The first tennis tournament ever played in Australia was held in January 1880, on the courts of the Melbourne Cricket Club, built two years earlier. It was called the Championship of the Colony of Victoria, and was won by A.F.Robinson.Tennis grew in popularity around Australia, for the next twenty or so years, particular amongst the well to do.

In September 1882, the tennis Committee of the Melbourne Cricket Club convened a meeting of club representatives at “Young and Jacksons” hotel to promote the game and to make arrangements for dates and conditions of interclub matches. Teams were to be four men each. Two doubles matches were to be played. If the same club won both contests the match was over, if the matches were split, reverse doubles were played. This tennis club is first recorded as playing in March 1886. Early players for the club lived on the estate.


The East Malvern Tennis Club began with the formation of the Gascoigne Land Company in 1886, but the date of formation cannot be ascertained with certainty as the early records of the Club were destroyed by a fire at the Clubhouse in 1958.

The Gascoigne Land Company subdivided several sections of land in Malvern and was called the Gascoigne Estate. The club had two tennis courts in Beaver Street. The earliest recorded owners/occupiers are listed as Peter Mercer and Caroline Mercer.

Peter Stewart Mercer and James Stewart Mercer brothers were house, land and estate agents with a city office at 98 Elizabeth Street; Melbourne called “J.S. Mercer & Co.” J.S. Mercer was agent for the Gascoigne Estate and an early player with the “Gascoigne Lawn Tennis Club” as it was called.

The Australasian on March 20th 1886 records a meeting of fourteen club representatives who met at Young and Jackson’s Hotel on Monday night 15th March to decide on rules and fixtures for the year. Peter S. Mercer is recorded as representing Gascoigne. Gascoigne Tennis Club, by which name the club was known prior to its adoption of its present name, was not only in existence as early as 1886 but was actually playing competitive tennis with other clubs

In 1890 it became the Malvern Recreation Club Ltd.  In 1903 George Ambrose Kitchen, residing in Finch Street, East Malvern, is listed as part owner of the tennis club. His father, John Ambrose Kitchen (1835-1922) owned “Kalooma” in Finch Street and was the founder of “Lever and Kitchen”.
The first listing of the name East Malvern Tennis Club in the Rate books is 1908. The Lawn Tennis Club became the East Malvern Tennis Club on 24th June 1908 – the honorary secretary was listed as K.A.Brien 31 Rose St, Armadale .

The club incorporated as a public company limited by guarantee on 27th November 1922.  The memorandum and articles of association state the annual subscription for members shall in the first instance be Two pounds ten shillings for Gentlemen and One pound ten shillings for Ladies and thereafter such sum as the members in general meeting may determine provided that a member elected on or after the first day of September in the financial year shall pay as a first subscription the sum of One pound five shillings for Gentlemen and Fifteen shillings only for Ladies provided the committee so decide.

From 1943 the Club consisted of four porous courts. The Clubhouse was a weatherboard building, one main room, men’s room, toilet and shower and ladies room, toilet and shower. All rooms were off the main room including the kitchen which was small but adequate. There was a lawn running the full length of the courts and this was left to the members of the working bee to keep most of the lawn mown, also it was a working bee that kept the courts up to scratch.

In 1958 fire destroyed the EMTC clubhouse within a few minutes. The local newspaper at the time records that the captain of the tennis club fought the blaze with a garden hose which was too short to reach the fire. A youth was tried and charged in Malvern court. In April 1958 the property was sold for $3,000 – the land was 200 feet by 143 feet.

A notice to the effect that East Malvern Tennis Club had changed its registered office from 54 Beaver Street East Malvern to 10 Moira Street East Malvern was lodged on 16th March 1958 to the Commissioner of Corporate Affairs. The land was leased from Malvern Council.

The new clubhouse and courts were officially opened at Moira Street on Sunday 4th October 1959 at 3.30pm. Mr. R. N. Vroland President of the Lawn Tennis Association of Victoria formally opened the clubrooms. The president at this time was C.J.Woodgate.
Initially there were 6 courts – before the freeway was built the entrance was off Moira Street, near where court 6 is now. Eventually over time the courts were expanded to 9, then 10. The car park was moved from Moira Street to where it now is as part of the construction of the freeway. The car park actually appears to belong to Vic Roads.