Pittwater Life April 2018 Issue

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Safety First: Reducing risk on Mona Vale Rd. We Will Remember: ANZAC Day. Tina Harrod: Island Life. 40 Years' Courtship: Careel Bay Tennis Club

Careel Bay serves up

40 years of memories

Ah, the 1970s… a time

when neighbours had

time to pitch in and

build community; when progressive

dinner parties served

as fundraisers and when

no-one baulked at the idea of

turning wetlands and a rubbish

dump into tennis courts.

This year The Careel Bay

Tennis Club celebrates its 40th

anniversary with a gala morning

and a nod to all the local

families who made it happen.

The facility in Hitchcock

Park, North Avalon only exists

because of a unique collaboration

between council and the

painstaking efforts (and personal

finances) of local tennis

enthusiasts.

Two of the Club’s founding

members Kay and Ken

Howarth explained the club’s

history began in 1974 when,

after a series of pubic meetings

lobbying for sporting

facilities, the then Warringah

Council provided a grant of

land encompassing the former

rubbish dump and part of the

Careel Creek wetlands.

A steering committee of

local residents – including the

Howarths – was established to

get things rolling, with work

commencing a year later.

The mangroves were turned

over and work progressed well

but when the official opening

weekend came around things

fell a little flat.

“The Council didn’t know

that the courts needed to be

made from compacted loam,”

Kay said. “The initial surface

was just sand and as a result

the balls would not bounce…

we couldn’t play on them!”

The first loam court was

opened in 1978 and the first

of the Club’s ‘Open Championships’

was played later that

year, with the husband-andwife

combination of John Ebsary

winning the Men’s Singles

title and Betty Ebsary winning

the Ladies Singles.

EARLY DAYS: Careel Bay's first 'clubhouse' was a humble shed (above);

members and kids literally dug deep to help deliver the new Clubhouse,

which opened in 1983 (below). FAMILIAR FACES: Two of the club's founding

members, Kay and Ken Howarth, remain active in the Club today (right).

Kay explained the members

would spend weekends and

any spare time beautifying

and maintaining the facilities.

“It was a different world

back then, we’d have working

bees to clear the land, build

the gardens and lay pavers…

everybody gave their time and

effort and for the first five or

six years everything was run

on a voluntary basis,” Kay

recalled.

It was no surprise locals

rallied when it came time

to replace the tin shed that

served as the clubhouse with

something a little more accommodating.

Fundraisers were held, including

fashion parades, progressive

dinners and chook

raffles, however it was evident

a larger chunk of money was

needed so several generous

families loaned savings to

cover the shortfall.

The plan for the clubhouse

was chosen from sketches submitted

by Club members – Sue

Stephens was the winner and

local architect Bruce James

drew up the plans – the build

was supported by members

who worked on the courts and

surrounds and later a few additions

and a lower ceiling.

The Clubhouse was opened

in 1983 by then Warringah

Mayor Paul Couvret, with an

exhibition of tennis featuring

local icons Adrienne Avis and

Teresa Stapp together with

Davis Cup player John Alexander

and the Club’s 1983 ‘Men’s

Singles Champion’ Murray

Coddington.

Many of the founding mem-

40 APRIL 2018

The Local Voice Since 1991

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