Listen To Older Voices : Wyn Wilson – Part 1

 Welcome to Listen To Older Voices,  
a program produced by Rob Greaves for Uniting Melba and podcast through 
the Toorak Times and Tagg.

Listen To Older Voices presents the stories, views and opinions of our older citizens. It is predominantly in a life & times format, with interviewees reflecting upon their lives from earliest memories. An underlying principle of the program is to promote the concept of positive ageing, reinforcing the principle that older people have & continue to make a valuable contribution to both their local & wider community.

This is another wonderful Golden Moment Repeat program, where we have dipped into our vault of treasured memories and retrieved a story from the archives that we believe deserves being repeated for those who may have missed it the first time. The story of Wyn Wilson was first aired in October 2004 when I sat down with the then 77-year old Wyn.

Wyn was born in South Africa and lived there for many years before migrating to Australia. She talks about her early years as a young white girl in a white run country that was the home of black Africans. Scholastically inclined she won a scholarship to university but Wyn also had other attributes. You see she was also very musically inclined and passed her music teaching exams which seemingly opened her world up even more.

However it is her story of working with young black children in a welfare capacity that is particularly interesting, for this was a period when apartheid was at its height. Her story about her grandfather, who was the President of the New Republic of Natal is also of considerable interest.

Click on the radio to hear Wyn Wilson – Part 1

Previous LTOV Programs can be accessed clicking on this icon – 



[Listen To Older Voices receives funding from the Commonwealth Government 
through the Commonwealth Home Support Program Program]

Listen To Older Voices : Ruth Rooney – Part 2

 Welcome to Listen To Older Voices, 
a program produced by Rob Greaves for Uniting Melba and podcast 
through the Toorak Times and Tagg.

Listen To Older Voices presents the stories, views and opinions of our older citizens. It is predominantly in a life & times format, with interviewees reflecting upon their lives from earliest memories. An underlying principle of the program is to promote the concept of positive ageing, reinforcing the principle that older people have & continue to make a valuable contribution to both their local & wider community.

In this, the final part of the story of Ruth Rooney, Ruth talks at some length about her husband, John. She discusses openly how he passed away after being taken off dialysis. His “assisted dying” was the correct course of action in Ruth’s mind, but nonetheless, it was a most difficult period for her.


However with the support of her religious beliefs and her friends she found had all the support she needed.

Ruth also talks openly about incident where he knees gave away and she found herself stuck on the toilet from 9am to 6pm. It was then that her son found her and called an ambulance, one of the paramedics having been, in Ruth’s words, “a plumber in a previous life.”

Her story is a mixture of humor, tragedy, compassion and beliefs. For it all, Ruth says her life has been rich and rewarding

Click on the radio to hear Ruth Rooney – Part 2

Previous LTOV Programs can be accessed clicking on this icon – 

[Listen To Older Voices receives funding from the Commonwealth Government through the Commonwealth Home Support Program Program]

Listen To Older Voices – Ruth Rooney : Part 1

Image of Ruth Rooney Welcome to Listen To Older Voices, a program 
produced by Rob Greaves for Uniting Melba and podcast through 
the Toorak Times and Tagg.

Listen To Older Voices presents the stories, views and opinions of our older citizens. It is predominantly in a life & times format, with interviewees reflecting upon their lives from earliest memories. An underlying principle of the program is to promote the concept of positive ageing, reinforcing the principle that older people have & continue to make a valuable contribution to both their local & wider community.

This is the first part of a 2-part program on the Life and Times of 69 Year old Ruth Rooney. Ruth is a Baby Boomer but did not follow the path that many of the Baby Boomers followed growing up and as the program progresses you will understand why.

Adopted at a very young age she lived with her adoptive parents in the Western Districts of Victoria. She lived a fairly isolated life and was schooled in a one-room class. She was often driven to school in a car driven by a 12-year-old boy amazingly with her parent’s knowledge. This alone makes for a fascinating story but, there is more to come! She becomes very heavily involved with her church and through her beliefs becomes a volunteer worker in Papua New Guinea, a job she loved but one that came, as we will learn, to a most unfortunate end.

Click on the radio to hear Ruth Rooney – Part 1

Previous LTOV Programs can be accessed clicking on this icon – 

[Listen To Older Voices receives funding from the Commonwealth Government through the Commonwealth Home Support Program Program]


Today we celebrate Australia Day, and there is no person in the history of Australian Sport, who is more deserving to wear the title “Living Legend” than Rod Laver.  There is so much that can be said about Laver that a newspaper article just won’t do justice.  However, in this one, I will attempt to hopefully give you some understanding of the man, behind the racquet.

Rodney George Laver is the only player in tennis history to win two calendar Grand slams in tennis singles in both 1962 and again in 1969. Whilst records are meant to be broken, and many times they are, it can take decades to achieve. Laver’s hasn’t been challenged in more than 40 years, and it is highly unlikely it will be broken in the near future.

When you look back on his career, after Laver won his first Grand Slam in 1962, he was barred as all amateurs who turned pro were until the “Open Era” began in 1968. Had he not have been barred, it is highly likely he would have added another third or even forth Grand Slam title to his game.

Rodney George Laver was born to Roy and his wife Melba, in rural Rockhampton, Queensland on the 9th August, 1938. They had a total of four children, 3 boys and a girl, Laver being placed at number three. Both Roy and Melba played tournament lawn tennis, and met each other at a tournament in the Queensland town of Dingo. Laver’s parents would travel to all the tournaments with the family and his father often joked that one day one of his boys would make it to a Wimbledon Grand slam.

Laver was introduced to the game when he was six years old. Tennis was a staple in the Laver household, and wherever they lived, they had a tennis court in the backyard.

With a hand me down racquet that had it’s handle shaved down to fit into his tiny left hand, Laver often challenged his two older brothers to matches. In his first professional match, at the ripe old age of 13, Laver lost to his brother Bob in the Central Queensland junior final.

Older brothers Trevor and Bob showed promise right from the get go and when Charlie Hollis came to town he gelled into the family quite nicely. He coached all the boys. Hollis always knew that he had a champion in the making with young Laver. Laver was the only left handed player in the family. At that age, laver could time the ball, he could catch it, he could run after it and return it, but he doesn’t recall how good or accurate he was. He just enjoyed playing. It took Laver quite some time to generate his accuracy. He found himself sitting in what he called the “cheap seats” very often.

When Hollis thought Laver was good enough, he took him down to the teaching clinic that was run by Harry Hopman. At first Laver was intimidated by Hopman. Everyone knew and admired the tennis great. He was a great player of the game, and later captained the Australian Davis Cup team.

When Hollis first introduced Laver to Hopman, Hopmans’ first initial thought was, well he’s little, and was a bit to scrawny looking to become a player.

Hopman named Laver the “Rockhampton Rocket” but it wasn’t because he was fast, in fact his sister Lois thinks it was because he was exactly the opposite. Laver wasn’t slow, but he needed to work a lot on his speed around the court. The nickname “Rocket” was cemented in his career.

Laver remembers Hopman as stern, but in a nice way with the kids, and often good humoured. Here he was coaching Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall who were about to burst forth as tennis grand slam contenders, and then there was a scrawny, short, skinny kid looking on tentatively.

When Laver threw away an education in 1953 and left home to go and live in Brisbane he was only 15 years of age.

Laver recalls that he was a shy, skinny, red headed, freckle faced kid, who certainly wasn’t going to win any beauty contests, but he wasn’t there for his looks. He thinks that is probably why he was so shy, he was embarrassed about his appearance.

Laver: Tennis in many ways, took the shyness out of me.

Laver only ever played tennis for the love of it, but he was extremely competitive.

Lois: He liked to win, don’t get me wrong, he just had to learn to win, there is a difference.

Over time, as Lavers’ shots got stronger, he was able to pull off shots that many who watched, thought had to be a fluke, and Laver felt that they thought a lot of time when he won, he had no right winning.

Hopman as the Captain of the Davis Cup, and after meeting him, encouraged Laver to set his sights onto one day, playing Davis Cup tennis, under his captaincy.

When 16 year old Laver showed promise through the ranks of the Australian juniors, he was asked to play in the Davis Cup team.

Laver had a huge left forearm shot, and used a lot of wrist movement with his shots. Laver said one of the exercises he would do is he would get hold of an old tennis ball or squash ball and squeeze it in and out to help build muscles in his forearm and fingers. He always kept and old ball in his pocket and would exercise whenever he could throughout the day. Lavers’ left forearm was twice the size of his right, if you believe what fellow countryman Ashley Cooper says.

Back in those days, there were the two very distinct ranks of players. There were the amateurs and the professionals. As an amateur you would win a trophy, as a professional, you won a trophy and money. As an amateur you could play in all the grand slam tournaments, Davis Cup and if you were really good, and you could just make a living out of it.

If you could play well and win Davis Cup you got local recognition and if you made it to Wimbledon, you gained international recognition.

The glamour of course was on the amateur side. The Professionals had their own circuit and this included 8 to 16 guys, who travelled around and played their own tournaments. They often played exhibition matches against each other and it was a hard life, night after night, town after town, but the upside, they made great money.

Back in those days also they didn’t have sponsors to invest in them like they do today, so they relied on making a living from a percentage they would receive from the gate after everyone else took there portion.

After the American dominance in the post war years, a new nation emerged as a force to be reckon with. Australia was the first country to view tennis as a team sport. The Australian’s roomed together, slept together and ate together. There mateship and unbreakable comradery still lies at the heart of the Australian Sporting Arena.

Considering the players could be travelling anywhere up to 6 months at a time, Hopman was looked upon by the players as somewhat of a father figure to them. Hopman had this image that clearly ruffled and intimidated the other coaches and players on the circuit. Hopman was a tough disciplinarian. Girls were not part of the social scene whilst Hopman was around. If he thought a team member was up to no good, he would make that player bunk down with him. Newcombe was one who Hopman kept a keen eye on and he bunked with. In Hopman’s eyes, there was no time for girlfriends, focus had to be on the game, so back in those days, Laver didn’t have one.

All the expenses on tour were controlled by Hopman, so if the players misbehaved or they did something bad on the court like throwing their racquet, he would fine them. He would often hide behind trees and bushes with binoculars checking that they boy’s were in fact doing what they were suppose to be doing.

Laver was no pet, but he did what had to be done, so he was never fined, like his teammates. Yes he was disciplined, but Laver said that was one of the things he thrived on and made him a better player and person, “The Discipline”.

All Australia’s great champions, were able to win with humility and lose with humility. They handled their rising fame with such dignity and grace especially Laver and Rosewall.

With Lavers game, he would be playing for an hour or so, and not playing that great, then just like a switch in his head, it would click over and he would dominate the game.

From 1959, Laver represented Australia in Davis Cup tennis and in 1961, he won his first Wimbledon Grand Slam Single title. Some fifty years ago, they didn’t have roofs over tennis courts. You just had to play out in whatever conditions, the weatherman dealt you.

Laver considers Wimbledon the number one tennis club in the world. Every time he walked out onto centre court there, no matter how many times you have played, the nerves just kick in and take over.

After Lavers’ first Wimbledon win, he returned to Rockhampton to a ticket tape parade through the streets, onto the town hall steps where he was given the keys to the city by the Lord Mayor. Laver recalls that all the fuss made him just as nervous as playing at Wimbledon itself.

The following year in 1962, Laver became only the second player in history, to win the four Grand Slam tournaments in one year.


Laver: “It was a thrill to come off the court and know that I had won all four titles in the one year”. But I never felt the ‘best’. I just felt that I was lucky enough to have a good year”


  • In his first amateur match, at the ripe old age of 13, Laver lost to his brother Bob in the Central Queensland junior final.
  • He first toured overseas in 1956, and his first outstanding success was winning the Australian doubles championship with Robert Mark and the Wimbledon mixed doubles with American Darlene Hard in 1959. Sadly that year, Laver was defeated in the singles final by Alex Olmedo.
  • The following year, Laver signed up for the ‘Australian Championships’, wining in five sets against Australian player Neale Fraser.
  • 1961, saw Laver win his first singles title at Wimbledon.
  • 1962 Laver won seventeen tennis matches along with four Grand Slam tournaments. The only other person to equal this was former professional player Donnie Budge. Also in 1962, Laver was part of the Australian team who won the ‘Davis Cup’ tournament. This win established Laver as a professional world tennis player along with Lew Hoad, Pancho Gonzales, Ken Rosewall and Andres Gimeno.
  • 1963 – 1970, Laver had established himself as the No.2 player in the world.
  • 1964, Laver beat good friend Ken Rosewall at the Wembley Championship and later Pancho Gonzales at the US Pro.
  • 1965 saw Laver establish himself as No 1. In the world rankings after a total of seventeen tennis championship victories.
  • 1966 Laver won a total of sixteen championships
  • The taste of victory was in the air again with nineteen tournament wins to his tally. These wins included ‘US Pro Championships’, the ‘Wembley Pro’, the ‘Wimbledon’, and the ‘French Pro’. In the ‘Wimbledon’ final, he defeated fellow Australian Rosewall by 6–2, 6–2, 12–10.
  • In 1968, enter the “Open Era”. The Open Era began when Grand Slam tournaments agreed to allow professional players to compete with amateurs. Before 1968, only amateurs were allowed to compete in Grand Slam tournaments and other events organized or sanctioned by the ILTF, including Davis Cup.
  • 1977 – Laver retires from tennis.

The same year, Laver played ‘Grand Slam” matches becoming the first person to win the ‘Open Era’ championship at Wimbledon. Laver won in straight sets against fellow Aussie Tony Roche in the final.

  • 1968, Laver continued to win prestigious tournaments including the US Professional Championship played on grass and the French Pro Championship played on clay thus earning the world No 1. ranking.
  • 1969 Laver played several tournaments winning all the four Grand Slam Championships. He also won the South African Open, the Philadelphia US Pro Indoor Championship, the US Professional Championship, and the Wembley British Indoor Championship. He was thus victorious in 106 matches out of the 132 he played.

During the same year, Laver also signed contracts with the National Tennis League (NTL) and the World Championship Tennis (WCT) League. This meant he only had time to participate in five Grand Slam Championships in two years.

  • 1973, Laver won several championships including the Davis Cup.
  • 1974 Laver won only six championships and his world ranking dropped to No. 4.
  • 1977 He signed up with the World Tennis Team. (WTT) a tennis league.


1969 – ABC Sportsman of the year

1970 – Laver made the Queens Birthday Honours list and was awarded the title Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

1981 – Laver was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame

1985 – Laver was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

2000 – Centre Court at the National Tennis Centre, Melbourne Park was renamed Rod Laver Arena.

2000 – Laver was awarded the Australian Sports Medal

2000 – Laver featured on a postage stamp issued by Australia Post to commemorate The History of Australian Legends stamp series.

2002 – Legend of Australian Sport

2009 – Laver was inducted into the Queensland Tennis Hall of Fame

2009 – As part of the Q150 celebrations, Laver was announced as one of the Q150 icons of Queensland for his role as a sports legend.

2016 – In the Australia Day Honours List, Laver was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)

Laver also was awarded the title of “Australian Living Legend”.

A footbridge in Brisbane connecting Teerongpilly rail station to the Queensland Tennis Centre is named after Laver.


In 1998, Laver suffered a stroke during an interview on ESPN-TV in the United States for their Sports Century 20th Century Sports retrospective. With the best of medical care at his disposal, Laver has made a good recovery.

Laver no longer plays tennis due to arthritic problems in his wrist.

In his spare time, Laver enjoys attending the San Diego Chargers games.

In Lavers private life, he married Mary Shelby Peterson, a divorcee with three children from her previous marriage. The marriage took place in California, and was attended by fellow tennis friends, Ken Rosewall, Barry McKay, Mal Anderson,Roy Emerson and Lew Hoad. After the ceremony, the men listed above, all stood outside the church with raised tennis rackets that formed an archway for the newlyweds to walk under.

The couple later had their own son.

Mary passed away aged 84 at their home in Carlsbad.

Family has always been very important to Laver, and he has always been a very private, person.

Laver owns various properties in California, Santa Barbara and Australia, but doesn’t live an affluent lifestyle at all.



Margaret Court

Frank Sedgeman a former Australian Tennis Champion was right on the money when he first noticed a thirteen year old Margaret Court and told her that she was so talented, that she could be the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon. Turn the clock forward 8 years and she achieved exactly that and much, much more over the next decade breaking tennis records.

Margaret Smith was born in Albury, New South Wales, to parents Lawrence Smith and Catherine Smith. The youngest of four children, Court has two older brothers Kevin and Vincent, and an older sister June.

From the moment Court entered the world, she had an uphill battle to survive. Firstly, her mother nearly died giving birth to her, and once she was born, she was gravely ill upon arrival.

Court didn’t live an affluent lifestyle, in fact it was completely the opposite. Her parents didn’t own a car, nor the house they lived in, a very modest two bedroom, thin walled asbestos dwelling with a tin roof, that stretched to fit a family of six. However, she did live directly across the road from twenty-four tennis courts. Surrounded by a majority neighbourhood of sports crazy boys, this probably is why she grew up a tomboy.

Wally rutter was coaching at the courts, and he spotted her and decided to put the time into nurturing her talent.

When Court was 16, Rutter brought her to the attention of Sedgeman who encouraged her to move to Melbourne where he could give her the proper specialist coaching technique to make the most of her potential.


Margaret had natural talent, athleticism and strength; her court coverage was amazing and the power of her serve-volley game set her apart in the women’s game.

One of her instructors Stan Nicholls, had Court spend a lot of time in the gym lifting weights, to improve her upper body strength in an era when very few women did this. Court attributes the power of her game to her early upbringing where as a young girl, she trained with men a lot older than her. Apart from adding strength to her game, her physique gave her other natural advantages.

When you stood in front of Court, you could be forgiven for thinking she was taller than her 5’9 stature as on court, she appears all arms and legs. Her reach was outstanding, and one of her regular opponents Billie Jean King called her “the arm” because of it. One can only speculate how much better her game would have been had she have played right handed. Unfortunately for Court, she grew up in a time when schools had a policy that all students write right handed.

Court: Sometimes I wished I have stayed left handed, I probably would have had a better serve.

Born left handed, Court was encouraged to change to a right hand grip.

Seeded number 1 in her first attempt at a Wimbledon crown in 1962, Court was bundled out in the second round by the unseeded player named Billie Jean Moffitt (later King).   Court remembers calling her mother after the game, who said “I suppose you’ll give up tennis now and come home”, to which Court replied: “No, I’m going to go to America and I want to win everything”, and true to her word, she won the US Championship that year, in straight sets against Darlene Hard.

In Court’s early career, her nerves often got the better of her, and in 1971 against Australia’s Evonne Goolagong in the Wimbledon final she was accused of “choking”. They might have thought differently if they had known at the time she was pregnant with her first child.

Court was consistently outstanding in both singles and doubles having achieved 29 gram slam titles during 1962 – 1966.

Towards the end of 1965, Court was tiring of being “on the road” so to speak and feeling she had achieved all she could wining all the grand slam events on offer, so she decided to retire from tennis.

She moved to Perth, Western Australia and opened a boutique of all things, dabbling in an industry she had very little knowledge about. Travelling the world, opened Courts eyes to the fashion industry, and what started out as a keen interest, soon turned to a business venture.

Here in Perth, then Smith met her husband Barry Court, son of the then Premier of Western Australia, Sir Charles Court and brother to the future premier, Richard Court. Margaret married Barry in 1967, the very same year she was placed onto the Queens honours list and awarded the title Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Barry had never travelled, so he suggested they go overseas. Court having travelled extensively, was keen to share in some of her life experiences she once sustained. She even pondered over the idea of coming out of retirement.

In 1968, she did just that. She returned to the game and had the best two-season run in history, winning seven majors, only missing out on Wimbledon (1969).

In 1970, she won the Calendar Year Grand Slam, but to achieve that goal, she had to win the Wimbledon final, against Billie Jean King. This match turned out the be the one that meant the most in her tennis career. With an injured ankle, Court played two marathon sets to win 11-9, 14-12. Back in those days, there were no tie-breakers.

With the birth of her first child Daniel, one would assume Court would hang up her tennis racquet for good, but she had more to prove. She wanted to become the first mother to hold a ranking of number one in the world.



She achieved this goal, and did it in extraordinary style. Court played some of the best tennis of her career achieving wins in 24 out of 25 tournaments.



Singles champion

Australian 1960-66, 1969-71, 1973
French 1962, 1964, 1969-70, 1973
United States 1962, 1965, 1969-70, 1973
Wimbledon 1963, 1965, 1970

Doubles champion

Australian 1961-63, 1965, 1969-71, 1973
French 1964-66, 1973
Wimbledon 1964, 1969
United States 1963, 1968, 1970, 1973, 1975

Mixed doubles champion

Australian 1963-65, 1969
French 1963-65, 1969
Wimbledon 1963, 1965-66, 1968, 1975
United States 1961-65, 1969-70, 1972

Federation Cup

1963-1965, 1968-1970
Captain 1965, 1968, 1971

Court is one of only three players to complete the “boxed set” in singles, doubles and mixed titles at all four majors. Court collected 64 major titles in singles, doubles and mixed (including two shared Australian mixed titles); her closest rival being Martina Navratilova has 59. In 1970, Margaret Court became just the second woman to complete the Grand Slam; only Steffi Graf has since emulated that feat.

In 1974, Court welcomed her second child, a girl named Marika. After the birth of Markia, Court returned to the court as she did once before, but something had changed. Her heart wasn’t in it any more. So by 1977, she decided to retire from the game permanently. It was around the same time she was told she was expecting her third child.

After retirement, Courts life took and unexpected turn for the worst. Raised a Catholic, who regularly attended church, Court started to feel somewhat disconnected from her faith whilst attending a service in France. During this period, she was diagnosed with severe depression and became physically unwell. Once the worlds fittest woman, she was now reduced to being fearfull to even go to sleep. She was weak and frail.

It wasn’t until she began attending Bible school in 1980 that her life started piecing itself back together. During this time, Court committed herself fully to the Pentacostal Church. In 1991, she was officially ordained to the ministry and a year later established her own outreach ministry, Margaret Court Ministries Inc.

1963 and 1970, she won ABC Sportswoman of the year

1970 she won the Walter Lindurm Award, in Western Australia

1979 Court was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame

1985 Court was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

1995 she entered unchartered waters by founding and establishing the “Victory Life Centre” where she is senior pastor. With an average attendance of 1300, it has become one of Perth’s largest and dynamic churches.

1993, along with fellow Australian Tennis great Rod Laver, Court was Industed into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame, the first players to be granted this honour.

2000, Court was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for her impressive tennis career

2001 she was awarded the Centenary Medial for her service to Australian Tennis

2002, Tennis Australia named the Number 1 Court at Melbourne Park (the home of the Australian Open) Margaret Court Arena.

2003 Court became the recipient of the 2003 Australia Post Australian Legends Award and had her image featured on a postage stamp

2006, Court was awarded the International Tennis Federations (ITF) highest accolade, the Philippe Chatrier Award.

And in 2007, she made the Queens Honours list and was awarded for a second time, a title of “Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)

Earlier this year, Court raised eyebrows when she turned her back on this year’s Australian Open to go crabbing following the controversy on her stand on the gay marriage debate.

Court’s public stance against same-sex marriage and claims that “tennis is full of lesbians” caused a furore at the French Open in May 2017.

Now a Christian minister, the 75-year-old re-ignited the debate when she claimed a “yes” vote on marriage equality would signal the end of holidays in Australia.

Court: “There will be no Mother’s Day. There will be no Father’s Day. There will be no Easter. There will be no Christmas,” she told the West Australian newspaper.

After Court’s comments Tennis Australia was under pressure to remove Court’s name from court one at Melbourne Park, following the 24-time grand slam singles champion’s vocal opposition to same-sex marriage. The hardest push for the change came from non other than Australian singing great Tina Arena.

Outspoken entertainer Tina Arena used Australia’s tennis’ night of nights that she was performing at to emphatically promote a name change of Margaret Court Arena.

Arena: “There’s been a lot said about Margaret Court and people will have their say. There is a woman that, for me, defined a lot of things when it comes to being a female and when it comes to the sport and the elegance that she always brought to the sport.

I want to take this opportunity to say to Evonne Goolagong what a remarkable, outstanding example of a great human being, of extraordinary culture, of an extraordinary level of empathy and understanding.

And for all of that, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to you, and then to all the other beautiful leading sportsmen and women in this room who put this country on the map.”

Despite Arena’s comments among others, Tennis Australia didn’t budge.

Tennis Australia: “As a legend of the sport, we respect Margaret Court’s achievements in tennis and her unmatched playing record. Her personal views are her own, and do not align with Tennis Australia’s values of equality, inclusion and diversity.

On one of the walls outside Margaret Court Arena is a cabinet dedicated to the lady the stadium is named after. In it are some of her trophies and plates, plus her old Dunlop Volley tennis bag, white playing dress and cardigan emblazoned with a kangaroo. To the cabinet’s left is a bronze wall-mounted sculpture of Court. She is lunging for a ball with her racquet in an outstretched right hand.  That is Margaret Court the tennis player – 24-time grand slam winner (11 in the Open era), one-time calendar year Grand Slam winner (1970) and four-time Fed Cup winner”.

Australian former player Doubles Champion Peter McNamara also came to her defence.

McNamara: “People get distracted by the personal views and sportspeople providing political views … leave the tennis stadium as remembering her achievements as an athlete.”

Regardless of how you feel about the “Great Debate” Margaret Court Arena remains exactly that and attendance figures for the Australian Open to date have shown sell out crowds, even on her court.

If you asked any of the 47,867 fans at Melbourne Park on day one for their opinion on Margaret Court Arena’s name, they were forthcoming with an answer, that proved to be far from the topic on everyone’s mind.





Tennis Icon Henry Christian Hopman (CBE) was a world-acclaimed Australian Doubles and Mixed Doubles Tennis Player and Coach.

Affectionately known as “Harry”, he was born 12 August, 1906 in Glebe, New South Wales, Australia to parents Henry Hopman (a school teacher) and wife Jeannie and passed away 27 December, 1985.

Up until the age of 13, Hopman was first enthusiastic about soccer a game he played quite well, before changing to tennis.

His father was headmaster where he attended Rosehill Public School, and it was here also whilst playing barefoot, Hopman won his first singles tournament on a court setup in the school playground.

His success as a player continued during secondary school at both Parramatta and Fort Street Boys’ high schools. At the age of 17, Hopman was asked to represent New South Wales in the Linton Cup national junior teams competition.

Once school was completed, Hopman gained employment as a salesman working for a Sydney based sports and goods retailer. His employer understood that Hopman had not only a passion to play tennis, but a strong yearning to make it all the way to the top, so he ensured his job wouldn’t interfere with his tennis career and allowed ample time off to pursue it.

In 1925, he teamed up with Jack Crawford to play in the Australian Junior doubles championship. For the next three years in a row, the boys dominated taking home the title. They kept up the momentum in 1929 and 1930 playing as Seniors in the Australian Seniors doubles Championships.

Crawford was always the better player of the two, being a tall and stylish baseline stroke-player, up against the agile and energetic volley dominating game. Hopman lost to Crawford in twenty-seven finals and was runner up to him in the Australia singles titles of 1931 – 1932. Where Hopman lacked as a singles player, he certainly made up for it, when their contrasting styles meshed together in the doubles.

By the time 1933 came around, Hopman was a sportswriter for the Melbourne Herald Newspaper. He had an arrangement that suited both parties where as long as his articles met deadlines, they were happy to give him the time off to travel overseas and play Davis Cup tennis.

In 1934, he married Nell Hall, at St Philips Church of England in Sydney. He met Nell at a junior tennis competition, where the two formed a successful mixed doubles combination. In Australia, they won four titles and in 1935, they became the first husband and wife team to reach the final at Wimbledon.

The Hopman’s lived a very modest lifestyle, renting a house in Hawthorn. To keep his fitness at peek condition, Hopman often ran from Hawthorn to work at  Herald Newspaper Headquarters in the city. Also a keen squash player, he won the Australian amateur squash title three times. (1933, 1934, and 1936). He was a team player of the unsuccessful Australian Davis Cup team of 1928, 1930, and 1932.

In 1938, he was elected ‘Captain of the team’ and for the first time in fourteen years, he led Australia to it’s first Challenge Round Final, going down 3-2 to the United States. In 1939, once again under his captaincy, Australia finally won the Cup 3-2 after Quist and Bromwich both won their final singles matches.

At the end of World War II, Hopman returned to what he knew best, coaching.

Hopman was overlooked for the captaincy once Davis Cup Competition resumed. From the sidelines, he watched Australia get annihilated by the USA team. Not once, but four times. Finally Hopman was appointed Captain again for a second time, but this time he was a non playing captain/coach. Between 1950 and 1969, it was known as the Hopman Era.

Between 1950 to 1967, Australia won the Davis Cup a total of 15 times.

Hopman was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in December 1996 and later into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978.

Hopman also had a tournment “The Hopman Cup” named after him also. The Hopman Cup is an annual international eight team indoor hardcourt tennis tournament held in Perth, Western Australia in early January each year. Unlike other major international team tennis tournaments such as the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup, which are for men or women only, the Hopman Cup is a mixed competition in which male and female players are on combined teams and represent their countries.

After Hopmans first wife died of an intracranial tumour in 1968, in 1971 he met and married second surviving wife Lucy Pope Fox, a divorcee at Port Washington, Long Island where he was running a tennis academy.

Since the Hopman Cup was founded in 1989, Lucy travels to the tournament annually from her United States home.

In 1976, Hopman was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to sport.

Childless, Hopman was often accused of treating his young players as children. On tour he would discipline his`boys’ for poor table manners and breaches of curfew among other things. He demanded discipline and drove his team harder than they’d ever been driven, making them spend hours on the court, hitting more balls than many of their opponents would see in their career.

Hopman suffered from deafness for much of his career, and wore a hearing aid installed in horn-rimmed glasses.

In 1956, he gave away journalism to undertake a job in public relations, and later became an investment adviser. In 1962 he purchased a seat on the Melbourne Stock Exchange for £10,000, but neglected to disclose that he had borrowed the money. When he failed to repay the debt, legal action commenced and he was forced to resign the seat.

An avid punter, Hopman felt you got better odds backing horses than tennis players. It wasn’t uncommon for him to spend anywhere up to £500 on a favourite.

After a string of wins at the pokies in Monte Carlo, Hopman was convinced the number 5 brought him luck. He woke at 5.55 every day, he had 5 sisters, and the Davis Cup was played over five matches.

In 1961 Hopman won £20,000 damages after Mirror Newspapers were found to have defamed him in 1958 by claiming he had been paid for coaching in South Africa.

In 1969, Hopman left the Australian program during a period of financial cutbacks and made the United States his permanent home. He took up coaching again at the Port Washington (N.Y.) Tennis Academy, coaching future American stars Vitas Gerulaitis and John McEnroe. He opened the Hopman Tennis Academy in Largo, Florida in 1971.

As Hopman watched his young players grow wealthy through the game of tennis, he himself chose for his fortune to grow from real estate, and shares in oil and gas.

Hopman died at Seminole, Florida of a heart attack in 1985 and was later cremated.

Australia Davis Cup

  • team member 1928, 1930, 1932
  • Captain 1938–1939, 1950–1969
  • winning captain 1939, 1950–1953, 1955–1957, 1959–1962, 1964–1967
  • losing captain 1938, 1954, 1958, 1963, 1968

Italian Championship

  • Mixed Doubles 1934



Stolle is the only male player in history who gain notoriety for having lost his first five Grand Slam singles finals, the fifth of which he was leading by two sets to love.

Frederick Sydney Stolle (AO) was born 8 October 1938, in Hornsby, New South Wales. Tennis is clearly in his genes, as his father Sandon Stolle was a former Australian Davis Cup player.

Stolle gained the nickname Fiery Fred or just Fiery by his fellow team mates for his outspoken competitiveness. Though this changed by 1966, when he was referred to as “Old Hacker” at the US Championships.

Stolle prefers a grass surface where has proven himself to be a force to be reconned with time and time again.

As a member of the winning Australian Davis Cup team, and three times Wimbledon runner up (1963, 1964, 1965) career highlights turned to downlights when he found himself completely unseeded arriving at Forest Hills, fresh on the back of winning the German title. This infuriated Stolle. At 28 at the time, he felt that people weren’t taking him serious. He then proceeded to win the title, the second unseeded man to do so over the then unseeded John Newcombe. (4-6, 12-10, 6-3, 6-4).

Just like the great German Baron Gottfied Von Cramm, Stolle was always the bridesmaid and never the bride, coming runner-up in three successive Wimbledon singles championships from 1963 – 1965. In the first year (1963 he lost to American Chuck McKinley (9-7,6-1, 6-4) and for the next two years (1964 1965) to fellow Australian Roy Emerson. In 1964, he pushed Emerson to play one of his best matchs of his career, to go down (6-1, 12-10, 4-6, 6-3) in a match this still is remembered as on of the better Wimbledon finals. 1965, he lost in straight sets to Emerson, (6-2, 6-4, 6-4).

At the Australian championships of 1964/65, he was whipped again by Emerson, going home Runner-Up. In 64, he was defeated in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2). In 65, he and Emerson held out for the full gruelling five sets 7-9, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-1).

With a high velocity serve, stinging volleys and a controlled backhand, Stolle beat fellow Aussie Tony Roche at the French Open in 1965.

Stolle is one in eleven men to win all four doubles majors.

Stolle won the Australian doubles in 1963, 1964, and 1966, and the mixed in 1962 and 1969. At Wimbledon he won the doubles in 1962 and 1964 and the mixed in 1961, 1964 and 1969. He also won the French doubles in 1965 and 1968 and the US doubles in 1965, 1966 and 1969. He also won the Italian doubles in 1963, 1964and 1966 and the mixed in 1962.


His Wimbledon and Australian championships were won with both Lesley Turner Bowrey and Anne Haydon Jones. And he won a pair of US Nationals with Margaret Court.

Stolle was also a intricate part of the Australian Davis Cup team, winning championships in 1964, 1965 and 1966. Stolle earned a huge win over Dennis Ralston in the 1964 competition, rallying back from being down a break and the Aussies trailing 2-1, earning a 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 9-11, 6-4 victory. In 1967, Stolle made the jump to professional tennis, winning two singles and 13 doubles titles.

Stolle’s highest career ranking was Number 2 in the world.

As his career began to wind down, Stolle finally retired. He continued to play World Team Tennis for Philadelphia Freedoms, and then as a player/coach of the league champion New York Apples in 1976 and 1977.

Tennis has always remained the driving force behind the man. He went on to coach American Player Vitas Gerulaitis (1977 until 1983). He was also a Director of Tennis at the Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura, Florida for a long duration. President of Grand Slam Sports and co-owner of the International Tennis Championships, an ATP event in Delray Beach, Florida.

More recently Stolle has turned his talents to the microphone as a tennis commentator alongside Cliff Drysdale for ESPN, Fox Sports and Channel Nine Australia.

Stolle was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1988.

He received the Australian Sports Medal in 2000.

And in 2005, made the Queens honours list, receiving and Order of Australia (AO)

Stolle is married to wife Patricia and has three children, Monique, Nadine and Sandon, who is a former top ATP touring professional.

A bust commemorates tennis player, Fred Stolle, located at Olympic Boulevard & Batman Avenue, Tennis Centre, Melbourne, 3000.

Listen To Older Voices – Rosalyn Thornton: Part 2

 Welcome to Listen To Older Voices,
a program produced by Rob Greaves for Uniting Melba and podcast through 
the Toorak Times and Tagg.

Listen To Older Voices presents the stories, views and opinions of our older citizens. It is predominantly in a life & times format, with interviewees reflecting upon their lives from earliest memories. An underlying principle of the program is to promote the concept of positive ageing, reinforcing the principle that older people have & continue to make a valuable contribution to both their local & wider community.

The life and Times of Rosalyn Thornton is another Golden Moment repeat program, and as you listen you will understand why we thought it was worthy of being presented to those who may have missed it the first time.
In this, the second and final part of the Life and Times of Rosalyn Thornton, Rosalyn continues the story of life after losing her husband to mesothelioma leaving her widowed with 3 young children and no welfare payments.  Her story continues on sharing how she met her second husband Graham Thornton and, we learn of Graham’s involvement with the Flying Doctor Service.
Life moves on and Rosalyn shares a most fascinating tale of her life in live theatre where she undertook costume design and theatre design with both the Australian Ballet Company and then Channel 7.
In Rosalyn’s own words – she is an Aussie battler! You listen and make up your own mind.

Click on the radio to hear Rosalyn Thornton – Part 2

Previous LTOV Programs can be accessed clicking on this icon – 


[Listen To Older Voices receives funding from the Commonwealth Government through the Commonwealth Home Support Program Program]


Wendy Turnbull (MBE)  (born 26 November 1952) is a retired Australian professional tennis player. During her reign on the court, she won 9 Grand Slam titles, 4 of them in women’s doubles and five in mixed doubles. She is a 3 time Grand Slam singles runner-up, winner of 13 singles titles and 55 doubles titles.

Turnbull’s career started at the tender age of five, having grown up in Sandgate with her six siblings who also played tennis as juniors. The Queensland Lawn Tennis Association only let juniors play on the two worst grass courts on a Sunday afternoon. Back then regardless of the condition of the court, playing on grass was like playing on top of a flawless Argyle diamond. As a kid, Turnball thinks back and recalls playing on this surface actually helped her game, as the bounces weren’t that great.

Back in 1982, the former Milton Tennis Centre also provided Turnbull with one of her career highlights, as it was here where she won her first WTA tournament. There to cheer her on was her hometown crowd and family.

For fifteen years, the old centre was left unused and derelict before it’s demolition in 2013. This angered Turnbull. For years she would drive past her old haunting place and watch as the weeds continued to grow until they were way above her head.

Enter Lord Mayer Graham Quirk, and a $12 million dollar redevelopment of the newly named Frew Park Complex was on budget and on time for completion by 2014.

Tennis Queensland’s chief executive Cameron Pearson said there was a shortage of courts and the new facility would open unlimited opportunity for the locals.

When Turnbull first started playing there it was all ant-bed courts, except for the three rows of grass courts, including the centre court everything else was an ant-bed”.

Turnbull has great memories because her whole family was involved and played in the aged titles. Her parents were volunteers.

Turnbulls coach was Daphne Fancutt. Knowing that Fancutt and Fay Muller had made the Wimbledon doubles finals, lit the fire inside her to perfect her game at all costs. As a junior, Turnbull remembers staying up late at night watching Wimbledon on an old black and white television set. She would dream of finals.

Turnbull: First you concentrate on playing titles locally, but the dream is always to travel overseas and eventually walk the turf of Wimbledon and take in all its splendor and history.

Turnbull’s wins at Wimbeldon are the biggest accomplishments of her tennis career. Admittedly it wasn’t in singles, but she did win three titles there in ladies doubles.

Turnbull: “I never thought I would get into the top 10 singles players in the world, but I got there and I stayed there for eight consecutive years”.

Tennis in Brisbane was going back to the future, and in the process wanted to honour one of the city’s greatest players. It seemed only fitting that Turnbull, a local Brisbane girl, born and bred, with an impressive tennis legacy have her place etched in history there. A large grassed area within the complex has been christened  “The Wendy Turnbull Green” and it takes pride and place next to the Roy Emerson Tennis Centre, which includes six courts and a two-storey office facility.

In 1975, she turned professional, some 23 years later and was quickly nicknamed “Rabbit” by her peers, defined by her ever present speed around the court.

In 1979, there were four Australian women placed in the top 10, Evonne Goolagong, Kerry Reid, Dianne Fromholz and Wendy Turnbull. This hasn’t been seen in women’s tennis since.

Turnbull: “We are never going to have that again, but I would really like to see some Australians get up there again. Turnbull doubted Australian tennis could never feature as prominently as it did 40 – 50 years ago because the rest of the world has discovered tennis and the $ figure that goes with it.”

When asked to comment on the current up and coming Australian male players, she is kept to a few sentences.

Turnbull: “It’s just immaturity as far I am concerned and showing off. When I was playing, if I got a little bit out of control another player would tell you – it could be one of your friends – they would tell you to pull your head in.”

During her illustrious career, Turnbull achieved the finals of every Grand Slam except Wimbledon. Her consistency was exceptional.

Lets look at Turnbull’s stats:-

Prize money US$ 2,769,024
Career record 478–250
Career titles 10
Highest ranking No. 3 (7 January 1985)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open F (1980)
French Open F (1979)
Wimbledon QF (197919801981)
US Open F (1977)
Career record 653–225
Career titles 55
Highest ranking No. 5 (19 January 1987)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open F (19831988)
French Open W (1979)
Wimbledon W (1978)
US Open W (19791982)


Turnbull was among the finest women’s tennis players of her era, ranking in the top ten for women’s singles for 8 consecutive years.

After an absence of 60 years, when tennis returned to the Olympics, Turnbull teamed up with fellow Aussie Liz Smylie to win bronze in the women’s doubles division.

She also competed in the singles in Seoul, losing in the second round.

After retiring from professional tennis in 1989, Turnbull worked with the International Tennis Federation Olympic Tennis Committee and the Women’s Tennis Association to promote professional female tennis players. Turnbull believes the unsettled top 20 of women’s tennis in modern times is not producing that extra rivalry to lure audiences.

Turnbull: “I think that hurts women’s tennis a little bit because you like to have a rivalry – myself and Pam Shriver; there was Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, and that was an unbelievable rivalry. Then later on you got Steffi Graf and Monica Seles. And I don’t think you have had quite the same rivalry since.

Turnbull represented Australia on the Women’s Fed Cup team for 12 years and served as the Captain and coach of the Team for 9 years.

Turnbull was a member of Australia’s Fed Cup team from 1977 through 1988, compiling a 46–16 overall win–loss record (17–8 in singles and 29–8 in doubles). She was the captain or coach of the team from 1985 to 1993.

Turnbulls name and picture appeared on the “Supersisters” trading card set in 1979.

In 1991, Turnbull was appointed to the International Tennis Federation Olympic Committee, the only player ever appointed to the committee. She has also served on the ITF Few Cup Committee.

Wendy Turnbull was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1984 and In 2009, was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame.

These days, a recent hip replacement has slowed her right down.

Wendy Turnbull is completely retired and lives in Florida, where she plays golf, coaches casually and plays charity events with former UK number 1 tennis player John Lloyd, her mixed doubles partner from Grand Slam wins in 1982, 1983 and 1984.

For years, many have questioned Turnbull’s sexual preference. Though she has never confirmed or denied being a lesbian, back then it just wasn’t discussed, and nor was it anyone’s business.

Turnbull: “If there are any homosexual relationships on the tour, no one really knows for sure who they are. People might have suspicions about one or two people, but they don’t know who they are because they’re not open about it. And I think if they’re not hurting anyone else, as long as everyone’s happy, that’s fine. I mean, happiness is so hard to find in this world, and if you can find happiness with someone, no matter what sex they are, then good luck to you.”



Ken Rosewall is a former Australian tennis player who held a number one world ranking for a total of six years. This living legend from Sydney is considered to be one of the top male tennis players of all time.

Despite his phenomenal career, Rosewall came from very humble beginning. Born 2 November 1934 in Hurstville, Sydney, his father Robert was a grocer. When Ken was a year old, his family moved to rockdale where his father bought three clay tennis courts.

It was on these courts at age 3, Rosewall was given a shortened racquet and he started playing tennis. Born left handed, his father taught him to play right-handed. He developed a powerful backhand, but lacked power behind his serve as a result of it. At 5 ft 7 inches and with a weight of 67 kilos, Rosewall acquired the nickname ‘Muscles’ by his peers simply because he didn’t have any. Rosewall used placement and court speed to make up for any lack of physical presence. Rosewall was fast and covered the court with ease. He had a deadly volley and his sliced backhand was his overpowering shot.

Rosewall lost his first tournament at the age of 9. By 11, he won the Metropolitan Hard Court Championships for under 14 and by 14 became the Junior champion at the Australian Hard Court Championships in Sydney becoming the youngest player to win an Australian title.

Rosewalls professional career started at the age of 18 when he won the Australian Open, and played his last grand slam at age 39 at the US Open against Jimmy Connors.


While major titles were being picked off by amateur players, Australian players like Rod Laver, Lewis Hoad, Francis Sedgman and Ken Rosewall who were at their peak were forbidden from playing major tournaments. Up until 1968, only ‘amateur’ players were allowed to compete in the ‘Big Four’ major tournaments. (Australian Open, Wimbledon, French Open and the US Open) Those who chose to turn professional and make a living playing tennis were barred.

In tennis, when considering players for the title of “greatest of all time”, the first criteria turns to the number of major titles won. However, it’s not that clear cut. There are other factors that must be considered, such as quality of opposition and opportunity.

Between 1967 and 2000, Roy Emerson held that title, with 12 major titles until Pete Sampras beat it. Rosewall won eight majors, alongside, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, Fred Perry and Ivan Lendl. Just like Lendl, Rosewall has never won Wimbledon, he did however reach four Wimbledon finals.

If you also take into consideration, that he wasn’t allowed to compete at majors between 1957 to 1967, he effectively missed out on another 48 opportunities to add to his tally. That’s another possible 11 chances at clenching a Wimbledon title.

When take into consideration that he held the title of “best player in the world” between 1960 and 1964, it only would have improved his chances of winning at least two or three Wimbledon’s, and possibly another six or seven majors.

Lets now look at Rosewalls stats:-

1952 – 1977 Rosewall was ranked in the top twenty, reaching No 2. in the world in his 40th year.

1953 – He won the Australian Open and again 19 years later in 1972.

1953 – He won the French Open, and again 15 years later in 1968.

1956 – He won the US Open and again 14 years later in 1970.

1955 – He was runner up at the US Open and again 19 years later in 1974.

1954 – He played his first Wimbledon final, and 20 years later his last 1974.

At the 1971 Australian Open, Rosewall became the first male player to win a grand slam event without dropping a set.

The only other professional player who has even come close to Rosewall’s stats is Andre Agassi who appeared in his first grand slam final in 1990 and in his last in 2015, some six years shy of Rosewall’s outstanding career.

Even at age 43, some thirty or so years after his first title, Rosewall was still ranked in the top 15 in the world and virtually achieved this on the back of an injury free career.

In 1953, he teamed up with fellow Aussie Lew Hoad to defend the Davis Cup. He was also a member of the winning teams of 1953, 1955, 1956 and 1973.

Rosewall has received many honours over the years including having centre court at Sydney’s Olympic Tennis Centre named Ken Rosewall Arena after him.

In the Queens birthday honours list of 1971, Rosewall was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire, (MBE) and in the Australia Day Honours of 1979, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Rosewall was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1980 and in 1985 he was also inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Rosewall retired to Turrumurra with his wife Wilma, the first house they bought together back in 1956. The two have five children between them.