Australian Squash

Early Australian Squash, a quick precis

The first  Squash courts in Australia were at the Melbourne Club,  converted from a disused Racquets court [20M X 10M]  to two Squash courts in 1913, interestingly one of the movers of the conversion was Australian Lawn Tennis Icon and Kooyong member Sir Norman Brookes. The Concord Military hospital in Sydney contructed a court in the late 1920s, legend has it, for a visit by The Prince of Wales, an avid player.

In Melbourne a commercial court was constructed by the Guest family of furniture fame in Canberra House Little Collins St, for the Bjelke Peterson gymnasium in the early 1930s. At the Crib Point Naval base in Victoria a court was built in 1934 using old submarine batteries to construct the walls. Private clubs which  inc Naval & Military, Royal Melbourne Tennis Club, Sandringham, Royal South Yarra Tennis , South Yarra Club,  & LTAV  erected courts also in the 1930s.

The inaugural Australian Squash Racquets Assocition was formed in Melbourne in late 1935  and the 1st annual report delivered in March 1937. A pennant competition was started in Melbourne under the auspices of the SRAA  in 1936, with 5 clubs competing  in one grade, by 1940,under the banner of SRAV  this number had swelled to 18 clubs in 5 grades.

The  Royal Sydney Golf Club whilst not competing was also one of the founding members, NSW commenced a pennant competition in 1938.  There is an excellent, well researched history by  WJ Mudford on the NSW Squash website that describes the evolution of squash in that state.

The first National Amateur Championships winners, Men  F.Strickland in 1931,   Ladies 1932 R.Grey-Smith.  J.S. Watson was Professional  Champion in 1931 winning  the  J.V.Fairbairn trophy ,named after the 1st president of the SRA,the Hon J.V.Fairbairn MHR, a Federal Cabinet Minister,  who was tragically killed in a plane crash at Canberra in 1942.   The Trophy   shown below, was  recently rediscovered after being missing for 60 years.

1st SRAA Annual Report 1936

1st SRAA  Annual Report  1936

SRAA 1st Annual Report 1936

1st  SRAA  Annual Report  1936

Australian Professional Squash Championship Cup c.1931