Club History in Brief
The Shirley Tennis Club was formed in 1925 through the enthusiasm of the late Mr. Norman A Baggs who was a local resident. The first court was put down in concrete with asphalt dressing at the cost of sixty-seven pounds ten shillings less 2.5 percent discount. Mr. JA Flesher, a former Mayor of Christchurch, was elected the first President with other prominent residents of the district accepting the office of Vice Presidents. The membership at this stage was about 40 and the first opening day was held on 24 October 1925. From the commencement of the Club in 1925 it had affiliated with the Canterbury Lawn Tennis Association and has always been loyal to the Association. By 1928 there were three courts and a volley board was erected.
1930 saw a new pavilion opened to replace the original storage shed and a disk system was introduced for Saturday afternoon play. A fourth court was laid in 1933. In 1942 endeavors were made to foster junior tennis in the Club. In 1946 the Club and the Christchurch City Council approved Sunday play before 10am and after 1pm. The Canterbury Junior Lawn Tennis Association was formed in 1949 and Shirley Club became affiliated.
Over the years several members of the Club have been elected to positions within Canterbury and New Zealand Tennis. Some of the early ones were: Mr. A Hatch-President CLTA in 1959, Mr. C Palmer-Management Committee 1960, Mr. A Hatch-President NZLTA 1961 and Mr. A Hatch-Life Member CLTA 1964.
In 1970 the local Shirley Round Table group used the Club Pavilion for meetings.
In 1972 the Club combined with the Burwood and Shirley Bowling Clubs to form a group known as Shirwood Sports Club as a fundraising project to run Housie at Christchurch RFC. This ran until 1977.
In 1972 courts 1 & 2 were laid in porous concrete. By 1973 the senior membership had grown to 141 and the junior membership to 235. The 50th Jubilee was celebrated in 1974. Courts 3,4 &5 were re-laid in porous concrete in 1975.
In 1980 the first W McIntosh Veterans Mixed Doubles Tournament was held in memory of a long time Club member and Life member who had passed away in 1978.
A new pavilion was completed and opened in 1987. Jenny Kilday was elected the first woman President of the Club in the same year.
In 1989 Mr. T Withers who had been a long time servant of the Club and the first professional coach at the Club passed away. The Shirley Tennis Club competed in a new national league competition and finished 3rd.
5 courts were laid in synthetic grass in 1993. The first Shirley Junior Open Tournament was organized and run by Mr. W Turner and the first Shirley Vets Tournament was organized and run by Mr. P Roberts in 1995.
A computerised draw system for organized play was introduced in 1998. Courts 6 & 7 were laid in synthetic grass just before the 75th Jubilee was celebrated in 1999.
The 2008/09 season saw the addition of 2 hardcourts on the land previously occupied by the Shirley Bowling Club. This took the Club to nine courts which was important with the growth of our Club membership.
The 2009/10 season saw the an upgrade to the Clubrooms with new carpets, lights, chairs, cabinets and painting all completed.
The devastating earthquakes in February 2011 saw damage to all 9 courts and the Clubrooms - the worst damage of all Clubs in Christchurch. This damage (see earthquake recovery section) essentially took the Club out of action for a summer season. Through the tenacity of the membership who put in many hours at working bees, the Club has bounced back with the full replacement of 4 courts and a pending replacement of the Clubrooms. Further work is still required on the remaining five courts, and as part of the recovery, plans have put in place for the addition of court lighting.
Shirley Tennis Club has been fortunate in having so many keen members who have helped in many ways to keep the Club in such good condition with nine courts situated in attractive surroundings. The Club has always been a family club with parents and children as members. It is heartening to see that many of its members have retained their interest in the Club throughout its history.