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Written by Colin Edwards   
Saturday, 17 July 2010 16:43

An excerpt from the book, Burwood Tennis Club celebrating 100 years of tennis.

 

To be awarded Life Membership of the Club is the highest award that the members can bestow on a fellow member. Life Membership is a recognition and reward for outstanding service to the Club over a prolonged period of time. The criteria for selection is understandably fairly strict, but flexible enough to allow for special circumstances. The Executive Committee of Management (The Committee) will consider any nominations for Life Membership, and weigh up the merit of the member receiving this award. Once the Committee votes to award Life Membership, this vote must be ratified by the members at the Annual General Meeting. Upon endorsement of the members, the member receives a Life Member Badge (pictured), and a framed Life Member Certificate. Over 100 years just 20 members have been bestowed Life Membership. A framed honour board hangs in the Clubhouse which lists all Life Members. Here is a short summary of the service these members gave to the Club.

E.J. (Ted) Birch


President - 1 Year - (1946)
Vice President - 11 Years - (1936 - ‘45) (1949)
Secretary - 4 Years - (1942 - ‘45)
Secretary - 4 Years - (1942 - ‘45)
Treasurer - 4 Years - (1942 – ‘45)
Club Captain - 4 years - (1936 - ‘38) (1940)
On Committee - 18 Years - (1933 - ‘50)
Club Champion - 5 Times - (1929 - ’32) (1937)
Ted joined the Club in 1927, joining the Committee 6 years later. Ted effectively was Burwood Tennis Club during the War Years. With the membership dwindling to less than 20 at one point, if not for Ted acting as Secretary, Treasurer and Vice President during the War, the Club may well have gone under. His wife Lilian, also a Club Champion in 1929 and 1938, was a great worker around the Club and helped Ted ensure the Club survived those extremely challenging years.

 

Alf Seedsman


President - 5 Years - (1953 - ’57)
Vice President - 1 Year - (1952)
On Committee - 7 Years (1951 – ’57)
Selection Committee - 2 Years (1952) (1956)
Alf was typically a very hard worker around the Club. Alf was President at a time when membership was low, so despite some negativity, he chose to advertise for members Amongst the first batch of new members were Nick Papas, John Ferguson and Jean Whitehead, all of whom would become Life Members.

 

Fred Archer


President - 3 Years - (1958 - ’59) (1978)
Club Captain - 9 Years - (1955 -57) (1961-62) (1967) (1970 - 72)
Vice Captain - 10 Years (1958 - 1980)
Selection Committee - 12 Years (1955 - ’80)
On Committee - 20 Years (1948 - ’78)
Court Maintenance - 6 Years
Club Champion - 2 Times - (1959) (1961)
Fred was a once in a million member, hard worker, passionate about the Club, the courts, and tennis. Fred was charismatic, he was loud and proud of it. Fred was unique, and the Club loved him for it.

 

Ken Thomson


Vice President - 1 Year – (1962)
On Committee - 6 Years – (1948) (1955 – ’57)
Ken was probably better known for the work he did off the Committee. The perennial behind the scenes worker. In fact it is fair to say the bulk of Ken’s work went unnoticed by the average member, as they were either working, or in bed at the time Ken was out on the courts. In particular he worked solidly alongside Fred Archer ensuring the courts were well maintained. The best accolade you could give Ken was that he was nominated for Life Membership by Fred Archer, one of the hardest workers in the Club’s history

 

Nick Papas


President - 6 Years - (1961 - ’63) (1965 - ’67)
Vice President - 2 Years - (1958 & 1960)
Club Captain - 2 Years - (1958 - ’59)
Treasurer - 1 Year - (1959)
Trustee -7 Years - (1962 - ’63) (1966 - ’70)
On Committee - 14 Years - (1954 - ‘67)
Nick joined the Club in 1953. Apart from serving on the Committee, his first job was court maintenance, a big job in itself. Or as Nick advises, he was asked by Bill French to be the court ‘look-er-after-er’ and to ‘beware of the pudding’ and later discovered it was a type of weed. A hard worker and an affable and easy going man with a great sense of humour.

 

Fred Rollo

President - 4 Years - (1971 - 1974)
Vice President - 1 Year (1970)
Club Auditor - 3 Years (1967 - ’69)
On Committee - 7 Years - (between 1963 - ’74)
Vice Captain - 1 year (1964)
Selection Committee - 1 year (1962)
Club Champion - 4 Times - (1962 - ’64) (1966)
Fred was driven to succeed, so it was no surprise he became a distinguished Naval Officer, Club President, and an A Grade tennis player. Fred played tennis with a fierce desire to win. Fred and his wife Nancy were great supporters of the Club.



Myrtle Wright


On Committee - 3 Years - (1957 - 1960)
Myrtle Wright’s name is synonymous with hard work she was the perennial worker around the Club. If someone was needed, Myrtle was there, if something needed to be done, Myrtle would do it. Equally if Myrtle thought someone wasn’t carrying their weight she had no hesitation in letting them know. A true character of the Club. Myrtle never missed an Annual General Meeting



Tom Edwards


President - 2 Years - (1976 - ’77)
On Committee - 4 Years - (1974) (1976 - ’78)
Tom was not a man for Committees, he would rather get in and get his hands dirty. Although when the Club needed him, he stood as President for 2 years. Despite his son Alan, and daughter Denise both being Club Champions, Tom wasn’t renowned for his tennis ability, but rather for his ‘inventive’ style. Those who knew Tom will recall his famous ‘shovel’ shot, stand facing the net, legs apart, both hands on the racquet and then shovel the ball to the left or right.



Bruce Brown


President - 2 Years - (1980 - ’81)
Vice President - 1 Year - (1974)
Treasurer - 4 Years - (1975 - ’78)
Club Captain - 2 Years - (1977 - ’78)
Club Auditor - 5 Years - (1982 - ’85) (1989)
Selection Committee - 3 Years - (1976 - ’77) (1981)
On Committee - 8 Years - (1974 - ’89)
Bruce was involved in everything, he was passionate about Burwood, and he worked hard to ensure Burwood would become the strength it is today. A determined yet relatively quiet man. Bruce was also responsible for enticing Fran Coggins onto the Committee which proved a very good move.



Cliff Wallace


Vice President - 2 Years – (1975 – ’76)
Club Auditor - 5 Years – (1975 - ’79)
Vice Captain - 3 Years - (1974) (1976) (1978)
Selection Committee - 1 Year - (1978)
On Committee - 4 Years (between 1972 - ‘76)
Cliff, like Fred and Tom before him, was a worker, who found himself on Committee. He wouldn’t search out any specific positions, but if needed, he was there. Cliff maintained the courts, and as such, he enforced that courts needed to be bagged and watered after every set, something he policed.

Jean Whitehead


On Committee - 9 Years - (between 1953 - ’70)
Club Trustee - 7 Years - (1965 - ’71)
Vice Captain – 4 Years - (1958 - ’61)
Treasurer - 1 Year - (1971)
Selection Committee – 1 Year – (1971)
Club Champion – 1 Year – (1958)
Jean was a fierce competitor on court and she did not enjoy losing. Off the court Jean was a tireless worker for the Club. Passionate, direct and strong willed, some may even say stubborn. But whether you agreed or disagreed, you had to respect her.

 

Bruce Hall


Vice President - 2 Years - (1971) (1977)
Committee - 8 Years - (1965 - 69) (1971) (1977-78)
Selection Committee - 5 Years - (1965 - 1983)
Vice Captain - 2 Years – (1966) (1968)
Junior Convenor - 1 Year – (1969)

 

Bruce was always a committed hard worker on the Committee, but importantly he worked just as hard when he was not on the Committee assisting with general maintenance of the courts, the juniors and the Club itself. Bruce was a strong man, a builder by trade, and his game was based around that strength, big first serve, and a flat forehand drive.

 

 

John Ferguson


Committee - 7 Years - (1954 - ’58) (1961) (1964)
Club Trustee - 3 Years - (1962 - ’64)
Selection Committee - 2 Years - (1964-’65)
Club ESTA Delegate - 1 Year - (1961)
John was never one to seek the limelight, preferring to be a worker behind the scenes. Whilst serving on the Committee for 7 years, he was always a committed worker. John served on the Tournament Committee with Nick Papas, his good friend and business partner since the war. With John it didn’t matter whether he was serving on Committees, or doing maintenance jobs, you could rely on John.

 

Larry Wright


Club Captain - 1 Year - (1964)
Junior Convenor - 1 Year - (1964)
Selection Committee - 5 Years - (1964) (1969) (1972) (1974) (1982)
Vice Captain - 1 Year - (1972)
On Committee - 2 Years - (1964) (1982)
Club Champion - 1 Time - (1965)

Larry would eventually become the Maintenance Supervisor, but regardless of the title, he was always willing to help when help was needed. He was also an A Grade player, with an aggressive game, winning the title in 1965, and Runner Up numerous times to his doubles partner Fred Rollo.

 

Ron Simpson


On Committee - 25 Years - (1985 - 2009)
Court / Club Maintenance - 25 Years -(1995 - 2009)
Vice President - 1 Year - (1995)
Ron is the longest serving Committee Member in the Club’s history, serving 25 consecutive years on the Committee. Ron has taken this role from basic maintenance to clubhouse manager. For many years Ron was Night Tennis Convenor on Tuesday nights. A phenomenal worker one of the greatest in the Club’s history. In 2006 the club named the grandstand the Ron Simpson Stand.



Fran Coggins


President - 4 Years - (1999 - 2002)
Club Captain - 4 Years - (1981) (1984 - ’85) (2005)
Secretary - 3 Years - (1986) (1990 - ’91)
Treasurer - 5 Years - (1982 - ’83) (2007-09)
On Committee - 29 years - (1980 - 2009)
Been a Member - 29 Years - (1980 - 2009)
Fran also had 10 year’s service on the Burwood Recreation Reserve Committee, representing the Club. A passionate, forthright and direct lady, with an insatiable appetite for a challenge. Especially when the challenge involves negotiating with Council, eg. The New Clubhouse and the Court Loan Guarantor.



Alan Tyson


President - 5 Years - (1992 ’ – 96)
Vice President - 1 Year – (1991)

Club Captain - 3 Years – (1986 – ‘88)

Building Finance Committee - 5 Years
Selection Committee - 5 Years (1984 – 1992)
Alan will best be remembered as the driving force behind the building of the new Clubhouse. At a time when there were constant setbacks, he convinced the Committee we not only could win, but we would win. Alan was a quiet spoken man, who let his actions speak for him. No nonsense, just do it.

 

Keith Story


President - 1 Year - (1979)
Vice President - 1 Year - (1978)
Club Captain - 1 Year - (1980)
Selection Committee - 2 Years - (1979) (1981)
On Committee – 4 Years – (1978 – 80) (1983)
When President, Keith instigated the Inaugural Juniors Club Championship in 1979. However, Keith is perhaps best known for his role as the ‘permanent’, yet unofficial Maintenance assistant for Ron Simpson. Keith was also a very capable A Grade tennis player, with great touch, and surprising power when needed.

 

Natalie Bacon


Junior Convenor - 12 Years - (1998 - 2009)
On Committee - 18 Years - (1992 - 2009)
Pennant Secretary - 2 Years - (1996 - 97)
Club Champion – 3 Times – (1997) (2000) (2002)
For 12 years Natalie has done arguably the most important, and certainly the most challenging job on the Committee, looking after the kids, the future of the Club. As one of the senior Toptenn Coaches Natalie has a great rapport with the kids. In the early years, Natalie also acted as the Editor of Sidelines, our in-house newsletter. On court Natalie hits a firm flat forehand and is a strong volleyer.

 

Colin Edwards


President - 7 years - (2003 - ’09)
Vice President - 1 Year - (2002)
Club Captain - 2 Years - (1979) (2002)
Selection Committee - 8 Years - (1979 - ‘08)
On Committee - 13 Years (1979 - ’09)
Been a Member since 1973 - 37 Consecutive Years
~ Never easy to talk about oneself ~
I believe the two most critical elements for the survival of a Club are: You must cultivate and nurture the kids, as they are the future of the Club. You must always look to the future; but you are duty bound to respect and acknowledge the past. Without the blood, sweat and tears of the past, there would be no future.

The History of our Club is now available - only $19.95

  • 265 Page Hard Cover Book
  • Over 300 Photographs
  • The Origins of the Club in 1907
  • The Challenging years including the
  • Great Depression & 2 World Wars
  • Characters of the Club
  • Humorous anecdotes and memories
  • Club Champions & Life Members
  • The Major events that shaped the club
  • New Clubhouse / courts / surviving
  • Droughts / Incorporation / First coach
  • Development of Juniors / Pennant
  • Inception of Midweek Ladies
  • The Culture of the club, and much more

To purchase book contact
Greg, Ron or Colin.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 December 2010 07:14