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Chave, Alfred Cecil (1905–1971)

by M. L. Howell and R. A. Howell

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

Alfred Cecil Chave (1905-1971), tennis administrator, broadcaster and fruit merchant, was born on 16 August 1905 at Auchenflower, Brisbane, second child of Alfred Edward Chave, a fruit merchant from New South Wales, and his English-born wife Mabel, née Fursey. Alf was educated at Wynnum Primary and Brisbane State High schools, then joined the family fruit-business. A talented all-round sportsman, he specialized in tennis. He was a member of Queensland's team in the Linton Cup from 1924 to 1926 and in 1925 was ranked second in the State behind E. F. ('Gar') Moon, a future Australian singles champion (1930). Chave was to remain one of Queensland's top ten players until 1947. At the Albert Street Methodist Church, Brisbane, on 29 July 1926 he married South African-born Raby Marie Llewellyn Davies.

From 1930, when he began reporting for the Brisbane Telegraph, Chave developed a career as a versatile journalist. Later known in Australia as 'the Voice of Tennis', he was a commentator on the international circuit for over forty years. He attended sixteen successive Wimbledons, reporting for the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force on 13 April 1942, he was commissioned next month. He served as an intelligence officer with No.25 Squadron in Western Australia and at headquarters, Eastern Area, Brisbane. In July 1944 he was promoted temporary flight lieutenant. On 29 December his appointment was terminated at his own request. Divorced in 1948, on 24 September 1949 Chave married a hairdresser Patricia Mary Sutherland, née Johansson, at the Presbyterian Church, Ann Street, Brisbane. After World War II he built up a successful fruit-business (Alf Chave Export Pty Ltd) at the Brisbane Markets.

Sporting administration was Chave's forte. A council-member (from 1928) of the Queensland Lawn Tennis Association, he served for many years on its management and finance committees. With the exception of the presidency, he occupied every other position on the Q.L.T.A. executive: organizing secretary (1939), vice-president (1948-49 and 1955), assistant-secretary (1950-51) and treasurer (1963-69). He was a founding member (1932) of the Umpires' Association (later the Queensland Lawn Tennis Umpires' Association) and was one of its three selectors in 1939-69.

When the United States of America played Belgium at Milton, Brisbane, in 1957 he became the first Queenslander to referee a Davis Cup inter-zone final. Chave also managed Queensland teams in the Linton Cup and took two national teams overseas. The 1961 team, which included John Newcombe, Bob Hewitt, Ken Fletcher and Fred Stolle, though declared the worst to leave Australia, returned with twenty-eight championships. In 1962 he took the first Australian team to tour the Soviet Union.

Survived by his wife, and by the son and two daughters of his first marriage, Chave died of myocardial infarction on 15 August 1971 in Brisbane and was cremated with Presbyterian forms. His estate was sworn for probate at $126,965. In 1972 the clubhouse at the Milton tennis centre was named after him.

Select Bibliography

  • Queensland Lawn Tennis Association, A Century of Queensland Tennis (Brisb, 1988)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 16 May 1962
  • Telegraph (Brisbane), 13 Oct 1970, 16 Aug 1971
  • Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 16 Aug 1971, 3 Aug 1972
  • Australian, 17 Aug 1971
  • private information.

Citation details

M. L. Howell and R. A. Howell, 'Chave, Alfred Cecil (1905–1971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/chave-alfred-cecil-9736/text17195, published in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 24 October 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

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