Welcome to
St Andrews Gardiner Tennis Club

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Club History

Our Story

We've loved every minute of our journey

15 June 1920 - The Club is born

The first meeting of the Tennis Club Committee was convened under the leadership of Rev. P. L. Forster, then minister of the Gardiner Presbyterian Church, on 15 June 1920. This committee consisted of four representatives each from the Board of Management, the Sunday School Teachers, and Senior Girls’ Missionary Union and the Young Men’s Association. Their object was to arrange for construction of a tennis court on land next to the church.

It is interesting to note that the total cost of this first court was £97/2/3. The fences were erected by members of the club attending working bees. The money was raised by donations from members of the congregation. The surface of the court was earth until in September 1920 it was asphalted.

18 December 1920 - The Club is Opened

The club was officially opened on 18 December 1920, with 27 members, and the first court was declared opened by Mr Forster, who then took part in playing the first set of tennis. The membership was 97 on 30 September 1921, at the end of the financial year.

1921 - First teams entered into competition

It was as early as 1921 that the club entered the summer competitions run by the Presbyterian Churches Tennis Association (PCTA), which some of its members helped to found.

The Tennis Club joined with the Cricket Club in celebrating end-of-season activities at socials arranged by the Young Men’s Association

1923 - Life Memberships Introduced

In 1923, at the annual social, two Tennis Club members were elected to Life Membership ‑ Mr A.S. Mitchell, the first President and Mr J.E. Elliott. Life membership is an honour given to members giving outstanding service to the Club. 

1925-1926 - Additional Courts Opened

The church acquired the corner block of land fronting on to Burke and Malvern Roads in 1925, and two more courts were erected on this land, next to the original court. Again the club members did most of the work, the surface being earthen construction and asphalted later. These two courts were opened by the Mayor of Malvern on 30 June 1926.

1928-1967 Premiership Teams

Special occasions for the club include when it won the Hartley Cup for A Grade Premiers in the Presbyterian Churches Tennis Association three years in a row in those early years 1928, 1929 and 1930. There was an agreement in the PCTA that whoever won this cup three years in succession should keep it. However the club decided that the minister, Rev. John Gray, should present the Hartley Cup back to the association for perpetual competition as the A Grade Cup and that it be renamed the Gardiner Cup.

Over the succeeding years, the Gardiner Church Tennis Club again won that cup ten additional times in the years 1941, 1942, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1953, 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1967.

1936-37 - The Club Moves 

In 1936-37 the Club had to move because the stones from St. Andrew’s Church, Carlton, were deposited on the tennis courts prior to the rebuilding of these stones into the present St. Andrew’s Church. The Tennis Club found courts in Kerferd Road, Glen Iris, and leased them, paying 1s4d per member present each Saturday afternoon.

1943-1944 - The Club Disbands & Re Opens

In 1943 the Club disbanded because people had joined the armed forces and because of the difficulty in obtaining tennis balls. However, in 1944 it reopened, hiring two porous courts and two asphalt courts each Saturday afternoon from Mr Falls. Competition matches were recommended in 1946 after their suspension in 1942.

1949 - Kyarra Rd is Built & Opened

In the 1949 Annual Report, Neil Smith (Hon. Sec.) reported: ‘After a good deal of preliminary negotiations, our new courts at the rear of the houses in Kyarra Road are now under construction. Only by the generosity of many people of the congregation and the enthusiasm of club members has it been possible to proceed with the erection of four porous courts and indeed it will be a happy day when the official opening is proclaimed.’

The courts were opened by the Rev. J.E. Owen, the minister, and with his encouragement and joy of playing tennis, the club flourished with 70-80 young and not-so-young people enjoying tennis and good fellowship together.

An anonymous donor presented two umpire stands in memory of the Rev. J.E. Owen who died in 1965, to remind all who sat on them of his service to the young people in the Tennis Club.

1953 - The Club House Opened

In these early years at the present courts, there was no clubhouse and players entered the courts from Great Valley Road ‑ those with cars driving over the paddock, parking under the wattle trees at the eastern side of the courts. The entrance to the courts was changed to the western end when those who owned cars could no longer put up with the cows from the College of the Bible which grazed in the paddock, licking off the duck!

And who remembers boiling the kettle for a cup of tea in Molly Ness’s kitchen and carrying the large white teapot, milk, sugar, biscuits and crockery over the paddocks to sit under the wattle trees and partake of afternoon tea ‑ and oh! even in those days no one wanted to miss tennis and take turns to wash up the dishes.

So 5 December 1953 was a grand day when the clubhouse was opened in the presence of members and many visitors.

1955 - A Fifth Court Was Built

In this new era many young people were attracted to the club ‑ so many that a fifth court was opened in September 1955.

A junior club was formed to meet on Saturday mornings, coached first by club members.

1963-1976 - Coaching Introduced

Then in 1963 the Sporting Club Action Group of the church Session suggested that the club establish a coaching class for youngsters (10-14 years of age) with Mrs Maidie Parker supervising and coaching the young potentials and, from these young people progressing into the seniors year by year, the club took on a new impetus. .

Mrs Parker retired from coaching in August 1974 and was replaced by Mr Yeates, then Mr Fernandez in 1976 who was followed soon after by Mr P. Semmens.

1965 - Repayment of Debenture for Courts

The Tennis Club season in 1965 was highlighted by the complete repayment of all debenture money for the building of the five porous courts and the clubhouse. That task of redeeming debentures taken out in 1949 seemed immense, but over the years reductions had been made until in December 1964 the committee decided to clear the indebtedness. To celebrate this a dinner was held, at which past and present members enjoyed a lavish feast.

1920 - Club Championships Introduced

Club championships have always been a feature ‑ a ladder having been compiled in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, for members to challenge each other in singles and doubles until they reached the top. Club championships were started again in 1966, being a prelude to the summer pennant competitions. 

1961 - Bettye Evans Memorial Shield

It was in 1961 that one of our much-loved members died and her husband, Mr Claude Evans, also a member of the Club in past years, presented the Bettye Evans Memorial Shield, to be given to the lady and gentleman with the highest match averages gained in summer tennis competition. 

1964 - Freeway Fears

It was stated in the Annual Report in 1964 that ‘we take comfort from the fact that our advisors assure us that the Freeway is not likely to be upon us until such time as the courts are in need of further attention!’ Later in the report for 1966 we read ‘If the South Eastern Freeway manages to weave its way between Scotch and St. Kevin’s it will cut through our courts’. The committee had then obtained an undertaking from the Malvern Council to re-site our courts near Burke Road and the committee had started a court rebuilding fund. 

1977 - Officially St Andrews Gardiner TC

On 25 June 1977 at a Special General Meeting it was resolved to change the name to St. Andrew’s Gardiner Tennis Club.

1986 - Freeway Interruptions / Relocation

The five porous courts and clubhouse were not very attractive in July 1986, with mounds of earth towering over them. Yes, that freeway had come to us and we were relocated south of Kyarra Road with five new courts and a new clubhouse.

2015 - Clubhouse Upgrades

In April 2015 the kitchen and flooring was replaced, with the club, some very generous member donations and council contributing towards the cost.