ASSOCIATION HISTORY

The association was established in 1947 and the first table tennis centre was in the Trades Hall basement and accommodated one table. A small band of association members cleaned and cleared the basement to ready it for use. Before the establishment of the centre at the Trades Hall association games had been played in various church halls and garages. From the basement at the Trades Hall the association moved to an upper floor in the building. It accommodated three tables but no room for spectators. The association functioned there for two years until a new centre was renovated through working bees by association members. It was opened by the Mayor, Cr G.L.Scott, who said the large gathering reflected the interest in the work of the association and left no doubt about its future success. Four tables were located at the Mair street centre.

From Mair street the association moved to Lydiard street during the season of 1962-63. Six tables were located at the Lydiard street centre. More than 50 teams were taking part in the competition by 1965 when the association was forced to give up the centre because of Health Department regulations. The next major move by the association came in March 1966 when the association was granted permanent occupancy of the betting pavilion at the Ballarat Showground. The association had been forced to change location at least seven times in the previous 15 years and had been constantly on the look out for a permanent base.

On March 30,1966, the association singed a 12-year lease with the Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society to convert the betting pavilion into a table tennis centre. More than $6000 was spent by the association renovating the pavilion. It was officially opened on April 1,1967 with an all day tournament. The pavilion housed 14 tables and officials at the time said it was the largest table tennis centre outside Melbourne. Speaking at the opening the president of the Agricultural and Pastoral Society said the association was to be commended for it’s attitude in working for itself. When other organisations may have looked to government help, the members had simply moved in and done the work themselves," he said. During 1977-78 the showground pavilion was used by 96 senior and 56 junior teams with a total of 540 registered players. At the expiry of the showground lease the Agricultural and Pastoral Society expressed the need to use the pavilion for it’s own Agricultural and Pastoral Society activities. The Table Tennis Association was offered alternative accommodation but it would have been smaller and less suitable than the pavilion accommodation.

With the development of facilities at Hollioake Park the association saw the opportunity to build a modern stadium to accommodate rapidly growing membership. It was also envisaged that the proposed stadium would provide a top class regional facility suitable for State, national and international events. The new stadium opened in August 12, 1979 and cost $300,000. Facilities at the stadium include a carpeted lounge area, equipment hire and sales, a canteen and a $50,000 amenities block to be shared with the Ballarat Tennis Advancement Council. With 27 courts available all of top class standards and a centre court of world class quality, the world class centre court has seating for 100 people. All Table Tennis players and officials over the years have contributed in some way towards the wonderful home Table Tennis now has. In 1997 the Ballarat Table Tennis Association became a member of the Hollioake Park Sports Association. Which was established to provide mutual support and conduct joint returns to promote the sports in residence at the park. The Association arranges for combined clinics, seminars and sporting challenges.

The following comprise the sports associations:

Ballarat Badminton
Ballarat Basketball
Ballarat Indoor Tennis
Webcona Lawn Bowls
Ballarat Table Tennis
Hollioake Park Tennis

JACK GILBERT MEMORIAL TABLE

The Jack Gilbert memorial table is in memory of Mr Jack Gilbert who was a foundation member of the Mt Pleasant Table Tennis Club. Mr Gilbert was a leading Ballarat table tennis player and a life member of the Ballarat Table Tennis Association. When the new centre was opened the Mt Pleasant Table Tennis Club donated money towards the centre court table. Mr Gilbert's three daughters Lyn, Tanya and Sue played table tennis. Lyn was a top ranking Australian player. She represented Victoria in interstate matches and was a member of many Australian table tennis teams. She won numerous Victorian open titles and was a winner of the Ballarat singles championship in 1967. Tanya was a top Ballarat and Victorian country player and Sue represented Ballarat and Victoria. She won the Ballarat singles championship in 1973. Mr Gilbert coached many top Ballarat players, including Ron Rodgers and many others who reached A Grade level in Ballarat.