HOLDING COURT: Life Member Lester Schwerin, Blackbutt Tennis club President Deb Palmer and SBRC Councillor Gavin Jones.
HOLDING COURT: Life Member Lester Schwerin, Blackbutt Tennis club President Deb Palmer and SBRC Councillor Gavin Jones. Hazel Christie-Small

Renos give new life to tennis

TENNIS It just didn't seem right: The good folks of Blackbutt had pulled together the many thousands of dollars needed to build a life-size statue of their local son and tennis great, Roy Emerson, yet there was no usable tennis courts in town.

The courts had fallen into disrepair after the tennis club closed about eight years ago.

Flooding caused significant damage so, if a pair of families wanted to get together for a social game of mixed doubles, their closest court was about 20km down the road in Yarraman.

Noelene Bird and group of concerned citizens got together to fix the problem.

"The 2013 flood did the most damage but, because there was no committee at the time, there was no-one to do anything about it,” Bird said.

With the help of a $23,000 grant from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund, the group resurfaced the court.

They organised a cent auction and a working bee to clean up the club house.

They pulled up the carpet and polished the pock marks out of the concrete below.

The lighting around the courts was completely ruined.

"The poles had white ants,” Mrs Bird said.

"They needed new connection, new wiring and new meter box and had dig a new trench for the new connection, as well as put up new poles.”

At present the club is waiting on additional funds before they finish the lighting.

"So there's no night time games yet,” Bird said.

"The toilets still need an upgrade, they don't look very attractive.

"They're usable, just not very inviting,” she said.

The South Burnett Regional Council chipped by waiving their unpaid rates.

"I think it was about $1000 and it was going to be a fair whack if we had to find it.

"That was the total of the cent auction, almost.”

Now that the bulk of the work is done, the club has officially re-opened with playing members, social members and assorted guests and dignitaries meeting for a morning tea and a few friendly games on Sunday.

Bird said all were welcome to join the club and enjoy the new courts.

"I'd like to see all ages getting involved in some way at some point.

"These days we all need a bit of fitness and I say to my friends who can't play, 'We can just have a hit and giggle'.

"We're all in our 60s and 70s and the knees are going and everything else is going but social tennis can just be good hit and yarn.”

To join the club or for more information about hiring the venue for social event, phone 4163 0413.

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