100 Year Centenary (1922 - 2022)
The Mt Lawley Tennis Club was formed in December 1922 following permission being granted by the Perth Roads Board to build five courts in Queens Crescent Mt Lawley next to the bowling green.
Subscriptions were £2/2/0 for men and £1/10/0 for ladies and the groundsman was paid £5 per week. A wooden pavilion was erected by the Road Board in March 1925 and served a membership of 50 men and 50 ladies.
In 1926 another 6 courts were built (5 doubles and one singles) and membership increased to 150. The club held the 1929 Centenary Suburban Tournament which formed part of the official State Centenary Celebrations.
In December 1936 a new pavilion was opened by John Orr Esq Chairman of the Perth Road Board, the architects were Powell, Cameron & Chisholm and the builders were Henley Builders. The building still stands and forms part of the Mt Lawley Bowling Club clubrooms.
A Mr J Scadden, was one of the early Presidents, he later became the Premier of the State. Another prominent member was Supreme Court Judge James Walker; at one time he was the President of the WA Lawn Tennis Association which is now Tennis West. In 1904 he had the inaugural honour of being the first Rhodes Scholar; he was also a Life Member of this club.
Following some good work by the then President, Norm Wasley the club moved to its present location, then known as Mt Ingle, and new clubrooms costing £15,000 were built on the corner of Central Ave and Hamer parade and opened in 1958. Norm Wasley was WA’s Mr Tennis for many years, a long-term President of Tennis West and a life member of that organisation and this club.
At the time of the move club membership was 210, the change proved very positive as in February 1962 the membership reached 500.
The club continued to function well for the rest of the 60’s and the 70’s conducting many of the major state tournaments and assisted in the development of some of the State’s leading players at the time including Dean Williams and Alan Gooch.
The next major changes occurred in the 80’s when 4 grass courts were converted to synthetic grass and yes believe it or not new clubrooms were built. The clubrooms built in 1958 were deemed to be inadequate and new clubrooms were officially opened in October 1985. Further extensions and changes were made in the mid 90’s.
In 2005 following a review by the club and the City of Stirling it was decided that the clubrooms built in 1958 would be demolished and the area turned into a park. This work was completed in December 2006. The City of Stirling agreed to name the park, Gooch Park in recognition of the contribution made to the Club over many years by Life Members Doug and Ada and their son Alan.
In 2020 with great support from the City of Stirling the clubrooms were extensively renovated and modernised.
The club proudly has 5 life members of Tennis West in Justice James Walker (1955), Brian Morrell (1967), Norm Wasley (1971), Helen Waters (1983) all are deceased. Our most recent life member is Wayne Firns (2019). Along with Wayne Firns, Justice James Walker and Norm Wasley they have all served as past Presidents of Tennis West.
Some prominent WA tennis identities including Alan Hicks, Max Bonner, Bruce and Margaret Robinson, Alan Gooch and Dean Williams have at one time or other been club members.
Over recent years the club has hosted or co-hosted events such as: World Seniors Championships, Australian Seniors Championships, Country Week, State Closed Championships and more recently the WA State Grass Court Championships held in December each year.
In 2006 the club was the Tennis West Club of the Year, a great acknowledgement of the work put in by the hardworking directors with the support of the members.
In 2012 a major upgrade of court facilities was undertaken. The 4 synthetic courts and 6 grass courts were converted to acrylic hardcourts with high quality lighting. Better access to the courts with laneways and viewing areas was provided. A new children’s playground was also built. The upgrade to the hardcourts meant the club could offer more night tennis and court hire for its members and visitors.
In recent years club members and coaches have proudly been recognised for their contribution to tennis with life members Wayne Firns and Les Peirce awarded the prestigious WA Tennis Volunteer of the Year in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Club member Moira Durkin in 2014 won the Most Outstanding 35+ Tennis Senior award for WA and was also a finalist in the national awards that year. In 2017 club coach Rhys McDougall was the WA Tennis Coach of the Year.
In 2017 the club tasted success in the annual City of Stirling Tournament, a high-grade inter-club competition between all clubs in the City of Stirling, Mt Lawley winning the tournament for the first time in over 45 years.
The club continues to produce outstanding young players via our junior programs. Recently our junior members have represented our state in the Pizzey and Bruce Cup. And our senior elite players in the Men’s WA State League and the Australian Tennis League (ATL). In June 2022 Jake Dembo qualified to play at Wimbledon in a boys 14s competition. He was accompanied by our club coach in Rhys McDougall. Jake is ranked No 1 in Australia for his age.
In 2022 the Club celebrated its 100th year of tennis in the local community. As part of the celebrations members and friends enjoyed a gala Centennial Ball on 14th October. A compilation of past and contemporary photos was developed to highlight the Club’s rich history.
The Club also digitised its Honour Boards recording the names of Executive Members, Life Members and Club Champions over the past 100 years.