In celebration of Women’s History Month, March 2022
The earliest findings in The Gympie Times on the Ladies Lawn Tennis Club “Cosmos” appears in 1895 where the ladies team played Central School teams (The Gympie Times, 11 June 1895, page 3)
A week later, there is another tennis match mentioned in the local notes and news column in The Gympie Times. Playing against gentleman’s clubs, they were defeated by 33 games. Could you imagine a fair game, with the restriction of the ladies clothing in heavy long skirts and button up blouses?
The following year in 1896, notes the commencement of the tennis season with the following matches…
The Cosmos Tennis Club held their annual ball in 1911 in the Hibernian Hall (which used to be on Red Hill Road). It is here we learn that the club’s colours were mauve and white. These articles, along with the tournament articles, give us many details of the club members involved over the years. You may recognise many pioneering local names.
One such local identity was Mrs Mellor. Mary Ann Mellor (nee Bouchard) was the second wife of Gympie’s first mayor, Mr Matthew Mellor. Mrs Mellor was a civic lady and involved with not only tennis but other sporting groups such as croquet and member of the Gympie Ladies Benevolent Society and the Gympie Branch of the Women’s Electoral League, having been elected as President in 1907. Matthew Mellor passed in 1899, and Mrs Mellor, widowed continued her involvement in the Gympie community until 1912 when she left for England with her family (The Gympie Times, 21 November 1911, page 3).
She did return to Australia for a time and then subsequently went on a tour overseas, before taking up residence in Brisbane.
“After residing abroad for three years, Mrs. Mellor, widow of the late Mr Matthew Mellor, accompanied by her daughter, Miss Lily Mellor, arrived at Gympie last Saturday night, having reached Brisbane a few days previously by the Otranto. While abroad Mrs Mellor and her daughter resided for the most part at Cannes, in the south of France, and Oxford and London.”
— Transcribed from the “The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Queensland, Saturday 25 April 1931”
Mary Ann passed in 1936 at the age of 81 years. Her funeral was held in Gympie and she lays to rest in the Gympie Cemetery with husband, Matthew.
The Cosmos Tennis Club continued to have a long history, with the club still competing in the 1930’s….