Oberon's Joyce Ballinger still playing tennis at 90

MILESTONE: Even though she just turned 90, Joyce Ballinger still enjoys her weekly game of tennis - and has no plans to give it away just yet.
MILESTONE: Even though she just turned 90, Joyce Ballinger still enjoys her weekly game of tennis - and has no plans to give it away just yet.

Joyce Ballinger turned 90 last week and is still serving it up to the best of them.

Mrs Ballinger, who continues to play tennis every Tuesday morning in the ladies’ competition at the Oberon Indoor Tennis Centre, got her start in the sport when she was 10.

She played at Ferndale on the Duckmaloi Road on a gravel court.

"Tennis was very social and there were tennis courts throughout the district. Churches had tennis courts and there were tennis courts at Black Springs and Hazelgrove,” she said.

"There was a very strong competiton, but it was also very social."

READ ALSO:

Mrs Ballinger (nee Brien) was born at Ferndale and is one of nine children - Claude, Heather, Olwyn, William, Mona, Marvyn, Joan and Arnold.

Her parents, Lyndsy and Min Brien, were also born in Oberon. Her father's grave is one of the old headstones near the Anglican Church in the main street.

"I suppose this makes me a local after living here for 90 years," Mrs Ballinger said 

She married Fred Ballinger in 1950 and they had five children - Dianne, Doug, Carolyn, and twins Neil and Len.

"We have always been a sporty family,” Mrs Ballinger said.

“Dianne competed at the Australian Championships in athletics when she was young. And, of course, Doug, Neil and Len played for the Oberon Tigers rugby league side.

"My husband, Fred, also played footy in Oberon in the local competition which included teams such as Oberon Souths, Edith and The Mill team. Fred went on to captain the Boys Club team before they entered the Group 10 competition."

Mrs Ballinger said Oberon is lucky to have an indoor tennis centre.

"This means we can play all year round. We currently have 20 players in our Tuesday competition. My daughters even travel out from Bathurst to play.

"The men’s competition is on a Monday night.

"Tennis has always been a strong sport in Oberon. We used to have tennis four nights a week.

"Nothing has changed in the game over the 80 years I've been playing.

"I now have a lightweight racquet rather then an old timber one."

Mrs Ballinger said she will continue to play tennis as long as she can.

"It keeps me going, I enjoy the exercise and, socially, it is fulfilling."