VIDEO: Rod Laver memorabilia to find permanent Rocky home
AN IMAGE of Rockhampton's own Rod 'The Rocket' Laver stretching out to deliver a serve looks down at you from the wall.
The racquet the tennis champion used to win countless tournaments, probably still stained with sweat, sits in a glass case before your very eyes.
Light glints off the trophy he kissed and held above his head after winning a grand slam. You can almost hear the roar of the crowd around you.
That scene could soon be a reality if Rockhampton Regional Council's plan to extend the Rockhampton Art Gallery to include a permanent Rod Laver exhibition goes ahead - a testament to the town he honed his tennis skills in.
Mayor Margaret Strelow yesterday unveiled a collection of priceless Rod Laver memorabilia including 12 trophies, a racquet, posters and original photographs, a silver ashtray from the 1968 Wimbledon Men's Open Singles, a silver dish from 1959 and an 1877-1977 Wimbledon commemorative coin set.
Cr Strelow said Laver sent his memorabilia to Rockhampton City Council in 2007 and now was the time to bring the collection together to form an exhibition recognising his achievements.
"Before I stepped down as mayor of Rockhampton City in 2007, I wrote to Rod, having heard on the grapevine that he was going through his ephemera, and we were able to secure some great pieces from his amazing career," Cr Strelow said. "My ambition is to have a permanent display of Rod Laver memorabilia and I would envisage this would be in the precinct on Quay St."
Cr Strelow acknowledged the new home for Laver's exhibition would need support from the new council, and the collection was one the people of Rocky and visitors alike would appreciate seeing on display.
"It very important that we recognise that Rod's fame was our fame as well, and we pay appropriate deference to a great Rockhampton man," she said. Laver recently received the highest honour in the 2016 Australia Day honours list, being appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).