SA sporting executives visit Kangaroo Island to assist bushfire recovery

Sporting organisations across South Australia are joining forces to support the Kangaroo Island communities devastated by bushfires.

Chief executive officers from Tennis SA, South Australian Cricket Association (SACA), South Australian National Football League (SANFL) and Netball SA visited Kangaroo Island on Thursday, February 20.

As part of the visit, the sports executives met with the Kangaroo Island Council and the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island to discuss local sports' needs and how the state's sporting organisations can support the relief and rebuild efforts moving forward.

There will be an audit of affected sporting venues, clubs and facilities as the recovery planning begins.

Tennis SA also hosted a Kangaroo Island Bushfire Relief Community Tennis Event at Parndana on Thursday night, giving all members of the community the opportunity to get involved through an ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Carnival and Open Court Session.

"This trip to Kangaroo Island will give us the opportunity to see firsthand the devastation that these fires have caused, and hear directly from the communities affected," said Debbie Sterrey, Tennis SA CEO.

"It will also form the start of our planning for future recovery, while giving us the chance to bring the community together for a few hours of tennis fun."

This will be the first of several Bushfire Relief Community Tennis Events to be held around the State in the coming weeks.

Tennis SA visited Kangaroo Island this week to see first hand the impact of January's bushfires and discuss how we can support the relief and rebuild efforts.

Stokes Bay Tennis Club and Community Hall was hit by fire on 3 January 2020. The fire moved through, destroying the back half of the community hall, taking out the clubrooms and commercial kitchen, leaving behind an eerie scorched Christmas tree. Outside, the fire wiped out the playground and tennis courts, melting the surface, nets and destroying the fences.

Having decided to withdraw from the current tennis season to work through the clean up of their properties, club members have been touched by the association's support and offer of being able to return for finals in the coming weeks if they feel ready.

Whilst devastated by the loss, the positivity and resilience shown by the club members to not only rebuild, but be in a position to play tennis next season and be ready for the annual fireworks display in November was truly inspirational.

For Western Districts, their tennis courts were surrounded by bushfire but came through relatively unscathed. The clubrooms combined with cricket, football and netball, however, weren't so lucky. Burnt out completely, what was left of the clubrooms has been removed in the past week, along with the remains of priceless memorabilia, photos and equipment, including tennis nets.

Having been built in 1964, the club is positive in their approach moving forward, with the opportunity to rebuild and best meet the needs of the community now and in to the future.

The trip also included a Bushfire Relief Community Event at Parndana Tennis Club, providing a great opportunity for players and the community to hit the court for a few hours of tennis fun.

The Tennis SA team also joined the #BookThemOut campaign, visiting and documenting local tourist attractions along the way.

Tennis SA will continue to support and track the progress of the communities and clubs affected as we work through planning and rebuild phases for the coming weeks, months and years.