Graeme Cumbrae-Stewart became a life member of the Glen Iris Valley Recreation Club in 1981 and has been a loyal servant of the club for the best part of thirty years. The following article was published on the Australian Davis Cup Tennis Foundation website on June 1, 2014.
Graeme Cumbrae-Stewart retires as Secretary
Graeme Cumbrae-Stewart OAM retired as ADCTF Secretary at the conclusion of the May Board Meeting, noting his recent health issues, but will stay on as a Director. We are fortunate that Graeme’s expertise and experience will still be available for us to draw upon following a career of over 55 years in tennis administration.
In 1959, aged a mere 18 years, Graeme accepted Nomination for the Office of Assistant Secretary at the Glen Iris Valley Tennis Club when the Club Secretary had announced that he would not continue in that office without some support. Graeme was a keen tennis player whose contemporaries at Glen Iris included Hayden Rees and John Semmens but it was in tennis administration that he would make his mark.
His employment in the mid 1960’s saw him stationed in Brisbane with the National Mutual Life Insurance Association and upon his return to Melbourne Graeme was promptly elected to the office of President of the Glen Iris Valley Tennis Club. He held that post for 10 years and was made a life-member of the Club in 1981. He served also as President of the Glen Iris Valley Recreation Club (covering tennis, bowls and croquet) from 1974-77 then as Secretary for 20 years from 1979-2000. A truly impressive record of service to a tennis club, but that was not all!
In 1978 Graeme, along with a number of prominent office-bearers representing metropolitan pennant clubs including Kevin Howard, Albert Jacoby, Geoff Peters and Peter Bellenger, were instrumental in forming the Victorian Tennis Association (now Tennis Victoria) after a break with the LTAV, run by Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. Graeme wrote the original VTA constitution, served as Chairman of the VTA Finance Committee from 1978-1997 and was a VTA Committee Member from 1978-1991. In 1991 he was elevated to Vice-President of the VTA and held that post until 1997.
Following Graeme’s retirement from the VTA, Neale Fraser invited him over for a cup of coffee and a chat and Graeme soon found himself as Secretary of the ADCTF. Graeme’s expertise and meticulous record keeping have been a great asset to the Foundation and, as Neale would frequently remark, “Graeme writes a beautiful letter.” He organised many of the successful AO Luncheons up to recent years, and noted that perhaps he should have been up on the stage at the last Luncheon, celebrating the 1957 Davis Cup victory, as he had been a ball-boy during that tie!
Over the years Graeme and his wife Helene have attended a number of Australia’s overseas Davis Cup ties and, like so many of us, he still longs for the return of Australia’s glory days of continuing Davis Cup success.
When asked to nominate his greatest personal achievement as a tennis administrator his response was immediate and without equivocation: “the successful relocation of the Glen Iris Valley Tennis Club from Glen Iris to the Riversdale Golf Club in Mt Waverley”.