In the early 1890′s an ex student of Brisbane Grammar was reported in Scottish literature playing for Edinburgh University and achieving some pretty good results.
This was Arthur B Carvosso who was a student from 1876 to 1881 which corresponds with a new tennis set arriving with new English head master Reginald Roe. After completing his BA in Sydney he returned to the school as a science teacher from 1884 to 1888. He decided to further he career by becoming a doctor and so headed for Edinburgh University to gain this qualification. Newspaper articles show that he was regarded as an excellent player prior to leaving and when attending EU quickly adopted tennis as his main pursuit joining the University Team and the famous Whiteside TC. In his first year 1890 he was in the University second team but by 1891 had been promoted to the front rank.
Courtesy Brisbane Grammar School
In a stellar year, Arthur entered and won the Open Singles of the Scottish Tennis Championships (but lost in the Challenge round against the defending champion), followed by the South of Scotland Championships a feat he repeated in 1892 along with the North of Scotland championships and Universities of Edinburgh championships.
As such, we cannot record any earlier “major” tournament win overseas by an Australian. Dr. Wilberforce Eaves was only just commencing his tournament journey and played his first Wimbledon in 1892 and was probably the most prominent Australian expat during this era. Carvosso, was reported to have a very strong forehand and deadly overhead smash.
In 1893, Arthur was a team member of the successful Whiteside TC in the all of England inter-club championships played in London which was a highly regarded event containing many of the top rank players.
Having qualified, Arthur returned to Australia in 1894 and was an active community doctor and parent on the Brisbane Grammar School Old Boys Association committee for many years.
As an historian half the fun is locating information and in this case we contacted Brisbane Grammar School, who kindly supplied the photo and some excellent pics came from a very rare book called Apsects of Scottish Lawn Tennis in which a mention of an Australian was made in the text accompanying the team photo. Edinburgh University had little information and the Wimbledon Museum as able to find some valuable snippets. The most significant project was to find some Carvosso relatives here in Australia. With such a distinctive name within a couple of phone calls I found a granddaughter who put me in touch with other family members. The hope to find old trophies and photos was dashed when we learnt that many of the silver trophies were melted to produce a silver tray in return for a debt arising from Arthur attending Edinburgh.
Luckily however we did receive this fantastic photo of the only surviving 1891 trophy, courtesy of the Carvosso family.