almost 150 years old...
Since the late 1800’s tennis has been a community activity in Redcliffs.
Privately owned courts were lent to the community from around 1884
It is written that
Hon J Barr had one court near where our volley board is. The entrance was from
Estuary Rd /Beachville Road
Mr A Beaven had a court at the entrance to Balmoral Lane.
1 November 1917 there was a public meeting to formally form the Redcliffs Tennis
Club on these courts.
In 1918 it was decided to charge the informal tennis club 6 pound rent per year for
the use of the courts.
About that time Mr Barr decided to lay a second court on his land alongside the
existing one and to make an entrance from Main Road.
That occurred sometime between 1918 and 1919.
The court at Balmoral Lane was still also used.
In December 1920 the Redcliffs school children were permitted to play and learn
tennis on the courts.
1921 the Redcliffs Tennis Club became a member of the Canterbury Lawn Tennis
In 1924 the Club decided to buy land and made plans for a pavilion to be included.
This project was completed within the year.
The purchase of strips of land from various neighbours allowed the courts to be
turned from north south to east west making room for a third court and for the
pavilion on the Main Road site.
The money to pay for the land and pavilion was raised by having fairs and later by
regular card evenings.
1 July 1924 Redcliffs Tennis Club was registered as an Incorporated Society.
Opening day dances in the pavilion were a great community feature.
Minute books show that in 1935 the Club Administration moved to have a Junior
Membership so that the children could become members and continue to play tennis
into adult years thus ensuring the future of the Club. It was not common for clubs to
have children members. Many Christchurch Clubs still do not have children
members. By 2017 we had around 160 children members.
Any person who did not pay their subs was named on the records as were those who
were excused because they had been conscripted to war.
Redcliffs players have competed in Wimbledon and there have been several
Provincial and New Zealand Champions.
1931 Records show that the Club held tournament to raise funds to help Clubs in
Hawkes Bay re-establish their courts after the Napier earthquake.
During the war there were tournaments held for the staff at the Redcliffs Field
Hospital which was in Redcliffs School. The Club had to acquire special ration
coupons to be able to purchase tea and sugar for the afternoon tea.
The sad times show that interclub teams had defaulted as the men had been
conscripted to the war effort. The opening dances couldn’t be held as so many men
had been called up.
There is no record of members who died just references that some ‘women members
needed support in their loss at the moment’.
The pavilion was the home of the Redcliffs Kindergarten for many years. Many
community groups have used the facility as their home over the 102 years including
the Redcliffs Library post earthquake.
Until the 2011/12 earthquakes apart from one small grant towards buying junior
shirts the Redcliffs Club has fully funded its activities. Sadly the 2011/2012
earthquakes changed that.
Following the earthquake damage Calcon Asphalt was contracted to reconstruct the
3 damaged courts at a cost of around $200,000. Largely funded by Community
Grants and donations.
The courts reopened on a temporary surface in May 2013. The midweek ladies group
formed the core of returning Club Players. Mid week interclub commenced on the
fully resurfaced courts in January 2014.
Junior coaching and Interclub restarted in the 2014/15 season.
In March 2015 around 80 people who attended Club Prize giving agreed that Redcliffs Tennis Club was out of earthquake recovery mode and back in to tennis development and community participation. This would require fund raising activities and lots of social activity alongside our junior and senior tennis programmes. It is exciting. And we are proud to continue in the traditions set by the early residents of Redcliffs.