Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 49, September 2005

Situated at Te Aroha Road, Paeroa

By Norm McMillan

My first visit to the Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club at Te Aroha Road was on the Grand Opening Day of the Courts on 1 December 1923. I was one month old, as was my twin brother, Rex. He was five minutes older than me!

The three grass courts and a small pavilion were laid down and built by voluntary labour, organised by the Thorp brothers, Hal and Fielden.

The Club commenced the season with forty playing members.

Tennis was formerly played on the Paeroa Domain, sharing the ground with croquet and bowls, from the early 1900s.

Because of the deterioration of the tennis courts, improvements or change of venue was necessary for survival. Opening day of the new courts attracted two hundred members and visitors to the courts, which were declared open by the Mayor and Patron, W Marshall. Part of the celebrations included a dance in the evening, where men were permitted to wear flannels and dispense with their coats, whilst dancing etiquette was strict in those 1923 days. At the celebrations, Hal and Fielden Thorp, together with R B Penlington (Secretary/Treasurer) were made Life Members.

At the 1923/24 Annual General Meeting, the following officers were elected:

Patron

W L Marshall

President

R B Miller

Vice President

Courtenay Kenney

Club Captain

C W Wells

Secretary/Treasurer

R B Penlington

Committee

Ms L Thorp, I Taylor, I DeCastro

 

Messrs H Thorp, C N O'Neill, I J Towers, A Steedman, W H Blakeway

Subscriptions

Ladies £1.1.0, Men £2.2.0

 

Girls (17 - 20) 15/-, Boys 30/-

Minimum age 15 years

 

As the years rolled by, four new grass courts were laid, as were four more in the late 1940s, making a total of eleven grass courts, the most available in the Thames Valley and possibly Waikato, at that time.

On the playing field, the first recorded Champions were in 1928, men, A M Spooner, ladies, Miss V Shand. The most dominant men's champion was A C E Williams (called Friday), who won fourteen times from 1938 - 1964. He was so skilled, he was runner-up in the final of the Auckland Tennis Championships in the late 1940s.

Numerous winners were:

Men

 

Ladies

 

A C C Williams

14

Mrs V Swann (nee Shand)

11

Cliff Pett

7

Miss Mary Wano

10

Steven Pett

5

Mrs Raewyn Rasmussen

9

George Ross

5

Mrs Sharlene Linn

8

Norm McMillan

4

Mrs Viv Speechlay

5

Welton Browne

4

Mrs Vera McMillan

4

Brett Van Hellemond

4

Miss Muriel Taylor

3

Ali Schmidt

3

Mrs Anne Nield

3

Max Hume

3

Mrs Alison Reilly 3

3

Kevin Pett

3

Mrs Rita Bedford

3

The Pett family of Cliff (7) and three sons, Steven (5), Kevin (3) and Ross (1), between them, claimed sixteen singles titles, which is a worthy achievement.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS

After the War, tennis became a popular game. Membership increased. Facilities were stretched.

Under the guidance of Ernie Lee (Mayor), and voluntary labour, a pavilion was built to provide comfortable amenities for the members. In 1961 the new game of the Nation was Squash Rackets.

One squash court was built at a cost of £1876.7.9 by contractor, Trevor Marshall at a rate of 10/- per hour, plus voluntary labour.

A second squash court was built later at a cost of £1384.5.3. Further additions to the Club House between 1970 and 1993 cost $59,402.

In 1989 two Astroturf courts replaced two grass courts at a cost of $26,810, financed by grants, bank overdraft and a debenture issue to members for $6,450. In year 2000, five grass courts were replaced by hard courts, all floodlit, for a cost of $103,500, financed partly by grants of $60,000 from Hauraki District Council, Waikato Community Trust and LOTTO.

Since 1961, when squash commenced, the leading championship winners are:

Men

 

Ladies

 

Trevor Davies

9

Kay Neil

8

Geoff Bagge

7

Alison Reilly

4

Jason Browne

5

Flo Neild

4

Harry Whyte

4

Eunice Davies

3

Ray Flooks

3

Sharlene Linn

3

Kevin Luckie

3

Frances Morrow

3

Robbie Cumming

3

   

50TH JUBILEE

On Saturday, 16 February 1974, one hundred and twenty former members and visitors enjoyed a one-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Club, by way of a social luncheon, photos and tournament play. Four original members were able to attend. They were Life Members Hal Thorp and Fielden Thorp, plus Stan Hedge and Mrs Evaleen McMillan.

The Paeroa Mayor and past member of the Club, Graeme Lee, was also in attendance.

CHANGE OF NAME

The name of the club was officially changed and registered on the 30th day of September 1981 to Paeroa Lawn Tennis and Squash Rackets Club Inc.

There is no doubt that Sports Clubs today have to provide top facilities and entertainment to maintain and increase their membership. The Paeroa Club certainly has the facilities to do this.

The Club now is experiencing a drop in membership. The Club now has to improve its Committee management and social activity to do this.

The members of the Club on Opening Day, 1923, would surely look in awe at the improvements since that date. The members of the Paeroa Club in 2005 and later, should be humble and grateful for the efforts of the Thorp brothers and members of 1923.

50TH JUBILEE PHOTOGRAPHS

Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club Presidents

PAEROA LAWN TENNIS CLUB 50TH JUBILEE, CLUB PRESIDENTS

Back Row: Trevor Price, David Thwaites, Hal Thorp, Ted Meyer

Second Row: Graeme Roigard, Cliff Pett, Wattie Fleming, G B Dixon, Neil Clarke, Stan Hedge, Norm McMillan

Front Row: Ross Harris, Ernie Lee, Gilbert Taylor, Fielden Thorp, Jack Hill, Hugh Walker

History of Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 49, September 2005
Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club Presidents
Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club Life Members

PAEROA LAWN TENNIS CLUB 50TH JUBILEE LIFE MEMBERS

Fielden Thorp, Ernest Lee, Norman McMillan, Hal Thorp

History of Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 49, September 2005
Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club Life Members
Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club Ladies Champions

PAEROA LAWN TENNIS CLUB 50TH JUBILEE LADIES CHAMPIONS

Back Row: Ann Nield, Vera McMillan, A Masters, Viv Swann, Muriel Taylor, Colleen Shaw, Marion Ryde

Sitting: Grace Morran, Jo Boyle, Rita Bedford, Betty Berry, Alison Young

History of Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 49, September 2005
Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club Ladies Champions
Paeroa Lawn Tennis Clubm Mens Champions

PAEROA LAWN TENNIS CLUB 50TH JUBILEE MENS CHAMPIONS

Standing: Hal Thorp, Ali Schmidt, Norm McMillan, Ted Meyer, Trev Price

Sitting: Cliff Pett, Ross Harris, A A Ruston, Gilbert Taylor, Neil Clarke

History of Paeroa Lawn Tennis Club
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 49, September 2005
Paeroa Lawn Tennis Clubm Mens Champions