by DAVID BELL
LEEDERVILLE Tennis Club is five years away from notching up a century and is gearing up with an open day on October 13.
Back in January 1924 keen tennis players approached Perth city council looking for land near Lake Monger.
They were riding on the back of a tennis boom.
A June 1924 article in The West Australian noted: “The game continues to increase in popularity, both in the metropolitan area and country districts. In many of the country towns tennis has become the most popular pastime, and great interest is aroused by the week-end matches between players from different centres. In the metropolitan area several new clubs have been formed with a full membership before the courts have been ready to play on.”
The article said Leederville Tennis Club had secured a lease “for a term of three years,” but the club ended up sticking around for a few more sets.
It’s still run by volunteers, some having been there more than half of its long history.
Pam Clarke recalls the suburb was very different when she started playing more than 50 years ago.
“I began tennis coaching lessons at Leederville Tennis Club when I was about eight years old,” she said.
Val Bandy was the coach at that time and there was a very large number of juniors learning their skills.
“I am still a member and can admit to my name being on the 50-year member board.
“In these early days it was very peaceful as there was no freeway, so no noisy traffic and the lawn stretched uninterrupted down to Lake Monger. We could easily call the score from one end of the court to the other and be heard.
“When I was old enough – around 12 – I joined the club. There was a huge number of members of all ages and you could only play every second set on social tennis days. There was an old timber club house and I can remember many a social evening enjoyed there.
“There is still a group of us oldies from back then who play Thursday morning and Saturday afternoon. Some of our members in the past have kept playing into their 90s and that’s what I aim to do!”
All are welcome at the Sunday October 13 open day for a sausage sizzle, and there’ll be social games, a bit of coaching and racquets available for a free hit. It runs 11am to 2pm at the club on Bourke Street, near the Britannia Reserve end.