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Club History – Historic Hawthorn clubs forge new future

In 2014, the members of Club Hawthorn and Grace Park Lawn Tennis Club unanimously agreed to join forces to create the Grace Park Hawthorn Club. The Clubs has a vision to build a new model for private sports clubs with broader range of facilities and active community engagement.

The story of the Grace Park Lawn Tennis Club is a fascinating one, both from a sporting and an historical point of view.

Grace Park Lawn Tennis Club was formed early in 1889 when two asphalt tennis courts were laid down and a wooden pavilion was built containing a lounge area and dressing rooms for ladies and gentlemen. Since the grand opening of Grace Park on 16th November 1889, the club has grown and developed a rich tennis history.

Grace Park has numbered among its members some of the all-time greats of Australian tennis – men such as Australia’s first Davis Cup captain Alf Dunlop, Harry Hopman, Frank Sedgman, Merv Rose, Paul McNamee and Pat Cash; women such as Lorna Gyton, Esna Boyd, Margaret Court and Kerry Reid. From its humble beginning, Grace Park members have won a total of 134 Grand Slam singles and doubles titles.

Our story has been put together and published in book form. Entitled “Amazing Grace”, the publication covers the Club’s history for the 100 years from 1889 to 1989. The author, Joseph Johnson, and his researcher, Clive Oliver, have presented both factual and anecdotal material, bringing the Grace Park story to life.

A very limited edition of Leather Bound copies of “Amazing Grace” is available for purchase from Grace Park for $80.00 (Plus GST). These special books have been signed by Frank Sedgman, Pat Cash, Margaret Court, and Joseph Johnson, the author.

Unsigned volumes are available at $39.95 (Plus GST). Contact the Club for purchase.

The Hawthorn Club (also known as Club Hawthorn) is a Community Sports and Social Club focused on squash and snooker. It began as The Hawthorn Cycling Club, and was formed in 1902. The name was changed to The Hawthorn Club in 1912 and to Club Hawthorn in 2009. The Founders can be seen in the picture bottom of screen, this was taken in 1902 captioned “The Hawthorn Cycling Club”.They moved to Glenferrie Rd. in 1912 when the facility was opened by Hawthorn Councilor Henry Henningsen. The squash courts were originally built in the 1930’s and have been home to a traditionally strong club since and boast world champions among its members.

Since its inception, this privately run sporting and community Club has been a highly respected establishment throughout Victoria focusing on squash and snooker .There is a rich history of success in competition squash primarily in the Club Circuit competition of which it was a foundation member. It won the State 1 pennant for 6 seasons in a row. It has boasted State champions, Australian representation and, at a Masters level, Word Title holders. The club enjoyed strong ties with the Swinburne Academics Alumni and the Hawthorn Council In 2002 The Hawthorn Club celebrated its Centenary.

Beyond squash activities included Golf, Racquetball, Walking, & Cycling groups and it has a long standing mantra to foster strong ties with the local Community, sporting groups and has had relationships with many groups such as Lions Club, Community Chest, The Salvation Army, Foundation Boroondara, and a number of local sports clubs.

In its 100 year history, it has continually updated its facilities offering Members and guests not only a first class sporting environment, but also a business, social and community facility and atmosphere.

Whilst there are many privately run clubs throughout Melbourne and Victoria, few if indeed any, can boast the hundred year history of these historic clubs.Through the formation of the Grace Park Hawthorn Club, Club Hawthorn and Grace Park Lawn Tennis Club have placed themselves in an enviable position from which it is well poised to embrace the future with as much enthusiasm and anticipation that has displayed in the last 100 years.

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