Sport

Living legend coming to Grafton

Tennis champion Evonne Goolagong-Cawley poses with her Wimbledon trophies at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.
Tennis champion Evonne Goolagong-Cawley poses with her Wimbledon trophies at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

A YOUNG Evonne Goolagong was peering through the fence at her local tennis courts at Barellan when a player named Bill Kurtzman saw her and asked if she would like to join in.

That one small act of kindness set off a chain of events that dramatically changed Goolagong's life, and the shape of Australian sport, forever.

In an outstanding playing career that included two Wimbledon titles, four Australian Opens and a French Open, Goolagong became a household name and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and honoured as Australian of the Year.

Now she is coming to Grafton to hold a tennis clinic for local indigenous students.

"I was very lucky to have been given those early opportunities and have the local people rally around me to help me start my career," Goolagong-Cawley said.

"I still remember the local tennis club holding fundraisers and farmers driving me to and from neighbouring towns so I could play competitions.

"There's no doubt that those small things made a huge difference to my life and I am forever thankful to those who were so kind to me as a young girl."

With her first dream of a Wimbledon title under her belt, Goolagong-Cawley has become a tireless worker in chasing her new dream.

"I want to see as many indigenous kids as possible play tennis, finish school and become great role models," she said.

"It is something I am very passionate about. I truly believe that tennis, and sport in general, can make a huge difference to young Aboriginal people's lives."

It was only natural then, that the Evonne Goolagong Foundation would team with the Learn, Earn, Legend initiative to give indigenous children an incentive to stay in school.

Goolagong-Cawley will be in Grafton on Thursday to conduct a tennis Come and Try Day for local indigenous students aged between five and 15 years old.

"It's all about getting out and having some fun on the tennis court, but the program is also about using tennis as a vehicle for education," she said.

"The reason I chose to come back to Grafton was the great reception I had at the Clarence Ahead dinner in January and the contacts I made there during the visit.

"I have to say a huge thanks to Beris Duroux, the local Aboriginal Education co-ordinator, for her terrific help in organising the event.

"We are expecting up to 100 kids to turn up on Thursday and it should be a great, fun afternoon of tennis."

Goolagong-Cawley is also keen to meet local Aboriginal elders and parents of the kids and has invited all to come to the courts for a sausage-sizzle lunch.

"Everyone is welcome. I look forward to talking with some of the senior members of the community, as well as the kids," she said.

"The Learn, Earn, Legend program is all about getting kids to stay at school, get that job and be a legend for their community."

QUICK FACTS

WHAT: Come and Try Tennis clinic for indigenous students aged 5-15.

WHERE: Grafton City Tennis Courts

WHEN: Thursday from 10.30am-3pm.

WHO: Tennis champions Evonne Goolagong and Roger Cawley

WHY: Learn, Earn, Legend campaign for Aboriginal education

Topics:  career, grafton, tennis



Record spend to stop high-risk crims re-offending

Millions of dollars in funding to stop high-risk crims

Clarence Valley voters take a liking to pre-poll

VOTING EARLY: There has been a steady stream of voters at pre-poll centres in Grafton and Maclean ahead of the Clarence Valley Council election.

Pre poll voting for the council election opened this week.

All the Valley's weekend gigs

Comedian Arj Barker is at the Saraton Theatre on Saturday night.

25 gigs on stage this weekend

Latest deals and offers

Band promises satisfaction for Stones fans

FRONT MAN: John van Zyl leads the way for the Rolling Stone Experience which will play at the GDSC on Saturday.

Start them up and they'll never stop

All the Valley's weekend gigs

Comedian Arj Barker is at the Saraton Theatre on Saturday night.

25 gigs on stage this weekend

What's on the big screen this week

Mel Gibson and Diego Luna in a scene from the movie Blood Father.

THREE new thrillers open in cinemas today.

Love is in the air on The Bachelor, but not for Kiki

The Bachelor Australia contestant Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris.

BACHELORETTE bows out gracefully as show enters its final weeks.

A $65,000 bathroom? The Block's incredible budget blow-outs

The Block contestants Julia and Sasha spent a whopping $65,000 on their first renovated room.

TEAMS deliver most expensive en-suites in reno show's history.

How high? Twin 20-storey high-rises plan for "over 50s"

A development application has been lodged with the Fraser Coast Regional Council to build two skyscrapers in Hervey Bay.

Developer says Bay needs to move with the times.

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

Receivers move in on Springfield's 'Tower of Power'

The 10-storey tower at Springfield is up for sale with interest high in the iconic structure.

Interest high in iconic 10-storey office building

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia