The name 'Matildas' was coined around this time and is now synonymous with Australian sporting culture. 

It's even more amazing that in 1999, the Matildas felt they had to pose nude in a calendar to try and garner some attention, publicity and much-needed funding on the eve of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

A former Matilda from that era, Shelley Youman, very nearly ended up in that famous calendar, but admits she is happy she didn’t.

“I nearly went in that bloody calendar,” she recalls with a laugh. “Glad I didn't, my kids would have died!

“At the time my husband said I should ask the kids first. They all said it was okay if dad was taking the photos, which was not the case so I didn't go ahead with it.

“My son was asked about it at school so I'm glad I didn't go ahead with it as it would have been awkward for them.”

Many former Matildas who took part in the calendar have since defended the move, saying it was their own choice. 

Trae McGovern won four caps for Australia but also played over 100 games at the elite level in the Northern Soccer Federation.

”20 years on and I’m happy that our female athletes do not have to use their bodies to sell their sports like a lot of both male and female Olympic athletes of the 90’s had to,” said McGovern, who was 'Miss January' in that calendar. 

“People are now appreciating the athleticism of our female athletes and that has been earned by persisting through each era where we were told we weren’t good enough, we looked too muscly, we shouldn’t be playing men’s sport.

“But we did, and we improved, generation by generation, and now we are here in 2020 and everyone has stopped talking about the Matildas who posed naked and now talk about the Matildas who are one of our most successful sports teams.”

McGovern is the Founder/ Director of The Australian Sportswoman, a website and social media platform that promotes Australian Female athletes and Sports teams.

She started this role after retiring from the Mining Industry where she was an Underground safety Adviser and Captain of the Mines Rescue squad.

McGovern happily says she has no regrets about posing for the calendar, insisting it made a statement to society that a woman could do whatever she liked with her body.

“I’ve never regretted posing naked for the calendar,” she said. “I was quite shy and insecure about my body but not because of how I felt.

“I loved having a fit strong body, I still do love feeling that way. However, people felt it their right to tell me my legs were too muscly for a girl, or I looked like a boy because I had broad shoulders.

“For me, I wanted to challenge my self esteem and somewhat rebel against the critics. Now it’s more than acceptable to look strong and fit.

“One thing is for sure, the calendar had bodies of all shapes and sizes and my kids (six and two years) love pointing at my frame on the wall and laughing at my bum.

"I wish to raise strong independent young girls who are not ashamed of their bodies.”