An Extended History of Bareena Park Tennis club
On 12th April, 1954 a meeting was held at the Congregational Sunday School Hall in Woodland St for the purpose of forming a tennis club to take over the proposed courts on the Parkes St Reserve, the meeting being sponsored by the Balgowlah Heights Progress Association. Eighty-one people were present. It was resolved that a tennis club be formed forthwith and provisional office bearers be appointed to carry on negotiations with the Manly Council and to consider ways and means to prepare a draft constitution.
It was resolved that the following provisional office bearers be appointed:
President: Mr. E. Sheldon
Vice-President: Mr. A Harper
Secretary: Mr. Harvey McDonald
Assist. Secretary: Mrs Selman
Treasurer: Mr R.Thomson
and a committee of five Mrs.U.Munro, Mr Watson, J. Stanford, Mr Washington and Mr.L.Pogson.
It was also resolved that the name of the club be Bareena Park Tennis Club.
The following night the club’s office bearers held their first meeting at the home of Mr Sheldon. This was in Gordon St. and is currently the home of Dorothy Ashton, Carolyn Gibbons’s mum. It was agreed that the present council be pressed to proceed with 2 courts only, maybe with the chance of increasing the number within the year.
On 26th April a draft constitution was tabled by Mr Washington which was discussed in detail and accepted as being suitable for BPTC. By October 1954, 3 courts had been roughly leveled. This had followed much discussion by the committee and council as to the cost and location of the courts. The club had been advised that settlement of filling would have taken place by the end of the year.
But it wasn’t until July 1956, that clubhouse plans with specifications were prepared. Things seemed to slow down though with the construction of the courts still on hold. Council had to be reminded that ratepayers in the area had been waiting for them to provide recreational amenities for the district. Council explained that the delay was due to lack of funds! The committee felt the ratepayers weren’t being given a “square deal’ for their children as the only amenities in the area were the swings at the top of Woodland St. It was suggested that the committee tread gently and be persuasive with the Council.
Gradually due to persistent pressure from the committee, work started again on the courts. It was decided that 8 truckloads of ashes were needed for better drainage on the site prior to spreading of the loam.
By early stages of the next year (1957) tenders were being called for the construction of the clubhouse. The initial tender costs were considered too high and the clubhouse was finally constructed by Council labour at below tender prices.
It wasn’t until July (1957) that the final stages were being reached for the grand opening of the club. Many preparations still had to be attended to, including erections of fences, drainage, watering systems, nets, fittings, winders, line making machines, sewerage connection etc. The club was abuzz with excitement!!
A date was finally set for the opening by the Mayor, Ald. Paine, on 28th September 1957. Dunlop agreed to stage exhibition matches and 6 ball boys were approached to do the honours for a group of high standard players. A last minute working bee was organized and the opening of Bareena Park Tennis Club courts and clubhouse occurred with great success and before an eagerly awaiting community and many invited dignitaries.
Initial membership of the club was 184: Senior 84, Junior 30 and Schoolchildren 74. Work was underway by the committee to attract new members which wasn’t really a problem in a district growing in numbers so rapidly. Strict dress rules applied, that being basic white with proper tennis shoes. Coloured cardigans and pullovers were considered permissible.
After a short search the committee decided on a suitable coach and George Haines was appointed the position as coach for the school child members. Mr Haines was also in charge of court maintenance which involved sweeping lines and courts, court watering and rolling which I’m sure many longtime members can remember doing at some stage!
The first club championships were held at the club in June 1958 after an extended period of play in the elimination rounds. It was considered a great success
But work was not completed on the club’s surrounds, much had to be done with drainage and landscaping and a local builder Mr Roseby was approached and agreed to carry out improvements around the clubhouse; steps at the front were constructed, retaining walls and terraces. Many a working bee was organized to get things done. It seems the club was never short of willing workers.
It wasn’t long before the club was approaching the council regarding the addition of 2 extra courts on the western side of the clubhouse, to accommodate the rapidly increasing membership, particularly junior and school children. An extension of the clubhouse was also considered necessary, to hold social functions with the “maximum of convenience”.
So in 1964 the main Clubroom was added and in 1969 two courts and surrounds were under way the club having been informed by the Minister for Lands that “no objection would be raised to the proposal to lease an addition area to the club for the purpose of constructing two additional tennis courts”.
It was decided that a new surface be used instead of loam, that being an all weather, all climate surface called “Laycold”. The coach of the time, former Australian singles champion, Dinny Pails was totally approving of this surface. These courts were opened April 1970.
The club continued to grow to the club you see today, still providing a recreational facility to the families in the district, with a high standard of coaching being secured by the club over the years.
It is a club unique in it’s character in that it is a family club and it’s location surpasses any other on the peninsula.
Thank you to all those who have played a part in the history of this club, whether it be official or unofficial and let us ensure that we keep the club in the character that we know it, a Family Club.