90 Years in the Community
The Reid Tennis Club is one of the oldest tennis clubs in Canberra. The first meeting of the Club was held at the Ainslie school on 27 August 1928, just one year after the opening of (Old) Parliament House. Mr J L Mulrooney chaired the meeting and Mr Roy Parker was elected president. The Social Services Officer of the Australian Federal Commission (AFC) explained the basis of the AFC’s voluntary labour scheme, which would be used to build the courts.
The bottom two courts (along Currong St) were built in 1929 and thetop two courts between 1931 and 1934. The clubhouse was completed in February 1930. The earliest drainage plans held by the Club are dated 3 June 1938.
Dirrawan Gardens, with the tennis club as its focal point, is modelled on the ideas of the English Garden City movement by John Sulman, the planner who took over from Griffin in 1921 and chaired the Federal Capital Advisory Committee. In recognition of its heritage value, the clubhouse and courts, as part of the Reid Housing Precinct, were included on the Register of the National Estate on 21 October 1980 and are on the ACT Heritage Register.
In December 1929, the Club had 71 members (44 ladies and 27 gentlemen), out of a total Canberra population of approximately 8,000. House blocks on Dirrawan Gardens were not all occupied, as houses were progressively built until 1937.
Joining fees in 1929 were 30 shillings for gentlemen and 20 shillings for ladies. At the time, average wages for managers and clerks were approximately 80 shillings per week for men and 30 shillings per week for women.
Club minutes of the 15 September 1932 meeting reported that tennis matches were played against Northbourne, Kingston, Forrest, Westlake and Ginninderra clubs.
The Club has been the centre for social activities for Reid and and surrounding suburbs over the years. Older members recall dances being held in the clubhouse.
The Club has had an extraordinary continuity of history, with some remarkable individual contributions. Notably there have only been 6 club presidents since 1966, with Jack Langan serving for nearly 40 years. Jean and Charlie Boag, living at 20 Dirrawan Gardens, served in various capacities for the Club from 1937 to 1996, practically running the club on a daily basis.
Members and committees have worked enthusiastically over the past 90 years to maintain and improve the courts and surrounding gardens.
While many of the current 200 members are from Reid and the inner north, the ambience and wonderful facilities of the Club attract tennis players from a wide area. The Reid Tennis Club has teams in competitions conducted by Tennis ACT. Canberra Tennis conducts coaching lessons for junior and seniors.