Thursday, September 21, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
The Mackay Tennis Association celebrated its centenary in style earlier this month, hosting a grand dinner with over 160 attendees, including the evening's keynote speaker, Mr Rob Barty, proud father of former World Number One and multiple grand slam champion, Ashleigh Barty.
Gathering for a night of nostalgia, celebration and appreciation for 100 years of Tennis in Mackay, the event brought together tennis enthusiasts, local dignitaries and special guests, including current club Patron Mayor Greg Williamson, State Member for Mackay Mrs Julieanne Gilbert and Tennis Qld CEO Mr Kim Kachel.
Attendees enjoyed dinner on ‘centre court’, which provided a novel and unique setting for the evening. Several past players and long-standing members of the association shared their fond memories and experiences of playing tennis in Mackay.
One of the highlights of the evening was the tennis memorabilia auction, arranged by the club alongside the efforts of the Barty family and Tennis Qld. This impressive display included rackets and signed pieces from past and current Australian players, as well as items from Ash Barty’s 2022 Australian Open win and a signed Rod Laver racket.
A unique event was the fashion show, where members paraded varying tennis fashions from the last century, illustrating not only how the game has evolved but also how fashion trends have influenced the sport. The runway showcased tennis equipment and attire from modest, ankle-length dresses, long trousers and wooden rackets of the early 1900s to the colourful and contemporary outfits of today's players.
Mayor Williamson also took the opportunity to commend the MTA for its remarkable contribution to the community.
“This association is, and always has been, completely volunteer run, which in itself is a remarkable achievement,” Mayor Williamson said.
“They’ve still got a strong membership and have players young and old on the courts – it really is one of those sports that caters to all ages.”
Mr Barty, shared his perspective on the journey of his daughter Ash. He shared invaluable lessons that Ash learned during her childhood and career, which helped foster a mindset that not only shaped her as a tennis player, but as a role model both on and off the court.
The centenary dinner served as a fitting tribute to a century of tennis excellence, camaraderie and community spirit in the Mackay region.
Contributed by Wes Rose
Current MTA committee members: Ben, Ann, Sue, Joyce, Brett and Ken
Dinner on centre court
Mr and Mrs Wallace, Rob Barty, Maxine Richardson (Auctioneer), Kim Kachel (TQ CEO) with a signed Ash Barty shirt. Photos supplied