After the First World War
After 21 years of being excluded women were readmitted in 1925.
Click on both images to read communication between Kings Park Board and the Club in 1921 and 1925
The incorporation of ladies as auxiliary members in 1925 had positive ramifications for the Club. It allowed for the extension of land (granted by the Kings Park Board), and the development of six new courts on the southern boundary for their exclusive use. The Pavilion and new Members Stand were also constructed, and accommodation for Ladies change rooms were included.
The main pavilion was built in 1926 and is a wonderful example of period architecture. The McGibbon Stand was built in 1935. Both buildings are heritage listed.
In 1928 the club achieved a major first for tennis in Western Australia when it hosted an international match between Australia and France. Jack Crawford, who with Gerald Patterson and Harry Hopman made up the Australian team, described the clash as “perhaps the best tennis ever seen in Australia”. The French team included Borotra and Brugnon. Borotra later wrote that after travelling around the world it was left to a “little place like Perth” to provide the best courts anywhere for him to play on.
In those days, Australia was a month’s voyage from Europe and Perth was (and still is) one of the most isolated capitals in the world. To the champions of the Eastern States, WA seemed as far away as Europe, but they still made the long journey to grace the courts at King’s Park.
After the Second World War
In 1947 the club made its third and final name change to become the Royal King’s Park Tennis Club.
In 1953 Royal King’s Park Tennis Club hosted its first Davis Cup tie which was between Belgium and India.
During the 1950’s and 1960’s Australia entered its golden era of tennis and, of the WA tennis clubs, only Royal King’s Park Tennis Club was host to our most famous champions. Firstly there were Sedgman and McGregor, then the mighty Hoad and Rosewall. Laver, Newcombe, Cooper, Fraser, Anderson, Emerson followed.
In 1963 the Club agreed to erect a building to hold squash courts on the site of the existing Old Wooden Pavilion. It was opened in 1965 and the building subsequently became known as the Eastman Building.
The modern era
Since the early 80’s the club has hosted Davis Cup ties between Australia and visiting countriesSince the early 80’s the club has hosted Davis Cup ties between Australia and visiting countries including Yugoslavia (as it was called in 1984), France, Belgium, Ecuador and Morocco. During the 80’s and 90’s Pat Cash, John Alexander, Mark Edmondson, John Fitzgerald, and doubles specialists Peter McNamara and Paul McNamee all played at the club during these Davis Cup ties. Over recent years grand slam winners like Patrick Rafter, Lleyton Hewitt and Todd Woodbridge have played for Australia at Royal King’s Park Tennis Club.
The new Next Gen building, with gymnasium, squash courts, swimming pools and social facilities, was opened in 2007. This building replaced the Eastman building. The rooftop pool terrace of the Next Gen building provides an opportunity to view the full magnificence of the park’s natural canopy of trees with the City of Perth skyline as a backdrop.
For those interested in more detail, “The McGibbon Years” is a history of the first 50 years of Royal King’s Park Tennis Club, researched and written by long time club members Lindsay Cox and his son Graeme. A coffee table book is also available for purchase – please contact the Club office for more information.