Our History

Author: Mr Andrew Tan - 2004 Club President
Original script: http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/showthread.php/5104-Sydney-Kendo-Club-30th-Anniversary-(pics-intensive)

In 2004, the Sydney Kendo Club - oldest kendo club in Australia - celebrates the 30th anniversary of its establishment at Willoughby, Sydney. On December 18th, we will be holding official celebrations to commemorate this milestone.

Our history actually stretches way before 1974...all the way to when kendo was first practised in Australia. Allow me to share with you a brief history of the club, followed by a mini-trip down memory lane...

Kendo has been actively practiced in Sydney since the early 1960s. Messrs. Rex Lawley and Ron Bennett, along with Okura-san , Yoshida-san , Shoji-san, Jun Takeuchi and John Anderson, were instrumental in developing kendo in this country in the 1960s and early 1970s. This period was characterised not only by early kendo developments, but also by a string of events which lead the group to move from one location to another.

By the early 1970s, 2 groups of kendo practitioners exist in Sydney. Yoshida-san (and later Takeuchi-san) led the main group which Rex and other senior members trained with. The other group was led by John Anderson, whom Daniel Strenger trained under. At one stage, trainings were held at multiple locations, including North Rocks, Epping, Glebe and Muirfield.

With the support from Yoshida-san, the Australian Kendo Renmei was formally instituted in 1969. In 1970, Australia was one of the original 8 countries to participate in the first World Kendo Championship held in Japan.

In 1974, Doug Milton started a dojo at the Willoughby Park Centre (then known as the Willoughby Youth Centre) where both the kendo groups started training together. Trainings were held under the auspices of the Willoughby Park Centre Judo Club, which provided some kendo equipment, though kendo trainings were separate from judo. Given the popularity of the location, Willoughby Park Centre (Albert Chowne Memorial Hall more specifically) became the only kendo dojo as the kendo groups were effectively amalgamated under one roof. With increasing number of members, the Willoughby Youth Centre Kendo Club (later known as the Sydney Kendo Club) became formally constituted.

As they say, the rest is history.

Andrew Tan
2004 President, Sydney Kendo Club

Sydney Kendo Club
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