The Tildesley Shield Tennis competition was first held in 1918, with Daphne Akhurst the winner of the singles competition and Normanhurst School, Ashfield, the overall winner.
Daphne, one of the best women tennis players Australia has produced, was a pupil of Normanhurst, a school which in 1918 had as its Headmistress Miss Evelyn Mary Tildesley. It was Miss Evelyn Tildesley who donated “a beautiful oak and bronze shield” to encourage a tennis competition which emphasized team spirit, not individual competition.
According to Mr Henry Marsh, in his article in the Normanhurst Jubilee Magazine:
“It is the most coveted trophy in school tennis because it teaches the girls to play for their school rather than for themselves, its special value lying in the fact that at least 12 girls, with a maximum of 32, according to the number of pupils over 12 years of age, compete for the trophy, thereby giving a number of the younger girls an opportunity of representing their School which they would not otherwise get until much later.
Thus, the idea of encouraging team spirit, school spirit and wide participation in tennis was seen to enhance the Tildesley Shield, an ideal that reflects its donor’s interest in a well-rounded education for all students and her desire to bring out the potential of each student so that they were stimulated to try to become proficient in some subject or occupation which would give abiding interest as well as make them useful members of society.
It is to be hoped that members of IGSSA (now known as IGSA Sport) in 1988 and in the years to come, continue to value these ideals of Miss Tildesley so that the Shield remains true to its conception and that the students in our schools benefit from the educational philosophy which lies behind it.”