Tennis Memories

May 9, 2016

The Bingara Open Tennis Tournament which is held over the June Long Weekend turns 80 this year, the first one being held over the then Kings Birthday Weekend in June of 1936.

The first time I came to Bingara I was 18, back in 1962 and since then I have only missed one. I came up with my boyfriend and some other friends from Sydney and we stayed with his aunt and uncle at Kywarra.

We’d leave Sydney after work on Friday, drive all night, arrive, unpack the car, say hello, maybe grab a couple of hours sleep and be in town at the courts ready to play at 8.00 am on the Saturday morning.

It wasn’t unusual for players to still be on court at 11 pm to try to get all the matches through in the 2½ days.

Any rain delay never seemed to cause a problem for the players it just meant more drinking and socializing time and the match would eventually resume when the rain stopped and puddles mopped up.

The Sunday night concert – now that was a night. The ‘new’ club wasn’t yet built and the size of the club then was less than a third of what it is now and from memory I think it was a weird L shape and was basically in the area that is now the dining room.

The band comprised of Mr and Mrs Costello and their three children, Archie, June and Elaine, then the rest of the room was packed with row upon row of chairs. Once you were in there you had great difficulty in getting out. If you wanted a drink from the bar you would pass your request along the row someone would get it and it would be passed back along the row. A lot of local and visiting people provided the bulk of the entertainment in the form of skits (side splittingly funny), singing, jokes, yarns etc.

And the tennis was great too. A large crowd would come to watch the championship and special matches especially the finals on the Monday.

That’s a few of my memories of the 60’s. It would be great if some of you out there, who either played or was a spectator during the last 80 years, could jot down some of your memories or stories and send/take them into the Advocate and see if we can have some tennis stories in each week up until the Long Weekend.

Also photos – if you have any photos of any of the players (with their names and year) it would be great to have them in the paper as well. I don’t have any at all.

As I said earlier this year it is 80 years since the first Bingara Open back in 1936 and we are going to hold a Birthday Dinner at the Roxy on Saturday June 11. If you are interested in getting any more information on this please call 0429 991 747.

As it’s the 80th anniversary we may have more visitors than available accommodation. If anyone can help by billeting please contact me on the above number.

Jan Miller