1973. It is now based at the Arc.
At its peak, there were more than 80 teams taking to the court each week.
It has hosted national championships and international teams and welcomed Australian Institute of Sport teams to the seaside tournament throughout its 50-year history.
Warrnambool Volleyball Association past president and life member Michael Beks said the celebration was a chance to recognise those who had contributed to the sport.
"We've certainly punched above our weight," Beks said.
"We're not as strong as we used to be because we haven't had the volunteer base that we had back then.
"There's been national representatives come out of what these people started, representing Australia ."
Sixty-five teams from across Victoria and interstate have entered this weekend's tournament.
Lowe said he was excited to catch up with past members on Saturday.
Member Suzi Fish said past members were travelling from as far away as Papua New Guinea, Queensland and Perth to attend.
Up to 150 people are expected to attend the dinner and Fish urged past members to check out the afternoon function.
For more information, contact Fish on 0400 298 670.