Thegolden eraisover

By Reader Contributed

In 1963, St Mary’s Tennis Club was born.

Two courts were laid and the old green shed was built.

In 2002, major development took place.

The courts were resurfaced and the little portable building was erected by TAFE College building apprentices and moved to the current site in McLennan St, Mooroopna.

And in February this year, the club died.

The declining number of players has necessitated this painful decision.

The club started with two senior teams in 1963, thanks to the McIntyre and McCarty families.

It enjoyed a lot of success in the ensuing 20 years, winning several premierships.

Towards the end of the ’80s, the club folded, but was re-formed again in the mid-’90s, thanks to a dedicated parishioner and keen tennis player Sheila Griffin and went on to win the flag that same year.

Brenda Pye took over as president in 1998 and built the club up to three senior teams, nine junior teams, two midweek ladies teams and a twilight competition.

In 2002, the members decided they had outgrown the old tin shed, so they got behind the president and a few months later, the new building was born.

Lots of development took place — a disabled ramp, new fencing, air-conditioning, a bull-nosed verandah, pergola, landscaping and paving.

The building and surrounds was the envy of many visiting clubs and it was the hub of lots of fine social occasions.

Many premierships were won, and in 2003, all three senior teams made the grand final with two of those being successful.

Pye was awarded life membership in 2010 and stepped down from her role in 2013.

The interest in senior tennis seemed to be declining and in 2017 the junior club amalgamated with Mooroopna, leaving the club with no senior teams, no junior teams and two midweek ladies teams.

Last year, the painful decision was made to turn the area over to St Mary’s Primary School to be developed into a multi-purpose court where 400 students would get the benefit on a daily basis.

This was very much a ‘‘sign of the times’’ decision.

Past members and current midweek lady members were all saddened by the decision as they realised the golden era was over.

The clubhouse will be moved and has found a new home on an orchard in Ardmona.

Last Friday night, club members and their families had a wonderful night reminiscing and celebrating the rich history of the club and all felt proud to have been part of such a successful and much-loved club.

More pictures in Thursday’s Around Town pages.