Home About the Club History of the Club

 

The club had its beginnings in October 1914 when it established itself as the Island Bay Lawn Tennis Club. At that time it used the courts located at Island Bay School's Victory Park site.  In time the club outgrew the school courts and in 1930 moved to the current site on The Parade. The photo below was taken in December 1930 and shows the first three courts being constructed.  A further two courts were built in 1936. Apparently the land upon which the courts were built formerly supported Chinese market gardens. The tennis club was very active over the next few decades.  Tennis coaching became available in the early 1950s and the club was one of the first to offer reduced junior memberships and junior coaching.

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In 1968, at a meeting of the Island Bay Progressive Society a young Catholic Priest named Father Paul Shanahan suggested that building squash courts in Island Bay would be a good idea.  From there a subcommittee was formed, funds were raised and two years later in 1970 construction began.  The Squash Club took over two of the existing tennis courts and was completed in 1971. The Architects were McKefrey & Brenton and the construction contractors were CP Construction.

The Architect was Ben Brenton whilst the project foreman was Owen O’Sullivan.

At the time it was built the Island Bay Services Club, (being the Old RSA from the Empire Theatre complex) helped by putting up the last of the money needed to build the courts and they set up on the ground floor where they are still operating today.

The photos below show the opening ceremony for the Squash Club in March 1971 with the first ball being hit by Miss New Zealand –Glenys Treweek and Father Shanahan.

 

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Some of the Fund raisers and the 1st committee were:

Barry Charles, Des Hoskins, Father Shanahan, Mr Dallow, Doug Peacock, Graeme Hall (1st Secretary).

All of us current members owe a big vote of thanks to these people and the many others who supported them.

The 2nd committee was:

Ken Imlach, John Seamer, Eilene Imlach, John Porter, Brian Kennerley (2nd Secretary), Peter McIroy, Bryan Harvey.

Needless to say the club was very popular – evidence of this being in the minutes from an early meeting in the 70's where the committee was forced to pass a resolution that prevented a certain gentleman who lived nearby, from sneaking into the club in the early hours - booking some courts then selling the bookings to desperate players!

Things didn’t always go smoothly back then and there were problems with the front walls. They where constructed from tilt-up panels which would condensate when the weather was humid.  The committee had to have them specially plastered to beat the condensation but be able to withstand the pressure of the little black ball.

By the time our current Patron (Clyde McLeod) joined in 1978/79 there was a waiting list for squash - 450 members!!!  Poor old Clyde had to play tennis for the summer of 78/79 and was accepted into the squash club in the new season.

Clyde recalls: “It was bl**dy hard to get a court booking and the club had oodles of money - the cash flow must have been fantastic.  My recollection of Management meetings will remain with me forever - Ken Imlach (the Secretary) would read out the list of prospective members and it was always a hoot as he struggled with the names of the multitude of nationalities that had joined.  Tennis was huge as well - you couldn't move in the bar on Saturday evenings.”

Some things never change however, and Island Bay has always been a very sociable club that loves to “live on the edge” (so to speak).  One of the 1st fancy dress parties held for some celebration was raided by the Police.  Some bright spark sneaked out and let down the police cars tires, but was not bright enough and got caught. His wife had to bail him out from the old Taranaki St Police Station!

Then there was the incident where a club member of the time (a noted boxer and cricketer) took exception to something the DJ did at a party and tried to rough him up.  Unfortunately the DJ was a noted martial arts exponent and as the fight spilled out into the car park the club member was seen crawling under a car to get away from being smashed to pieces!

They were wild days back then and there has been more than one child conceived over the course of a tournament – enough said on that subject!

 

 
 

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