In 1946 the Hyde Park Table Tennis Club was founded by Jim Aufderheide, Alby Hammond and Kevin Barrie. The original clubrooms were located next to the old Hyde Park Hotel. It was not until the early 70’s that the club changed its name to the Sturt Table Tennis Club.
In the late 60’s Joe Joseph got involved with the club as a player, and after being involved for a couple of years, was asked to take on a role on the committee, which he accepted. His first position was Club Secretary. He stayed in that position for the entire time that he was with the Club, and along with wife Edna, ran the Club for almost 15 years, seeing all of their 8 children become involved as players.
This period in the club’s history is known as the “Joseph” Years.
Not long after he became Secretary, Joe decided to move the club to a new home. Whilst looking for possible sites he discovered that the S.A.T.T.A. were moving from their old premises in Parkside on Glen Osmond Road into a new building 200 metres up the road, and so he decided to make the owners an offer to become the new tenant.
The offer was successful and the Hyde Park Table Tennis Club had a new home in the Parkside Institute on Glen Osmond Road, Parkside. At that time, the Committee also decided on a name change, and the Sturt Table Tennis Club was born. These 2 decisions proved to be winners, and the club grew rapidly.
When they first moved into their new premises the Club had 4 teams playing in the Winter Pennant competition. At its peak in the mid 1970’s, the Club had almost 30 teams playing in 18 grades.
It was also in the mid 1970’s that the Club expanded its clubrooms, and leased the old library site next door. The Club went from 6 tables to 9 tables, and a player’s lounge was also created, with a TV, and lounge chairs placed behind a screen near the canteen.
It was during this time that the Club implemented a “Summer Season” competition. At that time, Sturt were one of the first clubs to have their own internal summer comp, and after a slow start, it also became a great success and is now the biggest summer competition in Adelaide.
Joe and his wife Edna became 2nd parents to many young people who joined the Club. They would open the clubrooms at 6.30 in the evening from Monday to Friday right throughout the year. They would also be there every night until closing time (usually between 11.00 and midnight), when they would lock up. It became their life. Edna was also the cleaner and most days would be in the clubrooms, mopping floors, cleaning toilets, stocking the drinks fridge and cleaning the tables. All of their work for the Club was done on a voluntary basis.
The Club developed some terrific junior players and also recruited some talented seniors during this period. Players like…
Ken Sleep, Kym Stasinowsky, John Faik, Greg Ough, Greg, Shelley & Kim Horne, Reece Watkins, Sharon Davey, Janet Tieste, Dawn Darwent, Tony Stacey, Jim Chisholm … the list could go on and on.
Who could forget people like Ray Randall (who became Club President when Joe retired) and David Eitzen (who replaced Joe as Club Secretary) ?!
The club enjoyed for many years the coaching skills of former Australian Champions in Murray Thompson and Phil Anderson.
Joe Joseph passed away in 1991 aged 71, and wife Edna died in 1995 aged 76.
In the early 1990s, the Unley Council (in a bid to increase the commercialisation of the Glen Osmond Road) cancelled the lease that the Club held on the Parkside Institute.
Consequently, the Club suddenly found itself without a venue and at risk of going out of existence.
Thanks to the efforts primarily of Mr Eugene Herman the Club continued to exist by hiring other halls, and then in 1994 the club purchased its own premises at 7, Albert Street, Clarence Gardens.
The purchase of its own premises was financed via Government Funding, but also very largely due to the financial assistance by way of loans from members and friends of the Sturt Table Tennis Club. In 2002 the Club achieved a milestone in repaying all loans.
The Club is now the only table tennis club in South Australia that owns its own premises. The purchase of its own premises is perhaps the biggest milestone in the club’s history and has resulted in the club being assured of its future existence.
Just as the early years of the Club were known as the “Joseph” years the latter years are known as the “Herman” Years. Both Eugene Herman and his son Alan have held the position of “President” of the club and are instrumental in continuing the success of the club.