There are several national championships held for men and women in Australia. The championships occur every year, with hosting rights given to states in the order they were admitted to the Australian Women's Softball Council.
The championships are the Mack Gilley Shield for the open women, the Elinor McKenzie Shield for the U19 women, the Ester Deason Shield for the U16 women, the John Reid Shield for the open men, and the Nox Bailey Shield for the U19 men.
Australian women competed in their first international competition in 1949 when they played a series against New Zealand in St Kilda at the St Kilda Cricket Ground. 10,000 people watched the game live. The first international for Australian women took place in 1951 when the Australians toured New Zealand. Australia won both games against the New Zealanders. In 1960, Australia hosted its first international tournament with national teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa competing. At the tournament, Australia beat South Africa by a score of 2-
The game was first played in Australia in 1939, having been introduced to the country by Gordon Young of Canada, who at the time was the director of physical education in New South Wales. The game was introduced to a wider audience in 1942 by American nurses stationed in the country during the war. Their matches were organized by US Army Sargeant William Duvernet.
The Victorian Women's Softball Association was created two years later in 1944. The association at the time of its founding had 20 teams, 250 members and staged regular competitions. Women's participation in softball led to a decline in the number of women participating in cricket at this time. A Queensland organisation was created in 1946 by the American Mack Gilley. By 1946, the big states had their own association. In 1947, at the behest of Queensland, the first interstate championships were held in Brisbane, with the Victorians claiming victory. Only New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland competed at the innaurgal event.
There were efforts by the Australian Softball Council as early as 1950 to get softball on the Olympic programme for possible inclusion at the 1956 Summer Olympics. After the failure of getting softball on the 1956 Olympic programme, an attempt was made by Western Australians to get softball included on the schedule at the 1962 British Empire Games that were going to be held in Perth. Empire Games organisers did not support this as they allowed neither team sports, nor demonstration sports at the Games.