Tennis on Congewoi

Posted by
Jenny Hazelton (Medland)

I lived in Congewoi Rd. from 1944 until 1970 and spent so many happy hours playing tennis (and practising tennis!) on Mitchell’s Tennis Courts, which were at 21 Congewoi and also behind our house, 17 Congewoi, and running to Countess Street.

My Mum and Dad (Les and Nancye Medland) were keen tennis players, and so I was really brought up on the tennis court! We had a wooden gate in our back fence for easy access to the court- I never knew if this was to make it easier for me to whip in and have a game (after school) or to make it easier for the players to retrieve their lost balls. Whichever, it was great.

Mr. Mitchell (Len) would let us (children) play after the courts were free every day, before Sylvia (his wife) and he would prepare the courts for the next hiring. He would roll them with a heavy roller, sweep the lines and then water them, to settle the sand.

Now, my son and his wife live in my family home, and there are 5 houses on the space of the 5 courts. What wonderful memories I have of those tennis courts, and what a lovely place Mosman is to live – another day in paradise, each day.

Jenny Hazelton (Medland) · 8 October 2010

Your comment

I look recall the Tennis Courts in Congewoi. I lived in Countess Street close to the park from 1962- 1973. Mr Mitchell was a very kind man. Can also recall the huge slippery dip in the park at Countess / Awaba. Also the see saw’s. We use to place fire crackers under the seat. Bit naughty, but those were the days!!

Mark · 13 February 2011, 19:00 · #

I well remember the tennis courts, old Mr Mitchell was a great bloke. The park across the road was a favourite place for us kids in the area. The Antcliffe’s, McMasters in Rosbery Street, and myself. My dad was Bill Smith at Whittle’s.
Us kids used the playground frequently. There were bushes along the fencing of the houses adjoining the playground. There was often water lodged there and sometimes a tadpole or two. When we were older, naughty kids, we used to share cigarettes hiding behind the bushes. The cigarettes were of course nicked from our parents. The Tobins lived near there to and the Kennedy’s in Inkerman Street.

— Rita Corbett · 25 April 2011, 16:39 · #

I (Peter Clouston) remember living at 33 Congewoi Road … and had friends opposite in the Dodd family. I knew Ian Dodd. I also knew Helen Lester around the corner. This is living in Mosman in the late forties and fifties. On the corner lived the Guths. Orpheum Cinema used to be owned by a family in Burton Street. The Dalgleish’s lived in the last house. The Hunters lived next door.

— Peter Clouston · 22 July 2012, 17:55 · #

I now own 28 Congewoi Road. The Dodds owned this house for many years. We discovered soon after we moved here that this Dodds family were grandparents or great-grandparents of a school mate of our son, Paul.

We have a copy of the original Deed of our property, where the house was built in 1929. Deeds are interesting historic documents.

— John Young · 25 July 2012, 12:22 · #

We use to play football and forcings back in the Countess Street park after school and cricket in summer. Can recall lots of bad crashes on the corner of Countess and Awaba (before they closed Awaba, the rat runs and places a Stop sign there)

Mark · 16 September 2012, 16:41 · #


The bushes you refer to in the Countess Street park, where chopped down in the early 70’s when a girl who lived very near the park was assulted there. She was our neighbour.

Mark · 16 September 2012, 16:43 · #

We used to spend whole days in that Park ! The slippery dip was HUGE!!! As a small child would recall :)

— Cathy Sutton · 2 September 2013, 17:58 · #

I can recall cracker nights in the park, when they were legal. Around 30 kids would come down with a bag full of crackers and we have a great time. Those were the days and nobody got hurt. A few thunders were placed under the see saw!!

Mark · 9 February 2014, 15:16 · #

We lived in Congewoi in 1972 – cant remember the number, think it may have been 31 – Google street view indicates the house has been demolished or at least very modernised-
We had 3 massive camphor laurels in the back yard – maybe 100 ft (30metres) or more high. These overshadowed the whole back yard – hard to dry clothes on the clothes line underneath. One day I decided to trim the trees. About half an hour into the job, there was a knock on the door. I thought it was a Council Ranger come to put me in handcuffs
When I opened the door a man asked “are you going to cut more off those trees?” He lived in a castleised home on the waterfront in Shellbank Ave which had a very colourful swimming pool & was used for photo shoots – our tress – nearly 400 metres away were background for their shoots

— Colin Farrell · 24 July 2015, 19:13 · #

I’m sure I played tennis with your parents at Mitchells courts Jenny. We lived at 24 Countess Street on the corner of Awaba opposite the park. I spent many hours on those courts, played with the Antcliff twins, David Hawkins?? and many other locals kids. Middle Harbour Tennis Club played through the week and Saturdays and on Sunday mornings we played with the Lynwood Tennis Club at the same courts. Moved from there to Hunters Hill Lawn Tennis Club but have many happy memories of Mitchells.

— Rob Stirling · 17 December 2015, 20:26 · #

Rob Stirling – you and I played tennis nearly every week with the Antcliff boys and David Hawkins, who lived opposite us on the corner of Awaba St.. So great to hear your name, after so long. After I left school, joined Mosman Lawn, then played Northern Suburbs mid week and Sat. Comp.
Mitchell’s Courts were a very happy meeting place.

Jenny hazelton · 25 May 2016, 05:50 · #

Rob Sterling. Did you have a sister called Jan who went to Middle Harbour School. She was a year or two ahead of me but often saw her next door at Mackenzies. ( Elizabeth and Margaret). Also saw her at the park at times. Last weekend I attended the School Centenary with sister Nancy and was happy to meet up with a few golden oldies like myself, however a bit disappointing more ex students did not attend.

— Rhonda Blunt/Higgerson · 1 August 2016, 14:56 · #

Mitchell’s Tennis Courts consisted of 2 lots of courts one in Countess Street and the other courts next to Congewoi Rd. with the main entrance to the northern courts in Awaba St. Opposite the ends of the both lots of courts was the park with the big steel rung slippery dip, swings and see saw. My brother Don had his (sheep) dog trained so well he could get it to crawl up the ladder and slide down the slippery dip although he was not good on the see saw and could not sit on the swing. I walked past the courts every day on my way to Middle Harbour School and even played tennis on the courts as a school sport during winter.
My family lived in Congewoi Rd for over 30 years and I was there from 1946 to 1962. Our dad was always at Claude and John Whittle’s and we all knew John Smith, now that was a Hardware store.
Peter Clouston and Helen Lester were good friends, Tim and Max Bristow (yes well known Tim) lived around the corner in Burton St as well as Tommy Joel., the names go on and on, but more on that later in another blog.
I missed the Middle Harbour hundred year School Centenary but hope to make up for it by adding a few more stories of the streets, people and places that we all cherish. A few friends from the era (12 and growing) have got together and we plan a few more, if you could help, contact me at to add names, places, photos or snippets, it will be greatly appreciated.

— Ian Dodd · 16 July 2018, 22:41 · #

It is a long time Jenny. Now living in Perth, well and truly married (53 years) and still playing tennis believe it or not. I still keep in contact with Mel Antcliff, Lyle passed away some time ago, don’t see much of Mel but we speak on the phone frequently. Great to read of these Memories of Mosman, brings back so many mind pictures – we lived in Countess Street from 1947 until I left for Perth in 1962. Not sure what happened to David Hawkins, maybe you know? Any other names from those tennis days come to mind? Kay Davis and her parents Horrie and Moira- lived in Ourimbah Road I think.

— Rob Stirling · 13 August 2018, 17:59 · #

Hi Rhonda. Jan is my sister, now Sutcliffe, married Maurice in 1962. Now lives in Gosford has 3 sons and 4 grand-daughters. I get across from Perth now and again to see her. As a matter of interest I am a Volunteer guide on Rottnest Island here in WA and a fellow guide also went to Middle HarbourPS. Vern or Vernon Wilson, did you know him?

— Rob Stirling · 9 December 2018, 22:01 · #

I now live in the home that Rob Stirling called home. My husband purchased it from Rob’s father in 1966. We moved in when we married in 1969 and have been there ever since. The park and the surrounding area generally have both changed a lot since those days. Mitchell’s courts were still there when we moved in to the house but there are now two houses built on the Congewoi Road site. Len and Syl Mitchell’s house backed on to ours. Both that house and our own have been altered physically from what they were in 1969.

This section of Countess Street, in particular, has changed dramatically. All the lovely old California bungalows – which I understand were built by Len Mitchell – on the eastern side have been altered so much, become large concrete and glass structures mostly, and there is only one ‘original’ facade left. Sad really.

When our son was born he was the only child around for ‘miles’. We were the ‘young people’ in the street. Now, after 50 years living here, we are the old people in the street and the surrounding houses are all filled with young people and children and the park is once again a hub for them all. I love the sound of the laughter from the park and the children’s parties that are held there almost every weekend.

— Lesley Pinelli · 27 February 2019, 06:49 · #

Hi Lesley. Wow, good old Mosman memories. Some time ago when I was in Sydney my sister Jan and her husband Maurice took me to 24 Countess Street and I knocked on the door but nobody was home. Lots of memories there, my father built the place in 1947 and I lived there until I moved to Perth in 1962. Jan also moved out in ’62 when she married Maurice Sutcliffe – our parents separated soon after and I never knew what happened to the house. Many of the changes you talk about had been made when I called there, houses on the tennis courts and changes to that part of Awaba street but the park looked pretty well unchanged, hope it stays that way.

— Rob Stirling · 28 May 2019, 14:23 · #

Rita Corbitt – I remember your Dad, Bill Smith and your mum too. Used to go to their house as they lived just next to my Grandad, Eric Earle on Countess Street. I have a photo of your Dad if you can get in touch via this page and I’ll send it to you.

— Jane Earle · 8 April 2020, 18:05 · #

John Young – my parents (Brian and Betty Crouch) owned 28 Congewoi Road from about 1962/63 until mum sold the place following dad’s death in 1985. Spent the first 20 years of my life there. We built onto the back and added a deck in the mid 1970’s. Have many fond memories of playing with friends in the street and fishing at Inkerman Baths and Joel’s Boatshed. Old Tom Joel was always very kind to me. Hope you’re still enjoying the place, even though it was substantially remodeled from the original home in 1985.

— Ian Crouch · 12 May 2020, 17:11 · #

Ian Crouch – Fond memories of playing with you and your siblings, and others next door to you, and across the road – battles between warring teams using date kernels from the beautiful date palm trees, bikes whizzing up and down the street and footpath, fireworks in letter boxes! Such a great place to grow up – 1961 to 1970 (when we moved to the other side of Mosman to accommodate our grandmother). Our house at #30 has also been remodelled, but my strongest memory is of the backyard which seemed like a magic forest to me with enormous palms, paths, and places to spy insects and lizards. Swimming at the Inkerman Street baths was fun but a bit icky under foot I seem to remember! Long family history in Mosman – c. 1895 to 2006 (when my dad moved to the War Vets at Narrabeen).

— Andrea Mackillop · 22 July 2020, 11:12 · #