Relocation: Aboyne Avenue to Kauri Parade

Here we cover a most exciting period in the history which led to the club’s relocation to the Kauri Parade reserve in 1992….After 60 happy years of playing at Aboyne Avenue Seacliff Park, by the mid-80’s it was recognised that the club desperately needed more courts and better facilities. Much work was done to upgrade the existing home (new court surface, BBQ area & lawns, court lighting), but by the middle of the decade the club was hiring up to 16 other courts at many other venues just to cater for its 11 senior and 20 junior teams. Submissions were made to council at various times for additional courts to be built at Barwell Ave, Mott Tce, Gilbertson Gully and Kingston House – all to no avail. Some relief was afforded when the club secured the lease on the complex at Wilton Ave Somerton Park in 1987, but this was not a long-term solution as the club needed to retain its Seacliff identity.

In 1989 the Club Committee, led by Vice President, Donald Woodhouse embarked on an ambitious proposal to build 6 new courts and take over the licensed clubrooms on part of Kauri Parade reserve which had been vacated by the defunct Brighton City Soccer Club. The club successfully sought a Federal Government grant of $50,000 towards the project. The project quickly hit a road-block when engineering studies indicated that building courts at the proposed site (a former rubbish dump) was not economically viable. Fortuitously, the Happy Valley Hockey Club had also received a grant ($180,000) for a project to construct an artificial turf pitch at their home – a project that also had hit financial hurdles. Through much negotiation, the clubs joined forces and a new project was born in 1990. Further funding was sought from the State Government for a combined facility which included a dual purpose hockey pitch which was convertible to 12 synthetic grass tennis courts. Despite many anxious times when Council threatened to withdraw their support unless the State funding was obtained, a matching grant of $230,000 was finally approved in March 1991.

Work commenced in November 1991, and the first tennis matches were played on the new courts in February 1992. By this time, the club had over 300 members, and fielded 16 senior and 20 junior teams. The new facilities sparked a whole new era of success for the club. It was a time of frenetic socialising and high club spirit, with weekly after-match gatherings of over 100 people in the new clubrooms with club volunteers serving up to 60 meals weekly, and led to the establishment of an enormously successful mid-week night tennis competition catering for up to 27 teams each week and further growth in playing numbers. Many present and past members fondly remember those years as a great time for the club. Most importantly, it was a successful period on the court. The first end-of season presentations in the “new” clubrooms saw 160 members celebrate the Club’s first-ever Division 1 Premiership, along with four other senior flags. There is no doubt that those who dedicated themselves to persisting and realising the move can take much credit for the continuing outstanding success of the Seacliff Tennis Club today.