Way Back When

With so much pride exuberating from the Ipswich community after Ash Barty’s recent win, Kylie Stoneman began to wonder what tennis looked like Way Back When.

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In 1882, The Brisbane Courier reported on an enjoyable and pleasant lawn-tennis tournament being played in the asylum grounds, Woogaroo, between representatives of the Ipswich Lawn-Tennis Club and Woogaroo.

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The article continued that the Ipswich representatives were inclined to think that the net used was too low, and even though most spectators were frightened by a heavy shower of rain before play, the several ladies and gentlemen from Ipswich braved the elements.

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1888 saw the Ipswich Lawn Tennis Club President’s report at the AGM suggest “the club can never be really prosperous and successful until it has courts of its own”- encouraging that steps be taken to approach the mayor, to discuss forming courts in the water reserve, which was considered central and convenient. Further in the article, it mentioned Mr O’Sullivan had kindly allowed the club the use of his courts in Woodend for matches and practice.

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By 1894, there was mention in the paper of the Carlton Club journeying to Ipswich to do battle with the Ipswich Lawn-Tennis Club. The match took place on new gravel courts, and it was suggested “at considerable expense by the Ipswich tennis players”.

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In 1909 it was reported that the annual meeting of the Ipswich Tennis Club was held in Mr W.B. Darker’s room with a fair attendance. The secretary’s report suggested satisfactory progress had been made during the year.

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At the time, Mr T.B. Cribb was patron, with Mr H.G. Simpson as president and the Hon. J.W. Blair, Lieutenant-Colonel W.T. Deacon, C.B. the Mayor, Drs. J.A. Cameron and P. Thornton, and Messrs. P.I. Cardew and H.J. Gray all vice presidents. In total, there were 23 officers elected on the night.

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That same year saw the City Council Park Committee submit its estimated expenditure for the tennis courts, being 60 pounds for the year, and Cribb & Foote advertised clearance specials of 25 dozen fancy striped tennis shirts for 2s 11d (reduced by 1s).

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