MILESTONE: Delwood group photo.
MILESTONE: Delwood group photo. Contributed.

Milestone dinner set for tennis club

AS they prepare to celebrate Delwood Tennis Club's 85th anniversary, members recall how a vegetable garden was sacrificed to build a tennis court in 1932.

The late Mrs Vi Tozer and her sister, the late Betty Jones (Bartlem), Dorrie Larman and the late Wally McDonald, all keen tennis enthusiasts, were cycling past a tennis court near Reaney's Crossing where a tennis match was in progress and decided to form a club themselves and find a site.

Betty persuaded her parents, Elizabeth and "Pardy” Bartlem, to level the family veggie patch and shift a big tree to make way for a court in Huet Street, Wandal.

A recruiting campaign was launched and tennis enthusiasts came from near and far with shovels and wheelbarrows and the area was cleared. Next came the foundations, the court surface and then it was fenced. Then the club had to be formed and a decision made on what to call it.

The first meeting was held at Len Smith's residence on Wandal Road, where the choice of names for the club were whittled down to Rio and Delwood (after a great racehorse of that era).

The name Delwood won the vote, much to the delight of Betty who had promoted the name.

The first rally on the court was played with wooden racquets and Nick Bartlem was one of the first players.

Delwood Tennis Club Life Member Mrs Jean Conrad says "The annual fees rose to $6 in 1946 and they have been kept at nearly the same price to this day of $5 single and $10 for a family.”

The clubhouse was erected in 1947 and while Arthur Beyes (Chairman) and Nick Bartlem (Secretary) were in office, club blazers were purchased. One blazer is still in the hands of the club to this day.

By late 1973, the club outgrew its court and it was decided to hire a court at the Tennis Association courts in the Victoria Park complex.

Mrs Conrad said "the club continues to play and maintains a reputation of playing tennis for the love of it, as well as being competitive and encouraging junior players.”

The club still runs its own championships and competes for cups and shields dating back to the early 1940s.

Delwood is also represented in the Rockhampton Tennis Association fixtures and cup competitions.

The Club will celebrate its milestone with a dinner on Saturday September 2 at 6.30pm at the North Rockhampton Bowls Club and all past and present players are invited to join in the celebrations.

Cost is $25 per person for a two course buffet dinner.

Phone Jean Conrad 4928 2736, Carol Conrad 4933 7527 or Yvonne Hertrick 4886 3259 by September 23.

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