This is the first in a series of historical articles written by Lorraine Maxwell who has been tirelessly digging back through the MIA Open archives. Thankyou Lorraine!
The first MIA Championship was held in November 1920.
It was either in response to local players going to Country Week in Sydney and then organising the event OR needing to have a tournament to qualify for Country Week.1
Whichever way it happened it was an association of local tennis court owners who met in a school near the old cheese factory in Bagtown and decided to run this championship.
The initial courts used were “Monteith” Duncan McDonald’s farm, “Willyarra” Ebert and Sara’s, “Wilga” Rochford’s and Bowditch’s at Yoogali. Four courts were later constructed at the Rural/State Bank site. These courts remained in use from 1924 to 1932.
The championship winner was Rex Sara, and the runner-up Grahame Savage. Sara and Savage played several of the early finals with Sara winning each time. He won seven in all, the last time being in 1931.
Fred Kalms from West Wyalong won in 1923 and 1927. He had been picked in the Davis Cup squad but was needed on the farm.
The early Ladies Singles were Misses Davidge, Blumer and Datsun.
As you can see from the results page, the Men’s Singles was considered the most important event of the period.
- For those not in the know, Country Week was a huge event held each year attracting players from associations and clubs from all over the State to the Big Smoke to pit their skills against the best players that the country had on offer. Each day filled with highly competitive tennis.