The Club's History
Tennis was first played on grass courts laid out at YMCA property, situated between Queen and Oxford Sts, where the entrance to Warring Car Park is today. In 1946 the hard courts on the Richmond School grounds were used until 1949 when the club moved yet again. In 1950 three courts and modest club rooms were built in the south-west corner in Jubilee Park. These were situated between the present Rugby and Soccer grounds. They were built with hours of voluntary labour and fund raising and had a sawdust top surface less expensive and good to play on. Mr. Frank Ammundsen along with Miss Del McFarlane were tireless organisers of the fundraising committee. This was home to the Richmond Tennis Club when a minor flood in 1951 which the Council helped repair but when the next flood in 1952 came the Council were not prepared to help.
Again tennis was homeless – the Club used Waimea College while raising funds for new courts at Jubilee Park in the present location. The original courts at Waimea College fronted Salisbury Road. While playing at Waimea College the Club was negotiating with the Council for suitable land at Jubilee Park and fundraising was also being done to raise sufficient funds to build the four courts. This was the era of Saturday night dances and regular dance nights were held at the Wakefield Hall. The 'girls' of the club met and made sandwiches in the morning before setting out to play their interclub matches on the Saturday afternoons. Music was provided by Rod Stratford and his young band. Rod was drummer of the great group. Rod Stratford later was given the honour of becoming the Patron of the then Richmond Tennis Club. It was when the “girls” were making the sandwiches for the dances that the idea of a mid-week ladies group was formed which boosted the Club membership. This mid-week group is still going today. The club moved to their four new courts at the present site about 1955 -57 season. Pauline Withington joined the Club in 1956 when Frank Ammundsen was President and she began as Secretary when Brian Rogers became President about 1958. While Pauline was playing tennis Wilf Gibson, John Shaw, Frank Ammundsen, Brian Rogers and Pauline herself were elected Presidents.She was club secretary until becoming President and became the first Life Member. Mr. Rasmussen was the first recorded person to become President. Mr. Scoltock offered advice re court surfaces, depths of various gravels or drainage etc. His son, Bill became a Nelson rep player.
Someone (in the dead of night) brought over the modest clubhouse from the south-west corner of Jubilee Park and placed it beside the four courts (not permitted) but was in time altered to become the “clubrooms”. The Richmond Tennis Club along with the country clubs in this area were under the umbrella of the Waimea Sub-Association. It was the Waimea Sub-Assn that started the junior and senior tennis interclub for all age groups – boys and girls. The Lions Club of Richmond contributed financially to the building of the present club rooms which were opened in Sept.30th 1978. In December 1983 three more courts were laid with the help of the Richmond Netball Club. These were used for the netballers week night practice. These facilities stood the club in good stead until the late 1980's when the population of Richmond and the surrounding area began to grow rapidly. This necessitated the beginning of a development plan.
The first stages of the development were to install floodlights on the original four courts in 1992, followed by the construction of two new courts with lights in 1994. This was also the year in which David Jonkers was appointed as the Club's professional coach. David was also the first professional coach in the area and worked with both senior and junior Nelson rep players and the Richmond Tennis Club complex was used as the centre for all rep and tournament fixtures. This was great for the Club and we took every opportunity for fundraising we could. The popularity of night tennis had grown in the region and the second set of three courts were upgraded to an international standard surface and floodlit in 1998. The continuing growth in membership numbers, particularly juniors, led to the addition of an upper floor to the Clubrooms in 2001.The clubrooms is known as Clare Butler Pavilion in memory of a very dedicated lady to the game of tennis and her encouragement to those around her. The Club changed its name to the Tasman Tennis Centre to reflect the wider geographical area that it was servicing. The original four courts were upgraded in 2005 and the clubrooms were extended again. The final phase of the development plan saw the construction of three new courts which were completed in 2007. In 2006 the Tasman Tennis Club, formerly the Richmond Tennis Club celebrated two significant milestones – 60 years since the Club was established and 50 years on the present site. This history has been researched and provided by Trish Wehner from letters and interviews with several older members of the Richmond Tennis Club, archives at the Richmond Public Library and the book “How Richmond Grew” written by Mrs. Jean Sutton.