Senior Men´s basketball teams began playing in the 1920´s in local church halls around Melbourne. The Melbourne club has been around since the beginning of Victorian Basketball and has always been at, or near the top of the ladder in VBA first division men´s competitions which have been run since 1931.
The Melbourne senior men’s club has its origins in the St Lukes team from North Fitzroy. Where Basketball games were played at St lukes hall from 1924. The name of the club has gone through an evolution process where the club changed from St Lukes to Church of England, to becoming Church. It then became Melbourne Church and finally in 1975 the club decided to change its name to Melbourne Tigers. This was felt to better represent the players playing for the club, and thus give it a name that all could follow.
The Junior Boys´ Club originated from the Saturday night CEBS (Church of England Boys´ Society) competition run at Albert Park from 1959 on. Junior girls´ basketball was not played until 1968.
The CEBS competition was a collection of Church parishes playing in a Basketball competition at Albert Park stadium on Saturday nights. Representative teams were formed from this competition and entered into the Friday night Victorian Junior Men´s Basketball competition. This founding competition had only under 18 and 16 teams playing.
The CEBS competition folded in 1970, but in recent years, the Melbourne Tigers Junior Basketball Association has been running competitions at Albert Park for the local under 10, 12 and 14 boys and girls on Saturday nights.
The first Melbourne Girls Basketball team was formed in 1970: it was made up of the sisters of those playing in the Boys´ teams. The team went on to play in second division women´s competition.
In 1975 Ray and Sandra Tomlinson who were involved with the Telstars club decided to join forces with Melbourne Tigers. Ray and Sandra have run and developed the MJBC girls basketball teams to what they are today.
The Senior Men’s team has won the Victorian State Championships (since 1932) in;
1934, -43, -47, -49, -60, -62, -63, -65, -66, -67, -71, -75, -90, -92, -94.
The Senior Women’s team has won the Victorian State Championships (since 1955) in;
1967, -68, -72, -73, -74, -75, -92, -93, -94, -95.
The Senior Melbourne Tigers team entered the National Basketball League in 1980 and were successful in winning the National Title in 1993.
Last year the Melbourne juniors won in the Victorian State Championships at: under 20 men, under 16 boys, under 12 boys, and under 18 girls.
The Melbourne Tigers Under 14’s boys have also won the Australian Junior Club Championships in
1984, -86, -87, -88, -89. This is an outstanding effort being the Best team in Australia for 4 years in a row.
The Old Albert Park Basketball Stadium
The Victorian Basketball Association (VBA) played basketball games at the Exhibition buildings in the late 1940’s & early fifties, but lost the use of those courts in 1953. From there, the VBA had to move to inferior courts at; the Showgrounds Hall of Industries (& later the dog pavilion), the North Melbourne and Kensington Town halls, Wirths Park, St Lukes Hall, and the North Fitzroy Church of Christ. This loss of a stable venue had turned back the clock on Victorian Basketball to the early 30’s. It was a period of great difficulty.
It was realised that in some way Basketball had to get their own Stadium. A fund was set up with a levy of 2 shillings (20c ) per basketball match played anywhere in the Melbourne metropolitan area. This was not much but the total gradually built up.
It was a disappointment to the VBA when the Olympic Games Basketball was allocated to an annexe of the Exhibition with no subsequent use for the VBA. However some revenue was collected for the building fund from exhibition practice games, played prior to the Olympics. Plans were completed finally for a two court building on railway land near the Merri railway station. At the eleventh hour, just before the Meri deal was finalised, an offer was made by Senator Kennelly, Chairman of Albert Park Committee, for the conversion of a war-time stores building to six basketball courts at the now Albert park stadium.
The VBA contributed the $40,000 that had been raised for the building at Merri, and accepted the offer of building a headquarters at Albert Park. The conversion of the building was completed in 1958 and matches commenced in 1959. This really was a big turnaround from nothing, to a permanent home for basketball in Victoria.
The Albert Park basketball stadium then had a number of upgrades to the stadium over its 40 year life. The addition of courts 7 & 8 in 1963, the inclusion of court 9 in 1967 and the conversion of the back courts from concrete to wood in 1972.
The stadium has seen floods in 1962 and 1988 where the entire playing surface was totally under water when the Albert Park lake flooded, and a fire which totally gutted the old Basketball offices at Albert park along with many records of the association in its early years.
Many top basketball players have many memories of playing Grand Finals over the years at Albert Park. Many more people spent their youth playing and training at the headquarters of Victorian Basketball for the past 40 years.
Country Basketball has also made Albert Park its centre for Championships and Play Offs. Starting from 4 teams in 1947, the Country Championships has grown both in numbers and playing standard to a stage which equals the metropolitan teams in seniors and juniors. Country teams Ballarat and Geelong have won the State Senior Championship at Albert park in recent years.