Queensland Rugby Union’s first female Vice President, Elizabeth (“Libby”) Nankivell grew up on the Darling Downs in Toowoomba, attending both Downlands and Fairholme.
Her love of rugby started with her father, the late Paddy O’Brien, who was a rugby referee and referee coach known for his time with Queensland Country Rugby, Queensland Rugby Referee Associations and Australian Rugby Union.
During her university days she established Townsville women’s rugby union, roping in her friends to play with her, their motto was ‘go you good thing’. Many were first time players and still have a love of the game. She played in the women’s rugby in its inaugural appearance at the 1994 University Games winning the gold medal.
She earned her referee qualifications in North Queensland. Libby refereed and played her way in Brisbane and across the Downs winning the Women in Sport referee/umpire of the year in 1998.
She continued her love of rugby through volunteering as a junior club manager for her son’s team here in Brisbane. She is the mother of two teenage boys.
With growth of women in sport and its fanbase Libby stepped up, staying active in the sport, eventually earning a place on the Australian Schools Rugby Union and its Foundation board, giving them a positive female voice.