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CHSRA history


History-chsra City Houses Squash Racquets Association (CHSRA) is an association run by a group of volunteers who organise squash games in the Sydney CBD with their major event since 1953 being the Team’s competition. The Team’s competition runs from May to September with players forming teams from many companies, or just a group of friends. All standards welcome, and teams can be mixed with matches played across the Sydney CBD.

The Sydney CBD Squash competition began in the 1950's with a number of Banking & Insurance companies organising teams to play each other after the close of business during the week. Many of these companies in the Sydney CBD - Commonwealth Bank (CBA), Bank of NSW Wales, Reserve Bank, AMP and MLC formed teams to play in a yearly City Houses Squash Racquets Association Teams Competition however these teams were males only. The squash competition was played at various locations across the Sydney CBD with Reserve Bank, Commonwealth Bank and AMP having two squash courts in their main Head Office buildings, with only the AMP courts at Circular Quay still existing and available for staff and City Houses. Maybe being located in the basement with the carpark may have helped these courts survive, whereas the others in the banks were located on at least the 10th Floor.


Commonwealth Bank Sydney Squash Club was formed in 1952, our earliest known and still playing with the largest number of teams in the 2017 competition.

The Team's Competition is a Mixed format played from 5.30pm to 8pm Monday to Friday from May to September every year since 1953. During the remainder of the year we hire squash courts for social play, and we also organise a yearly Club Championship event. Some of the larger clubs (Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, and Macquarie Bank) also hold their own individual Club Championship event before or after the major teams’ competition.


The objectives of the C.H.S.R.A (City Houses Squash Racquets Association) are:-

  1. Promote and encourage social squash through the City Houses Squash Club,
  2. To organise and run the annual City Business Houses Competition,
  3. To manage Squash Courts which C.H.S.R.A has a lease or usage agreement with Court owners.

The City Houses Women’s Squash Racquets competition commenced in the 1970's allowing females to play squash in the Sydney CBD teams competition. Teams from AMP, Bank of NSW and Commonwealth Bank started the Association which competed during the same months as the Men's competition.

In 1984 the City Houses Women’s Association changed their name to the City Houses Mixed Squash Association which allowed Men to play competition squash against the Ladies. Many of the male players also competed in the "Men's" Competition and would have been playing twice a week after work.

Squash courts being used at this time were in Reserve Bank (2 courts) in Martin Place, Commonwealth Bank (2) in Martin Place, AMP (2) at Circular Quay, Westpac Plaza now called Met Centre (2) in George Street and MLC (2) at North Sydney. Catholic Club in Castlereagh Street had two courts which were only used for social games and heavily booked at lunch time.

1995 is the year the City Houses Squash Racquets Association (Men's Squash) merged with the City Houses Mixed Squash Association. The City Houses Squash Racquets Association name was kept. All matches are now a mixed competition and organised by one committee. Committee members are all volunteers working for the companies involved in the squash competition.

Functions & trophies

At the end of each Team's competition, a combined function would be held at one of the Head Office corporate function room. This usually involved up to 200 players having a meal and plenty of drinks to celebrate the previous six months of competition. Functions were held and rotated around at Commonwealth Bank, Reserve Bank, Westpac (Bank of NSW), Esso and AMP, and was subsidised by the Patron who was an executive of the company holding the event that year.

History-trophy1The end of year function is now a Cocktail event currently being held at The Tattersalls Club in Elizabeth Street, and fully funded by the players via their team fees and a small payment.

At this end of year event Perpetual Trophies are handed out to the winning team who hold on to the trophy for a year before returning for the next recipient. We have kept all the old trophies which are now being used for various grades:

B Grade maintains our oldest Perpetual Trophy which has been handed out yearly since 1953. It's named “The H.V. (Vin) Napier Cup” for B Grade Premiers. Vin was a Life Member and Past President of Squash Australia. Vin was also Heather McKay's first coach. Commonwealth Bank was the first recipient in 1953.

The C2 Grade trophy commenced in 1975 – “Wales Bank Trophy” and was donated by the Bank of NSW, also known as Wales before changing to Westpac. MLC won this grade in 1975.

Our Club Championship Trophy is the “K.F. Byrnes Opal Trophy” and has been handed out yearly from 1978. Kevin Byrnes is a former Reserve Bank employee - worked in carpentry shop and retired in 1993. This award has a few rules to determine the best club overall each year. Commonwealth Bank Squash Club has been awarded this trophy the most by any clubs, with AMP being the first in 1978.

(just ignore the Tennis player on the trophy…..the racquets have been broken over the years and replaced.)

History-trophy2Our D3 Grade trophy commenced in 1978 in the City House's Women's Squash Association and was donated by ESSO Australia LTD. Commonwealth Bank was the first recipient in 1978.

We recently located the previous A Grade trophy named the “J.G. Phillips Shield” used from 1967 to 1978. Sir John Grant Phillips 1911-1986 was an Australian economist who became the 2nd Governor of the Reserve Bank 1968 to 1975. His name appeared on Australian currency notes as "J.G. Phillips". John was a squash player & while serving as deputy governor oversaw the introduction of decimal currency in 1966 & the construction of a new building for the Reserve Bank in Martin Place. We believe John must have ensured the two squash courts were built in the Reserve Bank during construction as he was an active squash player for Reserve Bank. 

Previous Reserve Bank Governors have also been active Squash players including Bernie Fraser who was Governor from 1989 to 1996. Sadly we lost the Reserve Bank Squash courts to office space in 2000.

Our current A Grade Premiers Perpetual trophy is named the “V. E. Martin Trophy”. This trophy has been handed out yearly since 1979. Our largest and heaviest, and visited many "pubs" over the years on its way home via train, bus or taxi from the yearly Presentation Night. Bank of NSW won this grade in 1979, however "Wales" only is engraved on the trophy.

History-trophy3The D1 Grade trophy commenced in 1979 and called “The Neville Stutchbury Trophy” - Reserve Bank was the first recipient in 1979.

Our C3 Grade Trophy commenced in 1983 – “The Kingfish Trophy” and was donated by ESSO Australia LTD. ESSO joined the competition in the early 1970's, and also hosted the Presentation Night in the late 1980's at their ESSO building which had a magnificent view of Sydney Harbour. Kingfish were famous Esso Oil Platforms so we are presuming this is where the Kingfish name came from. Esso won the C3 Grade in 1983.

The D2 Grade trophy commenced in 1984 and is called the “Commonwealth Bank Trophy” who donated the trophy. The Waterboard Team 2 won the grade in 1984.

For a list of competition winners throughout the club's history, visit competition-premiers.

Organisations & courts

Over the years players would move companies and organise a team. News got around the company and many more squash players would join a team. Macquarie Bank entered the 1998 competition with APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) joining in 2003.

We have had many teams from Esso, Caltex, Qantas, State Bank of NSW, Mercantile Mutual, Simple Solutions, Bishopsgate Insurance, just to name a few. Teams come and go, depending who is available to organise.

We lost access to the two squash courts in the Met Centre (was Westpac Plaza) in George St to storage so the committee investigated the Sydney University Law School building as they had heard there were two squash courts on Level 13 beside the Plant Room. These two courts on the corner of Phillip, King and Elizabeth St were heavily used from 1995 from 7am to 8pm until the building closure in 2015.

Other courts lost were the two Reserve Bank courts in 2000, Commonwealth Bank two courts in the late 1990's, however CBA Squash were able to gain access to the squash court on level 22 at their building in Pitt St. This court was then used daily until CBA moved out in 2013.

The Catholic Club in Castlereagh Street reopened with 2 brand new squash courts in 1996 after the building was demolished and rebuilt with the club and residential units. These two courts are now heavily used by CHSRA and many other players living or working in the Sydney CBD.

We have constantly searched for more courts over the years and know there are many located in residential buildings. Regent Towers gave us access one year, however their Strata decided not to renew for the following season, and with Security being tightened everywhere, it was decided not to pursue further residential buildings. Others used for a season was the PCYC at Woolloomooloo.

For the 2017 teams competition, we are using The Castlereagh Club (previously called the Catholic Club), UUSC Uni, University and Schools Club, The Tattersalls Club, Hiscoes at Surry Hills and Sydney University. If we could access more, then we would gladly take on more teams. Sadly in 2017 we were unable to use the AMP courts or MLC at North Sydney as these courts require staff from these companies and teams were unable to be formed in 2017.

This year we have 273 players across 40 teams using 17 courts per week. 2014 was our largest with 374 players over 56 teams which required 27 squash courts across the CBD per week.

Our oldest and longest serving player is Gerry Kennedy, who has been playing for Commonwealth Bank since 1971. He has also served on many Squash committees over the years and now just enjoys having a drink, playing squash and letting the younger ones stress out with the joys of organising this event for around 300 players.

History-westpac-team History-altar-team