Eley Park Tennis Club was formed in 2011 as a result of the successful merger between Blackburn South Tennis Club and Bennettswood Tennis Club.
Blackburn South Tennis Club was founded in 1967. Three courts were constructed and a small shed served as the clubhouse. Over the early years a further five porous courts were built and the present clubhouse was completed. In its prime the club hosted over 700 members. In 1980 a night tennis competition was started and soon became a feature of the club. With the development of Saturday and Sunday retail trading weekend tennis declined as did membership numbers. However, the growth in night tennis enabled the club to remain strong financially and also maintain membership numbers.
Bennettswood Tennis Club was formed in 1966 with courts being used in Cornell St. Camberwell. The Bennettswood site, on Burwood Highway, was developed in 1969 with four courts and the construction of the clubhouse. Later on three more courts were added resulting in 7 porous courts. Lighting of the courts was considered in the 1980’s, objections from the neighbours prevented the installation and probably impacted on likely growth in membership of the club. The expansion of Deakin University also resulted in many of the residences in the area being converted to Student rental accommodation. Unfortunately family and junior membership suffered.
The relationship between Blackburn South and Bennettswood Tennis Clubs has always been strong, both clubs began in the 1960s and held similar shared values. The clubs shared social events, ran joint tournaments and shared players across teams. The long drought during the 2000’s severely impacted on the ageing facilities at both clubs. The Committees at both Clubs recognised their respective limitations for future viability (with out-dated club facilities) and saw the opportunity to re-develop the Eley Park tennis precinct. The committees of both clubs joined forces in 2007 and approached the City of Whitehorse with a joint proposal to secure a long term, sustainable community tennis facility.
Identifying the values and needs of the clubs and developing a “vision for the future” with a 5 year business plan, the clubs presented a proposal to the City of Whitehorse to merge, release the property at Burwood Hwy to the community and redevelop the Eley Park site. With support from Tennis Australia and the evident goodwill, commitment and financial investment of both clubs, the Council endorsed this proposal by providing two grants for the upgrade of courts, lighting and fencing at Eley Park. Over 12 months in 2010-11, all 8 courts were converted to Super Ace synthetic grass.