In September 1899 a group of interested golfers and tennis players gathered under a canvas cover, spread between trees in Lindfield, to inaugurate a golf club – The Lindfield Golf and Recreation Club. A 9 hole golf course was grubbed out of the land known as Archbold’s Paddock and the club, now known as The Killara Golf Club was born. However the founding fathers could not obtain a long term lease for the site and the search was on for a more suitable site.
James George Edwards, already an enthusiastic supporter, identified part of our current site. Together with F.B. Gaden he negotiated a mortgage with the Bank of NSW and the club acquired the 36 acre Home Paddock. J.G. Edwards is buried in the cemetery of St. Johns Church in Gordon and has often been described as the “father of Killara” for his prolific work in developing the area. Apart from his involvement with The Killara Golf Club, he was instrumental in establishing a number of roads, a Post Office at Gordon and founded the Killara Tennis Club. He was the first Headmaster of Gordon Public School (1872 – 1881).
Killara became the first golf club in Australia to own its own land. It took some months to develop a course and approximately 150 members worked on the initial clearing of the land and the early development of the course. They were aided by 175 sheep, penned to the greens at night, used to keep the vegetation under control. The first President of Killara was Charles Danvers, who was largely responsible for the rapid growth of the club. He was succeeded by J.G. Edwards, our second President. We were fortunate to have such visionaries, their friends and families, driving our development. The Foundation Members numbered 151, 117 men and 34 women.
The club grew with the purchase of additional land in 1906, 1911 and 1923 and the club and course have seen many changes : The club has grown from 9 holes on 14.14 dusty hectares to 18 holes on 50.5 hectares of parkland with substantial buildings and facilities, a serious change from the early dairy paddocks, orchards and sheds. This was the result of careful planning and much dedication and hard work by members and staff. The club had 27 holes for a time, but the additional land was sold as the Gleneagles sub-division to fund redevelopment of the course in the 60’s. The first course watering was completed in 1967 with the completion of a pipeline from the Lane Cove River and the construction of the dam at the 8th. The tunnel under Fiddens Wharf Road was completed as a Centenary Project and has justified itself many times over for the ease of movement between our two major paddocks.
The shed from Archbold’s Paddock was relocated to Killara, but was soon replaced by the first clubhouse built in 1901 and the original shed became the caddy hut. The clubhouse was replaced in 1908 by a building on the site of the present clubhouse. This was destroyed by fire in 1932 and the present clubhouse built in 1933. After the fire in 1932, there was some debate about moving the clubhouse to the site of the current 17th tee/ 8th green area. However golfers usually came by train to Killara station, making the existing site more attractive. Caddies used to meet the trains, keen to ensure work for the day.
The clubhouse was enlarged in 1937, 1954 and 1966 with the addition of the billiard room, card room, squash courts, buggy shed and lower bar. In 1996 the lower bar was extended, the outdoor terrace added and the clubhouse refurbished, maintaining the Art Deco style.
The Bowling Greens were constructed in 1947 and 1961 and in 1979 two tennis courts were added. We all enjoy the legacy of Professor David Ferguson who, with his Arboretum Sub-Committee, transformed the course into the beautiful park it is today.
When the club began, golf was a relatively new game to Australia, giving Killara the opportunity to play a part in Australia’s golfing history. The Killara Cup and Shield, donated for an interclub match in 1929, remains the oldest golfing event on the Golf NSW calendar. The Ex-Service Members’ Association, formed in 1922 , was the first such Association in Australia. Both wars presented challenges to the Committees and times were difficult for the club. However the men and women of Killara supported the war effort in many ways. During the Second World War, support for the R.A.A.F with their headquarters at Bradfield, was strong. That relationship continues today and we have an annual match with the R.A.A.F which started in 1951 and remains an important event today.
The Killara versus Newcastle golf match (The Rankin Cup) is the oldest continuously held golf interclub event in the world, and was first played in 1907.
When the N.S.W. Ladies’ Golf Union began in 1903, Killara Associates were founding members and participants in the interclub competitions which developed into the present grade series. Early interclub competitions for men were separated into metropolitan and suburban, so the premiership won in 1911 was in fact the Suburban Interclub Premiership. The following year the move to amalgamate metropolitan with suburban was actively pursued by club committees including Killara and the N.S.W. Golf Association was born. It has taken these two organisations more than 100 years to amalgamate, achieving this in 2009.
Foundation Day was first celebrated as part of our Centenary Celebrations in 1999, but it was in 2006 that the board decided to recognise the foundation of the club and hold an event and dinner open to all members, which has continued each year since. It is 119 years since The Killara Golf Club was founded and it continues to be enjoyed by many members and visitors.