History

Dec 30, 2015

NOTTING HILL / PINEWOOD TENNIS CLUB INC.

Established 1933 - Amalgamated 1980

 

Notting Hill / Pinewood Tennis Club was a result of a City of Monash encouraged amalgation of the long established Notting Hill Tennis Club, who the Council wished to relocate and the then recent group of residents that had established the Pinewood Tennis Club and it's Co-operative who were trying to convince the Council to allocate land for the establishment of a tennis facility.

 

But first our humble beginnings.

NOTTING HILL TENNIS CLUB - THE FORMATIVE YEARS 1933 - 1986

In the early 1930's, probably around 1933-34 a local group of families, encouraged by the urgings of a local Shire Councillor Bill Forster, decided to make better of a solitary asphalt tennis court in Blackburn Road, near the corner of Ferntree Gully Road, Notting Hill.

Led by the support of their fathers who were Ben Hall, Alex Flack and Willie Horner, a group of young people formed the Notting Hill Tennis Club. Jim and Frank Hall, Gwen Brooks and later brother Ron, the Horner sisters and Nancy and Margaret Flack were some of the pioneer members. George Forster, the son of Bill was the first President. In all the club started with about fifteen or twenty members who paid 5/- membership per annum.

For the first twelve months or so the members played social tennis, mainly on Saturdays, in order to learn the basic skills and rules. There was no clubhouse or facilities. Players used the council workers’ toilet and went across to Mrs. Turners to boil the kettle for a “cuppa”.

In the mid ‘30s the club entered a local church competition in the Clayton and Districts Protestant Tennis Association (disbanded in 1959) and members started to play Saturday competition tennis. No Sunday tennis was allowed for many years and even until the early ‘50s play was restricted to the mornings.

During the early years the club members raised funds to build an asphalt court alongside the first court so that more players could play competition tennis.

In 1957 the local council, (now Monash City Council), decided to use the site of the asphalt courts so it replaced them with two en-tout-cas courts on a new location around the corner in Ferntree Gully Road. These courts were the pride of the district and the best in the competition. The members built and paid for a third en-tout-cas court in the ‘60s.

In the early years the club used Notting Hill Hall facilities to prepare afternoon tea. A small wooden shed was used for shelter and often afternoon tea was served from card tables, which created quite a picnic atmosphere. By the late ‘60s the members had literally built their own clubhouse which was up until the club transferring to England Road.

Over the years the membership steadily grew and by the late ‘50s the club had nine or ten teams playing competition in the Clayton and District Tennis Association. As the club outgrew this Association it applied and was accepted into the Southern Districts Tennis Association in about 1957. The club regularly entered teams in this competition up until 1979. There was even a need to hire extra courts in Middleborough Road and at Risden Tennis Club Oakleigh during some seasons. During the ‘60s the ladies began to play mid-week tennis. Groups hired the courts for social play and in ’65 they entered two teams in the Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and the ladies teams grew to be a formidable force in local tennis.

During the first forty or fifty years the club members worked hard to keep the club going and to maintain and improve the facilities. Members participated in card nights, barbeques, bottle drives, raffles and social tournaments working together to raise funds.

Members experienced many changes during those early years. Designer tennis clothes and shoes saw ladies’ skirts and dresses creep higher and the men’s longer pants replaced by shorts. Yellow tennis balls replaced white tennis balls and standard wooden tennis racquets were superseded by a range of mid-head and big-head graphite and aluminum models.

In the late 1970s the Notting Hill Tennis Club was on the move again as the Waverley Council decided to expand, and to use the tennis court land for office buildings. The club was encouraged to amalgamate with Pinewood Tennis Club, a newly formed in Waverley with no “home”. Nine tru-flex tennis courts were built at the present site off England Road. Three of which were to replace the Ferntree Gully Road courts and an extra six to cater for the increase in membership due to the amalgamation funded by the Pinewood Tennis Club. The Notting Hill – Pinewood tennis courts were opened in 1979 and the club was incorporated in 1980.

The club had now over 800 members, including 250 juniors. Regular competition was played almost every day and night of the week and already the club has won numerous premiership flags in the recently formed Waverley and District Tennis Association as well as in the various other long standing Associations in which the club enters teams.

A temporary clubhouse served as home for Notting Hill – Pinewood Tennis Club for several years and due to the tireless efforts of the members a beautiful new tennis pavilion was built in 1985-6.

 

From our archives our early days.
http://www.nhptc.com.au/gallery/notting-hill-tennis-club-1933-1980

 

PINEWOOD TENNIS CLUB 1976 – 1980

In the mid 1970’s approxiamately 120 people met at the Pinewood Primary School after a letter box drop asking if people were interested in forming a local tennis club. That meeting resulted in the Pinewood half of this club coming into existence, on the 25th November 1976. Members of that first committee were: Jeff Linden, Jan Chivers, Ann Dinn, Marita Jones, Betty Horskins, Nigel Ashton, Terry Starling.

 

THE AMMALGAMATION

It was not easy to agree on things and that was just the name.

The events that drove the two groups unconfortably to ammalgamate was.

  • The City of Waverley (now Monash) coverting the land used by Notting Hill Tennis, Cricket and Football Clubs for the development of the Refuse Station.

  • Pinewood Tennis Club's push to secure from Council land for the development of a Tennis Club.

The theory was simple however in practice the two groups were not happy with the solution. So much so that upon completion of building of the courts the two clubs operated separately for six months and the "NOTTING HILL TENNIS CLUB" sign disappeared never to be seen again. But there are rumours that it is in a garage somewhere. The Councils vision was for a 20 court complex however this fell by the wayside many years ago.

Feelings ran very high with the last declaration in the NHTC Minutes being " this is the end of the Notting Hill Tennis Club". But what's in a name one may ask? Notting Hill / Pinewood TC, Pinewood / Notting Hill TC, Monash TC and others were all suggested. The two parties could not agree and finally the Council declared that the name would be Notting Hill / Pinewood TC.

So the council rebuilt Notting Hill TC's 3 courts (now 6, 7 & 8) and Pinewood TC having raised a bag of cash via it's Co-operative and a further 6 courts were built (1 & 2, 9 &10 plus 2 others now bulldozed).

Somehow the two camps got together and on the 20th July 1980 the site was declared open with a large crowd in attendance and with tree planting etc.. Not only that a very successful decade ensued.

 

NOTTING HILL / PINEWOODS FIRST FLAGS

W.D.T.A. - Seniors

Mixed B vs Mt. Waverley – Won by tie Breaker

Lorraine Bennett, Leslie McKay, David Gye, Veronica Hamilton, Jeff Linden (a substitute for Finals)

 

W.D.T.A. - Juniors

Mixed D vs Glen Waverley – Won by 7 games

Kim Howell, Athena Samuel, Colin Ross, Malcolm Wren

 

EMRLTA

Section A5 vs Doncaster Blue – Won by 24 games

Doris Brown, Veronica Hamilton, Pam Coldbreck, Leslie McKay, Sally Giltrap

 

OUR FIRST CLUB CHAMPIONS – Held 1981

Senior Champions

Sally Giltrap d Gloria Heidrich

Clive Edmonds d Harold Chia (who was forced to withdraw ill)

Gloria Heidrich and Elaine Coleman d Kathy Faux and Joanne Phelan

Bert Faux and Clive Edmonds d Allan Close and Craig Jennings (Craig was then 12 years of age)

Gloria Heidrich and Bert Faux d Eilden and Kim Turnley

 

Junior Champions

David Starling d Craig Jennings (boys U17 singles)

Sharon Landgon d Pam Chivers (girls U17 singles)

 

1980's - Boom Times

With the amalgamation and construction complete the Association ran hard, with 800 members and a further 400 on a waiting list the 9 courts were in constant use. Off the court the temporay Club House needed to be replaced and by 1986 the "Bert Faux" Pavilion was built and high tower lights erected on  5 courts. The social side was in full swing and the bar well attended.

 

From the archives
http://www.nhptc.com.au/gallery/notting-hill-pinewood-tennis-club-archives

 

To be continued...

 

1990's - The lean years

In the early 1990's the club had maintaned it's 800 members and still had a healthy waiting list. We had a State Grade Pennant team however by the middle of the decade there was only 200 members and most of the clubs fittings were worn out. In 1996 the bulldozers were on the horizon once more.

 

What happened and why?

 

There is no doubt that the local demographics impacted on the ability of the club to attract and retain members. With households in the immediate area aging, fewer children per household the impact was dramatic. Where once there were large family memberships, often with members who never played, all of a sudden the children were now young adults and the club was not able to retain their interest in tennis.

As the club battled with lower participation rates the committee was fortunate that the ITF Australian Hardcourt Championships held annually, went from strength to strength and was able to underpin the clubs financial position. By the middle of the 90's the club found itself with no club coach. Tum Rakete was appointed as its head coach in 1997 and the membership levels stabilised with an influx of approxiamately 40 new junior members. Whilst it's adult membership levels continued to decline, by 2000 the club had approxiamatle 120 juniors and a total membership of 280.

The mid 90's were important for other reasons. The City of Monash was again exploring to redevelop the site and build a basketball stadium in the England Road precint and move the Association down the hill. Plans were drawn up and the club once again was in a serious position. As it turned out the economics of the day meant that the Kennett Government decided to sell off education land reserved and Mirvac commenced development of the land adjacent to the club. From the discussions the two most easterly courts were demolished and the land used for the building of Baker Avenue and as well as housing. They were replaced on land where the carpark was and a new court built with club funds. In addition the City of Monash generously set aside land on the north east of the England Road Reserve for an additional two courts. Thus we had 10 courts plus land for two more with 5 courts under lights by the end of 1997. The influx of new residents in the new estate bumped up the membership to just over 300.

By the end of the decade the courts were in need of resurfacing, the lights were worn out and in need of refurbishment and the club was running at a $5,000 per annum loss subsidised by the ITF Tournament that generated $9,000. There was no gurantee that the club would keep this important tournament. Seniors, Mid-week Ladies and Night teams were all in decline however our Juniors were stable and doing well. We were fortunate to enjoy the tennis of up and coming players such as Tane Rakete, Peter Luczak, Ola Luczak, Karen Butler, Sharon College and Alex Tjioe. All having transferred from the Wheelers Hill Racket Centre along with their coach. Thus the club had a healthly junior player profile.

With no long term financial planning discipline in place the club though was oblivious to the financial challenges ahead and a crunch was only around the corner.

 

2000's - A struggle to self sustainabilty

With the courts needing resurfacing and insufficient funds in the bank the club dragged itself out of the mire, upgrading it's facilities and putting it'self in a position to expand. Lessons the club need to carry forward....

Firstly though the club celebrated it's 21st anniverary of the amalgamation and in 2001 gathered as many current and former members and have a party. It is from this activity that the photos in the Gallery on this website were gathered.

During 2002 the club benchmarked it's performance with other clubs within the City of Monash. Important items such as revenues, surplus/deficits, fees, membership and team numbers and participation were looked at in detail. The club had feared throughout the nineties that if it increase fees then it would accelerate the loss of membership that it was experiencing. The benchmarking study revealled that the most successful clubs in terms of membership had the highest fees. Thus the club took the position to reset the membership fees and to develop a strategy to increase the court utilisation. It was at this time the club developed its 10 year forecasting model that has been updated annually since. The first year of this forecast naturally becomes the budget for the next year.

In 2003 the courts were in a terrible state with ashphalt showing and needed to be resurfaced. However the club had insufficient funds; $34K. The City of Monash came to the rescue and helped out with a grant of $13k. This along with the clubs funds enabled the resurfacing to go ahead and allowed the club to keep the courts in a state sufficient for the club to keep the ITF tournament.

During the period 2003 - 2007 with Marylin Belzer, Trish George, Noelene Reeves and Lesley McKay were at the forefront and supported by ~ 80 volunteers the ITF Junior Championships went from strength to strength. The club was thus able to reap the financial rewards of our efforts. Unfortunately Tennis Australia removed this event from the tournament calendar due to the high cost of the accomodation. Thus what the club had feared came to fruition.

On the membership side the clubs activities grew such that Senior teams had reached 20 and Junior teams under the Master Junior Convenor Mr. Ron Collins grew to 18. The numbers in coaching early in the decade grew to 125 and things were looking up. In 2005 the Wheelers Hill Racket Centre closed and 70 new members transferred into new internal Ladies and Mens doubles competitions. With the increase in membership, fees, ITF funds and school hire the club was in a better position to repair other facility items. Tennis Victoria also needed a home for its high performance squads and all was set for facility improvement. Thus throughout this periods lights were installed on courts 3, 4 & 5. To facilitate Tennis Victoria's requirements courts 9 & 10 lights were installed and all the original lights were refitted with new transformers and light heads.

In spite of the financial improvements that were made it was clear that the publics taste for volunteering was in decline. Further that members now played at times that suited their lifestyles. Thus traditional peak playing times were in decline and new "products" needed to be developed.

 

2010's - What lies ahead?

A new decade and changes within the coaching services area. Duncan Sillato was appointed as the Club Coach and with him has come growth in student numbers. Peaking in 2012 at 254 before setting in at 220. With Tennis Australia supporting grass roots tennis by promoting HOT SHOTS we have seen the introduction of After Schools and Monash League HOT SHOTS. The club in taking an active management role in the transition from coaching to competition we have been able to increase our WDTA Juniors teams to 35 by the summer 2015-16 season.

The club set its sites on building courts 11 & 12 and this was completed in 2013 inclusive of lights. An investment of $190K fully funded by the club members.

In 2014 the club changed it's coaching model from that of a contractor providing services to the club to one where the coaches are employees of the club. Thus establishing the primary reseponsibilty of the Head Coach to manage the quality of all lessons conducted.

In 2015 Duncan Sillato resigned and Ignacio Cresini was appointed. The focus is on increasing the skill sets of all the Assistant Coaches, delelopment of student objectives and delivery against targets for all students. It is early days though the club does recognise that community expectations are higher. Conformance to statutory requirements (ATO, Superannuation Guarantee etc.) means that the club has had to increase it's approach to administraion and it is clear that greater professional standards will need to be achieved.

2015 saw the club recognised by Tennis Victoria as the 5th largest in the metro area.

The journey continues ......