Barellan makes a racquet

04 Oct, 2009 05:00 AM
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Daryl Flagg (back), David Irvin and Philip Bourshier made the 20:1 scale model of Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s wooden Dunlop racquet which will be unveiled this weekend as part of the Barellan Centenary celebrations.
Daryl Flagg (back), David Irvin and Philip Bourshier made the 20:1 scale model of Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s wooden Dunlop racquet which will be unveiled this weekend as part of the Barellan Centenary celebrations.

Barellan-born tennis champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley, will be celebrated with a giant tennis racquet in her honour unveiled during Barellan’s Centenary celebrations next weekend.

The shearer’s daughter and Wimbledon singles star was born in the Riverina town in 1951 and will be an integral player in the centenary program this October long weekend.

A 20:1 scale model of her wooden Dunlop racquet will be unveiled in Evonne Goolagong Park during the weekend, and form a tribute to the former resident who now calls Brisbane home.

The 13.8-metre tennis racquet was the brain child of David Irvin, who said the Goolagong family was well-respected in town.

“I was fortunate enough when I was 12 or 13 that I won an Evonne Goolagong racquet,” Mr Irvin said.

“It’s a fantastic way to remember Evonne forever.”

He said once the idea occurred to him, and other people backed it, a committee was formed, and he dug his racquet out and set about creating a giant replica.

Businesses came on board to support the idea, with steel from Steel Supplies, Wagga Wagga; cutting by Collier and Miller, funds from Dunlop, and a synthetic court from Sports Technology.

“The support from companies has been fantastic,” Mr Irvin said.

The completed racquet features a handle measuring 7.8m, head of six metres, and a 1.25m fibreglass tennis ball – the colour of a real tennis ball.

Mr Irvin said when he contacted Ms Goolagong Cawley, she was pleased with the idea.

“She said she was chuffed.”

The giant tennis racquet will be unveiled in Evonne Goolagong Park at 11am on Saturday, October 3.

“It’s been a fantastic story all the way through,” Mr Irvin said.

The centenary celebrations during the October long weekend are expected to attract more than 5000 people from as far as South Australia and Queensland, and has been in planning for three and half years.

“We’ve had a small army of local helpers,” he said.

The centenary program contains a range of events including a sportsperson’s night, a history book launch, a street procession, tennis coaching with Evonne Goolagong Cawley, district tours and a Ball of the Century.

Mr Irvin said there would also be a chance to go yabbying with Ms Goolagong Cawley, at her request.

The tennis racquet is the world’s biggest, but Mr Irvin said the committee was still in discussions with The Guinness Book of Records as to how it would be added.

Mr Irvin thanked welder, Nathan Hunter, for his contribution to the project.

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