100 Years of History at Nepean Tennis
Created by Neil Renaud - Life Member & Club Historian
The First Known Tennis Club
Just before Christmas in 1892 the Presbyterian Lady Workers’ Association instructed its representative Mr P. Freeth to approach the management of the Penrith Agricultural Showground for use of part of the Showground on which to have courts made for tennis and croquet. At least on the tennis side he succeeded, because by January 1893 a court had been made. At the same time subscriptions for a proposed Penrith Lawn Tennis Club were being taken and by mid-February many members were enrolled. On Wednesday 15 February a large group of them assembled to play on the new court, attracting a good deal of attention from passers-by. This was the first recorded playing of tennis on a court in Penrith. Mr Freeth was made captain and secretary of the club, with colours of light blue and cream adopted.
Meanwhile another group which became interested in tennis was the Penrith Superior Public School, which had its own court. A number of matches were played between the School team and the Penrith Club. By 1895 the Penrith Lawn Tennis Club seems to have disappeared, but the game was now established, though little is mentioned for the next five years, indicating a decline.
The First Tennis Association
By 1899 there is mention of new clubs – St Marys, St Stephens and others. After 1900 many tennis clubs sprang up in the Penrith area, but despite frequent social matches between them, they were not organised as a group, though prior to 1914 some Penrith clubs were playing in the Granville Association competitions. In January 1914 Reg Benton, secretary of the Castlereagh Tennis Club, suggested that there were enough clubs in the area to form an association, like the cricket association, to manage tennis in the district. A meeting was held in the Penrith School of Arts on 5 February. Seven clubs were represented and the Nepean District (Lawn) Tennis Association was formed, with an affiliation fee of 7/6d per club and a boundary enclosing the area within a 12 mile radius of the Penrith Post Office. The first office bearers were Dr Frederick Higgins (President), Mr H. Tyrrell (Secretary) and Mr E. Hollier (Treasurer).