Rockleigh community hopes to hold court at reborn tennis club

Two locals share a plan to bring a gathering place back to life.

This story was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled stories are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.

It started with a chat at the local Uniting Church one week: wouldn't it be great if the tennis courts could be fixed up?

Two of them lie in between a paddock and a school that closed 78 years ago at Rockleigh, on a dirt road that winds through the hills.

They are what a real estate agent might term a renovator's delight: cracked and inhabited by ants, surrounded by bent, rusty fences, nets long since tucked away in the back of someone's cupboard somewhere.

But Jarrod Manuel and Barbara Pym, pictured, hope the sporting facility once prized by the local community might someday come alive again.

"A few times I've had friends around and thought 'oh, we could go down there and have a hit'," Mr Manuel said.

The pair figure there would be plenty of other locals with the same mindset – there was even a tennis club at Rockleigh until about 20 years ago.

More recently, the annual Rockleigh Neighbour Muster has proven that community members and people from surrounding areas will come out of the woodwork if there's something on.

"There are a lot of new activities and events we're looking at doing," Mr Manuel said.

"We're looking for new opportunities for the community."

But plenty of work needs to be done before that can happen at the tennis courts.

Mr Manuel hoped they could be resurfaced and that basketball backboards, netball rings or futsal goals could be installed – maybe even lighting, if a power source could be connected; or a screen to facilitate community movie nights.

In the longer term, perhaps the tennis club could even be resurrected as the area's population grew.

The first step towards that vision will be convincing the Murray Bridge and/or Mid Murray councils, each of which is responsible for parts of Rockleigh, to help the community pay for a design to be drawn up.

Rockleigh would only be an active community if it had the necessary facilities, Ms Pym said.

Photos: Peri Strathearn.