St Jude's Tennis Club fights to save history

SAVE our club.

That is the message from the president of the St Jude’s Tennis Club, Trevor Lock.

After 75 years of serving the community, the club is on the verge of closing down.

Lock, who is the club's president, is calling on the community to take action.

He is hoping tennis enthusiasts will rally behind the historic club.

Lock said it would be disappointing for a community asset like the tennis courts to just disappear.

“It will be a shame to lose it,” he said.  

“These are other courts around, but St Jude’s is unique.

“The club is still in a good financial position and we just want to hand it over to someone because the courts are an asset.”

Lock, who has been involved with the club for decades, said it was time he handed the club over to someone else who loved  tennis as much as he does.

He said his family had filled the roles of the caretaker committee for many years.

“Last June I wanted to wind up the club, but then Tennis Victoria caught wind of what we were going to do and convinced us not to close,” Lock said.

The club is hosting an open day later this month to encourage people to get involved with the club.

“We haven’t appealed to the community for many years,” Lock said.

“I am sure there are people in the community who don’t want to see these tennis courts close down.

“We want to have people who are willing to get involved.

"It's facilities are excellent, but a new body and driving force is needed to re-establish and ensure St Jude's Tennis Club's ongoing presence."

Lock said the courts, which are situated on Taylor Street in California Gully, have transformed dramatically since they first opened 75 years ago.

“We operated on just bitumen and asphalt and we had soft chicken wire netting put up on Rose Street in California Gully,” he said.  

“In the 1970s we then pulled it down and concreted everything, built our own clubhouse and put up all the lights.  

“The members resurfaced their courts applying their very own formula to create green coloured anti-slip courts.”

Lock said many great memories had been made on the courts either socially or through competitions.

He said many local identities and sporting families have all had a hit on the courts.

“We had 25 teams competing here at one stage,” Lock said.

“It was when tennis teams were booming across the association.

“Nowadays Bendigo only has about 13 teams and Eaglehawk has 14 teams in the whole competition.”

Lock said teachers and students at California Gully primary school were keen to see the courts stay. 

The St Jude's Tennis Club open day will be held on February 28 between 4.30pm and 7pm. 

Junior Hot Shots and Cardio Tennis will be available to play on the day as well as a sausage sizzle. 

For more information about the St Jude's Tennis Club, contact Trevor Lock on 0428 070 062.

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