SEACLIFF TENNIS CLUB TURNS 100 YEARS
Seacliff Tennis Club is looking to re-connect with past players and members to welcome them to the 2021 centenary celebrations.
In 1921, a representation was made from a group of tennis enthusiasts to Council for a parcel of land in the SE corner of Maitland Square to be released for the purpose of playing tennis. The Council granted this request and a ten-year lease, with rent set at 10 shillings p.a. was apparently agreed to. This was the formation of the ‘Seacliff Tennis Club’. Currently, this site is the location of the Seacliff Community Kindergarten (corner of Kauri Parade and Maitland Street).
Two courts and facilities were built and in the early years of the club, games were largely social tennis by nature. A community event was held on 8 November 1924 to celebrate the commencement of club involvement in competition tennis.
In the early 1920s, Thomas Freebairn esquire subdivided land creating 77 building sites (known as Seacombe Park – now Seacliff Park) near Seacombe House, which was his home. This was on the east side of Brighton Road and he transferred one allotment (lot 78) in Aboyne Avenue to Council as a reserve for recreational use. Council planned for new local sporting developments to be located at this site.
Seacliff Tennis Club membership grew and in 1925 and early 1926, the Club held well attended community dances in the Kiosk Hall and raised money for 4 new courts at the Council supported site at Aboyne Avenue. In October 1926 another community dance was held at the Hall to celebrate the development of the new courts. The Hall was boldly decorated in the club colours, blue and gold.
No doubt buoyed by the prospect of four new courts at the Seacliff Reserve location, in October 1925 they pursued and became part of the inaugural ‘Holdfast Lawn Tennis Club Association’ – now Glenelg Districts Tennis Association.
In the 20s and 30s the club hosted very popular annual Easter Tournaments.
A larger clubhouse was built in 1956, organised by the then Secretary Ron Soar (at the time a policeman stationed at Seacliff). Aboyne Avenue tennis courts remained the principal site for the Club until 1991. Other sports (planned bowling and croquet) did not locate on the site and a water gravity tank was built in 1975 on the remaining land.
During the late 1970s and 1980s, the Club grew rapidly and by 1990-91 season had over 300 members, requiring the Club to lease up to an additional 14 courts for its tennis activities during the summer season. Holdfast Bay Council worked with the Club and local hockey clubs to develop a plan for new facilities at Kauri Parade Reserve, on the site of the defunct Brighton City Soccer club. The new sports centre included a split level clubroom and a dual purpose hockey pitch which was convertible to 12 synthetic grass tennis courts. It was used by Hockey in the winter and Tennis in the summer. The club played its first matches on this surface during the 1991/1992 tennis season. This became the new home for summer tennis competition with Aboyne Avenue retained for winter competition and social tennis.
In 2014 a bold new plan for development of the Kauri Community Sports Centre as a consolidated site for year round community tennis, hockey and netball at Lipson Avenue, Seacliff was agreed with Council. The facility at Aboyne Avenue was sold by council and 12 quality hardcourt tennis courts with lighting built on the southern part of John Mathwin Reserve and a new 3 story facility built for the participating sports clubs, the Music Centre and community use. The site is the new home of Seacliff Tennis Club year round and the clubhouse is shared.
The Seacliff Tennis Club commenced playing on the new courts in February 2016. The new building and upgraded carpark shared by tennis, hockey, netball, the Holdfast Bay Music Centre and the Council was opened by the Minister for Sport in August 2018.
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