September 26th, 2021The Last Word: Daylesford Lawn Tennis Club
HELEN Jenkin joined the Daylesford Lawn Tennis Club as a player in 1967, before becoming secretary the following year, holding the position until 1970. She was also president for two years from 1987 and started running the juniors for 10 years from 1997.
Apart from her committee roles, Helen was always a keen tennis player and won the club championships in 1992-1993 season and was runner-up many times. She also got current coach Brian Carr started in 1985 – and he is still going strong in 2021.
With the club keen to ensure that its history and heritage is protected and archived, Helen chatted with club historian Dianne Van Baalen about her connection over the years.
“I was born in 1944 and grew up in Kooroocheang, a tiny farming town. Kooroocheang had two asphalt courts, a primary school, a post office and a church. My mother was a good tennis player, and I grew up with tennis. Mum played with the Newstead Tennis Association, and I went along when I was little. I think Kooroocheang had two teams.
“I think mum played in Castlemaine. After going to high school, I would get off the school bus at Kooroocheang Primary School and coach the younger ones at the two courts next door to the school. I was 11 or 12. I guess by today’s terms I was an unofficial hotshots coach.
“I played and was coached in the Mt Prospect Tennis Association and played A grade at 16 in Lawrence near Smeaton with my first cousin.
“I got married in 1967 to Jeff Jenkin and we lived on a property in Musk, and I continued playing with my cousin as my tennis partner. But because of the travelling I was getting home too late, so I started to play at Daylesford. My husband Jeff was busy playing golf.
“I was on the committee of the Ballarat Tennis Association. It covered a big area. Country Week was run at Swan Hill, Albury, Wodonga and Shepparton. Our team had its own windcheaters and played lots of tournaments. Daylesford LTC ran its own huge tournament on the Labour Day long weekend for many years. Teams came from all around but mainly from Melbourne. We had A, B and C divisions and junior events. The ladies catered with sandwiches and cakes, and it was always very hot, so we had a drinks kiosk in the current old mower shed under the existing club house. We served drinks and also had an old ice bath – there were lots of beers consumed from the bar under the tennis club.
“Daylesford Lawn Tennis Club was originally at the Daylesford Bowling Club but then it moved to its current location in West Street. Draft horses with leather shoes levelled the original upper courts and later we built 10 grass courts below, which are all in use today. We added four hard courts later on, on council land which was land-locked and rented from council on a 99-year lease.
“We ran clinics for schools including Daylesford, Hepburn and Bullarto. I ran these and my Saturdays were dedicated to tennis. I left home at 8.30am on Saturdays and got home at 7pm. I would run the juniors from 9am to noon and then my daughters and I would play for the afternoon competition.
“I used to pick children up on my way into the club but then people started seeing it as a baby-sitting service. As years went on, we started to get too many little ones, just six years old and hard to teach. The courts were so full we decided only children in grade 6 could start.”
Ms Van Baalen said the club was keen to find lost history with the Daylesford and District Historical Society also on board.
“If any community members have information, memorabilia, photos etc that may be of interest to the club or Daylesford and District Historical Society then we would love to hear from them. The society will archive the material and it will be returned to its owners,” she said.
“We are a welcoming and inclusive not-for-profit club that wants to increase active living and social inclusion within our community. We hope this history project will engage past, present and hopefully future members.”
Daylesford Lawn Tennis Club has 10 grass courts and will start this year’s tennis season with a Welcome Week from October 21 to 27. The activities are open to everyone, and it is free.
Details: daylesfordtennis.com or Daylesford Lawn Tennis Club Facebook page.
(All activities are subject to Covid restrictions.)
Details: daylesfordtennis.com or DLTC Facebook page.