Exploring England Studley Park Modern

The Dunlop family

Alfred Wallace Dunlop was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1875.  A noted tennis player, he won his first important championship in NZ for the men's singles (1900-01). Perhaps this watershed match was a happy inspiration for naming Ruapaki (Maori for 'clap twice'). Later he won the men's doubles at Hagley Park in Christchurch for the Australasian Davis Cup team in 1911 against the USA with Norman Brookes.

Prior to the mid 1950s, the west side of Studley Avenue between Studley Park Road and Stawell Street consisted of only three properties: Dunlop's house at No. 9, a house at No. 5 and the neo-Georgian brick house still standing at No. 15 constructed for Alfred's second son, Bruce Dunlop, in 1956, complete with a tennis court. A house for the third Dunlop son (Alfred Guy) was constructed around the corner in Studley Park Road, the tennis court next to which is visible in aerial photos from the time. This house is also still standing at what is now No. 2 Dunlop Avenue.

Dunlop died in 1933 at the age of 58. In his eulogy, the distinguished tennis champion and his fellow Davis Cup team member Sir Norman Brookes praised Dunlop as being one of the finest doubles players the world had produced.  The funeral procession was more than a mile long. The land to the west of Ruapaki was subdivided in 1950, giving rise to Dunlop Avenue with its numerous cream brick 50s houses and the house designed by Robin Boyd at No. 23 (while with Grounds, Romberg and Boyd in 1955). Ruapaki  was retained by the Dunlop family until about 1960 when the property was sold. It was later divided into flats. The house was listed on the register of the National Trust of Australia. An application for listing on the Victorian Heritage Register was unsuccessful and it was demolished in 1981.

While the Dunlop sons' courts have long since been built over, the property at 9 Studley Avenue now includes a tennis court along the Studley Avenue side. How apt!