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15 February 2016
Kwinana residents and visitors have a long history of enjoying tennis.
The first Kwinana Tennis Court appears to have been hired from Mrs Wells, and was opened on the 1st of May 1948 by Mr C. Mallett, president of the Subiaco Tennis Club. It was a well attended and enjoyed event, with an entertaining match played by visiting players, a dance, games, and competitions. Mr Mallett recommended that it would be worth trying to get more tennis courts in Kwinana.
Soon after this, Mr G. Dutton, president of the Kwinana Progress Association, investigated the potential of getting two tennis courts built on land obtained from the Rockingham Road Board. Funds were raised throughout the year, usually through social events and dances held by the Association, donations, and a contribution provided by the Rockingham Road Board. Progress on the courts began quickly, with inspection of the site and ordering of materials happening in July, and the ground levelled by August. Mentions of a tennis club began to appear in local newspaper articles.
Delays caused the intended completion date of the courts to be pushed back from Christmas 1948 to Easter 1949. A busy bee was held on Sunday, 20 February 1949 to help try and speed up the completion of the work.
While the new courts were under construction, the available court was well used. A column in The South Western Advertiser newspaper often reported on the use of the court. This column went under titles such as “Kwinana Tidings”, “Kwinana Kapers”, and “Kwinana Jottings”. These reports were not on the scores of the games, but of the enjoyment of players. It was often reported that the courts were full of laughter and good nature, and people were very disappointed when bad weather prevented playing.
Finally, after much hard work and fundraising, two new tennis courts and the Kwinana Tennis Club were officially opened in January 1950, at an event attended by about 70 people. Mr Hilton, of the Corner Store, was appointed to collect fees, let the courts, and look after the nets. Mr Dutton gave a speech on the history of the courts, explaining how it had taken two years to battle for materials, and expressed appreciation for the voluntary labour provided by the community. Mr W. Hughes, chairman of the Rockingham Road Board, also gave a speech, mentioning how impressive the effort was given that Kwinana had such a small population (under 3000 people in 1950), before declaring the courts officially open. The first game on the court was played by Mr Hughes and Miss Stidworthy.
The South Western Advertiser continued to report on usage of the courts until publication ceased in 1954. Players were often reported as being satisfied with their games, the courts were well used, and there were often lots of young people playing tennis. Particular mention was given to the Stidworthy and Cattlin families, who played often and supported the courts on their holidays.
In November 1954, the Medina Tennis Club was formed as a social club for BP refinery workers. The club’s motto was “To promote social tennis within the district.” Though the club later became competitive, they continued to encourage social tennis.
The popularity of the sport saw the club quickly act on getting even more courts built in Kwinana. Again busy bees and fundraising were used to help construct the courts. In 1955, three new courts were completed located at Heald Place in Medina. On 18 April 1971, more new courts were opened in Calista by the Mayor of the time, Mr. Frank Baker, and the courts at Heald Place were transferred to the Kwinana Christian Youth Group.
In 1970, the Medina Tennis Club was renamed the Kwinana Districts Tennis Club, which it is still known by today. In the years since then new courts have been added, upgrades to lighting and landscaping completed, many talented players trained, and awards won. Much of these successes are due to the dedication and passion of the club’s players and committee members. They are also due to the community spirit of residents, and the dedicated effort they have put into fundraising and busy bees.
The club has pulled through a number of turbulent times where they considered disbanding. In February 1957 there was talk of disbanding due to lack of interest, and in 2009 they feared folding unless more new enthusiastic members joined. Despite these worries, the sport remained popular and memberships increased, allowing the club to continue. This has let the club celebrate numerous milestones, such as their 25th anniversary in 1979, and their 60th anniversary in 2014.
Although it has had ups and downs, the Kwinana Districts Tennis Club remains today and is now one of more than 50 local sporting, activity, and hobby clubs in Kwinana.