Tildesley Shield 100 years on

By Abbotsleigh Staff Authors credited in article where available October 19, 2023

The first Tildesley Shield competition was held at the New South Wales Lawn Tennis Association courts at Double Bay in 1918, with twelve schools competing.


Miss Evelyn Tildesley, Headmistress of Normanhurst in 1918, donated “a beautiful oak and bronze shield” to encourage a tennis competition which emphasised team spirit, not individual competition. The Shield, according to a brief history compiled by the Normanhurst Old Girls’ Union, was to be presented to the school which could show the best average score in tennis.

Abbotsleigh entered the Tildesley competition in 1928, and in 1938 we won our first Tildesley Shield – after ten years of competing. Diana Bourke (captain of the team) is pictured with the Tildesley Shield – it must have been straight after the competition as our name isn’t yet on the shield!


The 1950s was a strong Tildesley era for Abbotsleigh as we won the Shield five times – 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957 and 1958. The win by Abbotsleigh in 1952 was popular as Abbotsleigh had not won the percentage average since 1938. It was noted that the win was most pleasing, especially as we had been forced to withdraw in 1951 on account of sickness amongst the students.

Abbotsleigh also won the won the shield in 1967, an achievement the 1967 leavers are very proud of.