Waihi Panorama photograph (1909-10) and an earlier one of c.1906 show what appears to be a single court at the north west corner of the present courts. Many photographs of Waihi Battery were taken from here, many including the net post nearest to the battery.
This from the Diamond Jubilee Booklet, 1962:
Tennis was a great favourite in the early days and still is today. The first club was formed about 1898, among the first committee being Messrs Kendrick, Mueller and Johnston. At that time the courts were behind the Commercial Hotel. In 1920 splendid new courts were formed at the back of the Recreation Ground and Waihi has a strong club.
Croquet began as early as 1911, when a club was formed and application was made to the Borough Council for the use of the eastern portion of the tennis lawns for the start of the 1911 croquet season.
Circa 1920 a new (extra) court was opened. It appears in the photograph to be to the south, and a little to the west, of the original court. This photograph, and others of the opening, suggest that the house visible in the 1909-10 panorama has gone.
If only one court existed until 1920, then all the photographs of the Waihi Battery taken from the tennis court were taken from the same court.
By 1942 there are four courts. The two extra courts on the lower level post date 1942, pre date 1971.
The present "gazebo" at the tennis courts makes use of an old concrete slab, possibly from the original shelter as seen in the above photograph. This shelter is positioned between the two courts. When there was but one court, the shelter was positioned centrally to that court.
The 1923 to 1952 AGM Minute book of the Waihi Tennis Club sheds some light.
- The first AGM was held in St James’ Hall, 20th September, 1923. With Mr Green in the Chair, the Secretary records: "This being the first annual meeting of the new club formed on Septr 27th 1922 there were no minutes of a previous annual meeting."
- In 1927 it was proposed that: "a supply of liquid bitumen (Violet) two drums be obtained and repairs carried out where funds permit".
- 1939: "that secretary be authorised to purchase four drums of Emolium from Winstones Ltd Auckland, to re-surface the new Nos 1 and 2 courts and that the work be done by members during the weekend".
- 1940: "After some discussion it was decided to top dress the four courts".
- 1944: "Grass Courts:- moved… that Mr McGinagle be employed as caretaker at 2/6 per hour. Cutting of the courts to be done at the jurisdiction…
"Hard Courts:- A working bee to be organised…when both courts will receive a topdressing of colfix".
- 1948: "Working Bee. A start erecting a hollow stone wall adjacent to No. 1 court was fixed as Sunday the 19th.
It is not clear from the minutes of the first meeting whether there was an earlier tennis club.
Reference to bitumen, LayKold, Emolium, colfix, top dressing and hard courts all indicate bitumen courts.
By 1936 there were at least three bitumen courts, and by 1940 four bitumen courts.
By 1944 there was more than one grass court. The 1942 aerial photograph shows four courts. Could the grass courts be two new courts on the lower level?