Arriving in Queensland

by admin on July 4, 2008

While we have been searching for information on the history of tennis arriving in Australia via some official sporting association whether cricket or croquet, this wonderful story from the 1888 Courier Mail has opened up the simple possibility that a visiting teacher may well have brought the first private tennis set with them for the entertainment of students.

Here we have the first tennis game arriving to Queensland in August 1876, by visiting Brisbane Grammar Schoolmaster, Mr Reginald H.Roe. By comparison, in Tasmania, our earliest reference is January 1876 via a retail store ad, so sometime prior, what happened in Queensland may have equally occurred in Tasmania.

Interestingly from the article it states that by the end of that year, enough players had been assembled to create what may well have been Australia’s first Lawn Tennis Club and they were certainly also very quick to form a tennis association as the number of clubs grew.

CM8-3-1888 QLD tennis arrival1876 roe























































































We know from subsequent research that Australian Champions Pat and Arthur O’Hara Woods father attended the school when Reginald Roe arrived hence no doubt stimulatíng a tennis family.  Equally, the earliest known Australian to win an overseas major tournament was another Brisbane student from 1876 Arthur Carvosso, who years later studying medicine at Edinburgh University won the 1891 Scottish Open Singles event and other tournaments.

The retail sporting goods trade soon flourished and under the racquet retailing section you will see two Queensland tennis advertisements from late 1877.

Over the next decade various clubs were developed and eventually a state Lawn Tennis Association was formed from which Inter-colonial matches began leading to the Australian Championships. Please read below all the amazing history about the first clubs, courts, location, membership numbers etc. Note that the reference to the net being particularly high and the early scoring to 15 points supports the view that this was a very early “Sphairistike” set designed by Major Wingfield.

Many of the articles on our website come from the National Library’s Newspaper Beta Program which allows online keyword searching. This is a fabulous online service which allows this sort of material to be found, without spending hours (more likely years) in the libraries.


1937 student recount Brisbane Grammar

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