The Robertson family lived at 21 Widford st for many years and had many connections with the tennis club across the road.

Emily Irene ( Rene ) and James King Robertson were founding members of the club in 1928. Their house looked out over paddocks with cows and horses grazing and a city in the background without a single tall building.

James was a quantity surveyor by profession and he and Rene had three daughters, Joan ( 1929-2002 ) was the eldest followed by Pat and then Suzanne ( 1935- 2005 ).

They all would play tennis at South Hawthorn.  Rene was involved with St John’s church in Camberwell and the three girls used to walk there every Sunday to attend Sunday School. They also took part in fellowships and youth group activities such as picnics, hikes and a monthly dance. It was at one of these dances that Sue Robertson met her future husband Col Walden ( President 1968-1971 ) who also had a major involvement at South Hawthorn.

The girls all started playing tennis around the age of 9. They used to play at Mr Bickham’s courts off Burke rd. where the freeway is now. He had 12 asphalt courts for hire and kids used to go down for a hit on Saturday mornings and he would supervise and offer some advice although he was not a coach. Pat also had lessons with Mr Wilson in Park Rd Glen Iris, before there was a permanent coach at South Hawthorn.

The girls had an happy and active life, attending Auburn South Primary School and having annual summer holidays at Mornington. They were all talented sportswomen with Joan playing hockey, tennis, golf and lawn bowls, while Sue played tennis and golf.  Sue was later involved with the Mount Waverley tennis Club and was made a Life Member there.

Pat went from Auburn South to Camberwell Central before finishing her schooling at MLC. After her Matriculation she went back to MLC to do a 3 year craft teaching course, learning to teach bookbinding, leather work and other crafts. Pat was keen to travel overseas so she attended night school to learn typing and shorthand. In 1956 Pat traveled by ship to London and was lucky enough to land a trial job with publisher Longmanns Green. A 4 month trial led to an 18 month job and allowed Pat to have some wonderful experiences in the UK and on the continent. She shared a bedsit with a friend in Earls Court, which was where many Australians would congregate. They used to frequent the “Downunder Club” and Pat remembers seeing a young Aussie called Rolf Harris start his singing career from there.

Pat’s father had a friend Sir William Leggat, who had many contacts in London and he was very kind to Pat, arranging tickets to Wimbledon and even an invitation to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. She and a friend from South Africa were very excited to get dressed up and have the opportunity to see the Queen.

When she had time off work she would join friends and catch the ferry to the continent whether it be France, Holland or Scandinavia and hitchhike off on an adventure. They stayed at Youth Hostels and explored Switzerland, Austria and many other countries. They even bought an old Austin car for one trip and had much fun driving around.

Back in Australia, Pat worked for Murfett Publishers and The Chamber of Manafacturers Insurance Company. She also became involved with South Hawthorn Tennis Club. She used to play in mixed teams on Saturday afternoons, as well as going on many trips with other members to country tournaments. She remembers many of her playing partners and friends from the club such as Bill Cathie, Lola and Keith Young, Don Mann, Julie Abrahart, Julie McDonald, Billie White and Barry McLaughlin. I asked Pat about Keith Young who turns 90 this year, “was Keith a fierce competitor”? Pat smiled and replied, “Keith a competitor? Yes, just a little bit”

Pat was club champion in 1962-63-64-65, 67-68 and 69. Her run of wins was only broken by a great rival Julie Abrahart in 1966, Pat was clearly the dominant player at our club for a decade. Another Life Member, Kerry Wundersitz can remember, as a Junior, playing Pat and struggling with her speed at the net. She moved so quickly and so late, you were never sure if she would cross or not. She was a very aggressive volleyer.

Not just a great competitor, Pat was a great contributor to the club. She was club Secretary from 1959-1969 and again in 1970. She was Club Treasurer from 1971-73 and again in 1975. She was made a Life Member in 1979.

In 1979 Pat went on a cruise in the South Pacific and met Ross Hunt, a cabinet maker from Adelaide. They married and she moved to South Australia where she still lives, though Ross passed away in 2004. Her sister Joan was already living in Adelaide and they chose a Tennis and Bowls club half way between their homes and joined together. Pat continued to play tennis until injuries forced her to move to bowls and golf where she found companionship and exercise. She still passes the tennis courts occasionally and wishes she was able to play.

Pat is an happy positive and generous person whose secret to life is her faith in God, her love of family, her love and involvement with sport, 20 years of Yoga, her voluntary work with Meals on Wheels and the Royal Adelaide Hospital and of course her involvement with South Hawthorn Tennis Club.


Robert Leslie MacCleery (known as Leslie), was one of the first Presidents of the club from 1928-1933.

He was a bank clerk when he joined the AIF at the age of 27 and served in World War 1. He served with the 28th Battalion in B Company.

He took an English bride, before returning to Australia and settling in Melbourne.

For many years the club held a Mixed Doubles Championship called the R.L.MacCleery Cup. The event was an handicap event, with handicaps determined by the club selection committee.