Category Archives: Golf Club History

Sydney Golf Courses in the 1930s – What course is this?

There is a wonderful series of aerial photos held in the collections of the State Library of NSW showing a number of golf courses in Sydney in the 1930’s. Some photos can be dated a little more accurately than others by the presence of certain buildings.

The index to the photos is not totally accurate and AGHS would like to see this corrected when we are satisfied with the corrections.

The featured photo of this post (shown above) is photo 11 in the index and is definitely not Concord as labelled.

We’d appreciate your comments/conclusion on this. Please use the form below to let us know where you think – or know – the mystery golf course is – or was – situated. If you can convince a judging panel that your identification of the course is correct, a sleeve of Australian Golf Heritage Society mesh replica golf balls is all yours.

The index page to the images can be accessed here (“Contents List” tab) and a larger view of the photo above can be found here.

The index published by the State Library alongside our current thinking is contained in the table below:

# State Library Record Corrections/Comments
1-2 Avalon GC
3-4 Avondale GC
5-6 Balgowlah GC
7 Bayview GC
8-9 Brighton GC North Brighton – closed circa 1948 upon re-routing of Cooks River for Sydney Airport expansion
10 Concord
11 Concord ?? See larger copy above
12-13 Dee Why GC  Cromer Golf Club
14-20 [Eastlakes] The Lakes Corrections:
Eastlake and New Metropolitan (Bonnie Doon – Pagewood) Clubhouses – circa 1937 since the Clubhouse at New Metropolitan has only just been completed. It was constructed 1937
15 Eastlake and The Lakes
16 Eastlake and The Lakes (with North Brighton top of frame)
17 New Metropolitan (Bonnie Doon – Pagewood), Eastlake in foreground
18 The Lakes, Eastlake and The Australian top LH corner
19 New Metropolitan (Bonnie Doon – Pagewood) upside down
20 New Metropolitan (Bonnie Doon – Pagewood) south paddock
21-22 Elanora GC
23-25 Kensington The Australian GC
26-27 La Perouse NSW GC
28-29 Long Reef
30-31 Manly
32-33 Mona Vale
34-35 Moore Park 35 with The Australian top of frame
36-37 Mosman Middle Head – 1922-1940
38-39 Northbridge, Willoughby Council
40-44 [Pagewood] Bonnie Doon Bonnie Doon GC but on the Arncliffe site – now Kogarah GC. Most of this site was resumed for Sydney Airport expansion 1948
45-46 Palm Beach
47-48 Pymble
49-50 Rose Bay Royal Sydney GC
51-52 Roseville
53 Ryde District  Ryde-Parramatta Golf Club
54 [Unidentified] The Australian GC

26 July 2015                                                                                                                    Name: Ross Howard

Comment: Great idea, luv the concept of finding “old” courses. I have two possibilities, either Herne Bay or Greenwood.

Am I close ?

Ross – Herne Bay was the original name for the Sydney suburb of Riverwood, and the Herne Bay course was in the vicinity of Salt Pan Creek. There is a very short history of the course – including a photograph –  here. Herne Bay was taken over by the U.S. military in 1943 for use as a hospital.

Greenwood was the third course built by Waverley motor mechanic Francis Crowe (the others being the old Liverpool course and the Riverwood layout at Georges Hall). Greenwood was on Walder Road at Hammondville, and the bottom of the course fronted the Georges River. It was subsumed by urban sprawl in the 1970s, although the New Brighton Club have made known their intention to build seven holes on parts of the old Greenwood site.

The photograph is neither of these courses. Nice try though.

12 August 2015                                                                                                                    Name: Leon Old Golf

Comment: Some of these pics were used in the circa 1938ish publication Golf Courses of NSW , strangely some of the pics in the publication are not in the collection held by the State Library of NSW.

Leon – The collection seems to be incomplete. There is – for instance – a lower quality photograph of the same mystery course:

Not Concord again (click to enlarge).

that is neither considered part of the collection nor properly catalogued, even though it is undoubtedly from the same series of photographs.

The big question is whether the mystery course is included in your ‘Golf Courses of NSW’, and whether it is correctly identified. A sleeve of Australian Golf Heritage Society mesh replica golf balls is a stake here!

30 August 2015                                                                                                                    Name: Ross Howard

Comment: OK, my third & last attempt is to nominate Kirkham Lane !

Ross – Strangely enough, we were talking about Kirkham Lane at the Museum today. The discussion centred around the ability of golfers – of various vintages – to recall course layouts from many years ago, and one of the participants recalled the hole at Kirkham Lane where he scored his first hole in one. No name, no pack drill.

Kirkham Lane was in the general vicinity of the Nepean River and Narellan Creek at Camden, so the requisite water course box is ticked. However, the site of the course was, and still is,  primarily rural in character.

The housing development around and about our mystery course says one thing . . . not Kirkham Lane. You are – however – to be complimented on your knowledge of defunct Sydney golf courses.


Bonnie Doon Golf Club

SMH 1897-10-01 Marrickville Golf Club Formed2Bonnie Doon Golf Club has changed names once and moved location twice in its history.

Founded as Marrickville Golf Club (1897), the Club’s course was situated on land graciously lent by our founding patron Frederick Gannon.

sydney-airport-1947 (1)The area was situated at Tempe on land bounded by Union St in the
north, the Cooks River in the south, Cooks River Road (Princess Highway) in the east and Unwins Bridge Road in the west. But the land was only ‘on loan’ while development took place.

NewLinks2By 1907, development on our Tempe site had made playing golf a difficult task. A new site, close by in Arncliffe, was identified and the Club took a lease and constructed a new links. The Club later purchased this land.

NameChange2The airport expansion starting in 1948 included a diversion of the Cooks River which substantially reduced the land under our old title.

sydney-airport-1953 (1)The green shading shows the area currently occupied by
Kogarah Golf Club. This area comprises what was left of
Bonnie Doon’s freehold (yellow overlay) and the current leasehold
which was subsequently acquired by Kogarah Council for the Kogarah Golf Club.

Acquisition or Lease by GiddingsMeanwhile, in 1935, Albert John Lancelot Giddings, who was a member of Bonnie Doon Golf Club, acquired a special lease over land in Pagewood with the intenion of constructing a new golf course.

SMH 1937-07-03 New Metropolitan GC Formed2The new golf course initially called The New Metropolitan Golf Club, was laid out by Lance Giddings and constructed by Bill French. The clubhouse was designed by Eric Apperly. It is most likely that Lance and Eric were friends as well as business associates so Eric may well have had some input into the course layout.

NewMetropolitan1937 NewMetropolitan1937OL

New Metropolitan was a brave venture. The Club worked hard
at making it work on its own but it must have seemed a natural
outcome for Bonnie Doon and The New Metropolitan to merge. There was a strong association between Lance Giddings and Bonnie Doon and Bonnie Doon would need alternative accommodation when their land was resumed.

Eric Apperly and Prosper de George Ellis, two people whose names are prominent in golf history in Australia, played a significant role in the development of Bonnie Doon and have not received nearly enough credit in our history.

Eric Apperly was commissioned to design and construct two club houses for Bonnie Doon. The first one on the Arncliffe site (1928) and by coincidence, our current clubhouse which was commissioned by Lance Giddings for New Metropolitan Golf Club at Pagewood (1937). He was also possibly involved with Lance Giddings in laying out Lance’s new course at Pagewood (1935). Finally, he was commissioned by Richardson & Wrench to provide a valuation of the Arncliffe course for the purpose of negotiation of resumption (1948).

Prosper de George Ellis joined Boonie Doon as a schoolboy while attending Newington College. At the age of 17 (1912), he won the LE Gannon Trophy, a stroke event. His golf course design work throughout NSW is extensive and included remodelling The New Metropolitan prior to the amalgamation with Bonnie Doon. He shared Secretary Manager duties with Norm Calder during the amalgation and wrote a column for the Sydney Morning Herald – On the Fairways. He was three times Pymble Club Champion and in one year both he and his wife held their championships together. It is a shame that he unfortunately never won the Club Championship at Bonnie Doon and thus never left his name on our Honour Boards. But he did present the Club with a perpetual trophy for a 4 Ball competition which was played for some time.