March  3 - 9, 2024: Issue 616


Palm Beach Golf Club Putts Off Year Long Celebration Of Their Centenary: 1924 To 2024

L to R: Club Captain Justin Zieren, Club President Dan Hill, Board Member and garden creator Lex Mitchell and Golf Legend and Course designer Craig Parry at the opening of the Centenary Garden.

Palm Beach Golf Club's Centenary celebrations commenced on February 10 with the gentleman who designed the course, Craig Parry, unveiling a Centenary Plaque that morning.

Special thanks went to Lex Mitchell and the team who put a lot of hard work into building the garden and stonework.

Feb 1, 2024 - working on the Centenary Garden

Later that day a Centenary dinner was celebrated by 150 people with great speeches, great food and a rocking bandPresident Dan Hill and his board and staff hosted a fabulous night. 

Special mention to Life Members Bob Head, Joe Kerr and Geoff Marles who were presented with Life Member pins.

Bob Head, Joe Kerr and Geoff Marles with PBGC President Dan Hill

This Issue a record of those Addresses and a few photos of the best located golf course and golf club in the world. 

Centenary Dinner - Celebrating 100 Years.
President’s Speech
Saturday, February 10th, 2024

Tonight, we are here to celebrate the 100 years of Palm Beach Golf Club.

From our humble beginning in 1924, we have grown in size, membership and in our competitions.

Yet, even with this change, we have always remained at the heart of the Palm Beach community.

Over the past few months, I have reflected on the enormity of this occasion. Being able to celebrate a centenary is no small feat. We all stand on the shoulders of the many, many generations that came before us, with each generation leaving their mark on the Club.

There have been 32 Presidents, 42 Captains, dozens of Directors, and countless volunteers who have all helped shape the Club - many of whom are here with us tonight.

I wish to recognise some special guests including our local Member for Pittwater, Rory Amon, our former Member for Pittwater, the Hon. Rob Stokes, Councillor Karina Page and former councillor Kylie Ferguson. All of whom have shown unwavering support over the years to our Club.

I also wish to recognise the Club’s Board, including Vice President Rhonda Mortimer, Club Captain Justin Zieren, Treasurer Stephen Farr, and directors Bob Quinn, Justine Paul, Lex Mitchell, and Charlie Mayson. I wish to also pay special tribute to Ladies President Robyn Blundell and her entire committee for their ongoing support of the Club.

It would be remiss of me not to mention Craig Parry. Craig did us the honour of unveiling our Centenary Plaque earlier today. Many of you would remember that Craig was instrumental in the redesign and redevelopment of our course. This was a once in generation investment funded by the former government, into our course and will see us I good stead for decades to come.

It is not an easy task to try and fit 100 years of our history into a couple of minutes of a speech.

2024 signifies 100 years from when nine friends came together to found Palm Beach Golf Club. It was a time when access to Palm beach was still very difficult. A journey from Sydney involved travel by train, punt, and boat and a return trip took the best part of a day. It wasn’t always smooth sailing.

There have been many highs and lows, as is the case for any institution who has been lucky enough to attain such a milestone.

Together, we have seen the Great Depression of the late 1920s, The Second World War, and more recently COVID, where golf was one of the only activities you could do.

Over this time our Club has grown, declined, and grown again. And through all this we, as members of this great Club, are merely custodians for the generations yet to come. We have an imperative to leave our Club in a stronger place than we found it.

There have been particular moments in time that have helped to shape our Club. From our first Club Championships held in March, 1929, to the election of our first Club Captain in 1936, Albert Staveley.

The Staveley family’s association with our Club continues today with Alberts’s great, great grandson, Josh, who currently works at the Club.

Another milestone was in 1950 when our members put their hands in their pockets and raised the first funds to purchase the Clubhouse. Prior to this the Clubhouse was leased from member and former President, Alan Oxlade. Without this generosity from our members, there is a significant chance that we would not be here today.

Other milestones include:

  • The 1965 and 2003 major renovations of the Clubhouse.
  • The 1970 and 2017 Major Pennant wins - and I wish the boys the best of luck tomorrow against Beverley Park Golf Club.
  • The 1922 Warren Shield win.
  • And in 1996, when the Club voted for the Mens and Ladies Club to join together to form one unified and expanded Club.

1965: The old Palm Beach Golf Clubhouse with the frame for the new Clubhouse behind.

There are many more that make up the fabric of our Club but given the time I may leave it there and, instead, spend the time to thank all the wonderful staff for pulling tonight together. Your efforts are genuinely appreciated. Particularly Renae and Nikki who have both been here for nearly two decades.

You will have noticed the gift packs the have been put together for our members. These gift packs are given in an attempt to mark our Centenary is some small way. They include specially designed centenary items such as a bag tag, a ball marker, a golf ball and tees. You will also have noticed that there is also an order form which provides an opportunity to purchase some additional memorabilia, including wine and beer glasses, the Centenary History book and our Centenary flags.

I appreciate everyone being here tonight, including those who have travelled some distance to join us. The band “Nothing Too Serious” has informed me that they will be picking up the tempo after dinner and I encourage to all get up and enjoy yourselves.

Later in the evening we will hear from our Vice President Rhonda Mortimer, our Patron and former President Chris Shaw, and Life Member and former President Geoff Marles.

So sit back, relax and enjoy your night.

Dan Hill, President 


Rhonda Mortimer, Vice President

Good evening, ladies & gentlemen, fellow golfers, and distinguished guests.

Welcome to the 100-year celebration of this great little golf club at the very end of the Northern Beaches.

My name is Rhonda Mortimer, and I am the Vice-President.

I have been a member here for 28-years, I had the membership papers for Mona Vale Golf Club signed and seconded but because my husband had been playing here and having a  wonderful time I thought what the heck we might as well belong to the same club.

I have never regretted my decision. However, I had second thoughts on several occasions playing in mixed events with him when he tried to tell how to play during the entire round.

I would like to draw your attention, if you will indulge me for a few minutes, to some of our members of the Palm Beach Golf Club Board.

The Board does not want accolades that is not why we serve but some individuals deserve your applause.

Daniel Hill our illustrious President, he guides, he reasons, he informs and he is almost never wrong.

Stephen Farr, our Treasurer, holds the purse strings so tightly but what a fabulous job he does. Alas he cannot be here tonight. We send him our very best wishes for a speedy  recovery.

Then we have our Captain, Justin Zieren. He keeps us all guessing as to what colour hair he is going to turn up with next. He looks like a Smurf at the moment, but he is a great Captain.

Bob Quin, what a man, he has guided the club through our recent big renovations and continues to do so with much vigour. You ask him to do a task and he does it uncomplaining.  Poor Sue, you will get all those chores done around your home one day.

Lex Mitchell - he can turn his hand to any task. He is so clever. He has slaved away in all the recent heat building that beautiful plinth near the putting green, driving eons of miles into  the western suburbs to source stone at the best price so Stephen wouldn’t wince at the cost.

Charlie Mason, his role is to chase any and every grant put out by the Government or Northern Beaches Council. He is tenacious and we have landed a number of grants not the least the one that enabled the club to alter the course and install our lift.

Justine Paul - always willing to help do any task, not the least being working to get new members. The nine hole membership has been a great success thanks to Justine. She plays  with them when they join, coaxing them to get better, and ultimately become 18-hole members if they wish.

Last but not least, our wonderful Women’s Committee led by Robyn Blundell, always trying to make playing golf at Palm Beach a happy experience. Welcoming new members making  sure they are looked after and raising money with raffles to help get all the necessities needed to make playing golf here a pleasant experience.

Please give them all an applause because without them we would not be the great club we are today.


Palm Beach Golf Club Centenary Speech
Chris Shaw

I would like to thank our President Daniel for inviting me to address you this evening.

Any club is only as successful and resilient as its members. 2024 is a very special year because it celebrates 100 years of our members showing commitment, innovation and resilience in their care of Palm Beach Golf Club. The past 100 years have given us a wealth of truly remarkable characters who have contributed significantly to make the club what it is today. Some took on the commitment of official duties but others contributed in an equally important way through their personality, inclusiveness and ability to make a game of golf, or a drink afterwards, very enjoyable for their fellow members.

I became a member of Palm Beach Golf Club 45 years ago. I thought I would share with you this evening memories I have of just a few remarkable and significant characters whose contribution made such an impact.

Roy Broomhead – President 1966-70, Life Member and Patron for 30 years- a big man with a big character, always ready to tell a story and have a shout. He told me he played second row for Drummoyne in his younger days. He struck me as a very generous man always ready to provide counsel and assistance. 

Ron Brightwell – Captain 1976 – 79 and later President 1984 – 95 - & his wife Audrey - a man with great big hands that would envelop all who shook them. Always filling divots as he walked down each fairway. A man that had time for people. He would drink Bright (half Tooheys New and half Light) I still don’t know if the drink was because it was smart, drinking such a mix at a time when random breath testing had just been brought in, but I like to think it was named after Ron. He was also one for clubhouse activities. On a Thursday after golf, Ron was the one who would roll out the indoor bowls mats and he would nominate teams. Great times and late nights we had playing indoor bowls and carrying on. He would also, along with Alan Roebuck – Captain 1974, President – 1977 walk the fairways with the juniors after having played in the Saturday competition so that the juniors could learn the game.

Bill (the Banker) Johnston (President) 74, 79-83 & his wife Irene. A man who liked a bet and who was married to Irene, an elegant and statuesque lady who could have been a model. Both very caring people and encouraging of the junior members of the Club. I recall the 1984 election for President, both Billy the Banker and Ron Brightwell were keen on being President. A lot of lobbying took place and there was division in the club between the groups supporting each candidate. Ron Brightwell had success at the AGM and Bill, being the gentleman he was, smoothed over any residual divisions in the Club.

Dick Trevor – along with Bob Warner were dominant Club Champions in their day. Dick was junior and later Club Champion four times (1937, 38, 56. 57), he became Captain 1961, and later a Life Member. Bob Warner – Club Champion seventeen times ( 1951, 54, 58 – 63, 65, 67, 69, 70, 73, 75, 80, 84, 87). Bob had a smooth and textbook perfect swing. Dick and Bob were such good golfers but they always had time to assist anyone who wanted to improve. This has been a notable characteristic of Palm Beach Golf Club members and one Dick and Bob would be very proud of.

The Norfolk Island pine between the 9th green and the 1st tee was planted by Bob back in 1979. I remember the day he put it in the ground, it was not much more than 2m tall back then.

Of course, Bob’s son Greg Warner, still plays with us today. Greg was also a fine young golfer. Greg played Junior Pennants for Palm Beach and won the Gold medal 3 times (1996, 97, 99). Unfortunately, Greg met with an accident as a youth which changed his golfing future somewhat but not his love of the game or his contribution to the club.

Billy O’Brien – well remembered to many of you. Captain 1984-85 and later as Life Member. I have never met anyone who loved the game more than Bill. I caddied for him in many Masters Pennant games when Bill was suffering from diabetes. He eventually lost both feet but that didn’t stop him from painfully hobbling around on his stumps, his swing had to change but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Billy led the charge to rid what is now the fifth hole of Parramatta grass(Sporobolus fertilis). Bill brought along a bobcat one Sunday and scraped any Parramatta grass from the fairway. The result lasted some years.

Sir Horace Nyall – was another character. If you were paired with Horry, you were always warned to make sure that you always watched his ball. He was almost blind and thus you would have to take him to his ball and point him in the right direction.

Another lover of golf that played until the end.

Max Walker – Life Member, President 1997 – Max was a gifted sportsman. I first met him because I went through school with his children. He often drove me and his daughters to Chippindale on a Saturday morning so that we could play in an orchestra there. I still remember Max being challenged by Eric (the Crow) Fryer when I first joined the club to do a backwards summersault on the first tee. Max, being modest refused a number of times until Eric’s teasing got the better of him and from a standing position up and around he went, in a perfect backwards summersault. Eric just laughed. I was amazed. Max was a true guardian of the Club. He spoke out when he saw injustice and when he saw what he identified as a potential waste of money. Even when he was off the Committee, he would have his opinion heard.

Shirley Toms – Lady Captain – (1985 – 87, 1991 – 95) President (83,84, 88). A kind and interested lady whose concern for the wellbeing of junior members made a big difference, and she never failed to give an encouraging word.

Robyn Head – Lady Captain (1998-2000, 2002-04), Lady President (2005, 06), Club Captain 2008 – 2009, Lady Club Champion (2008 2011, 2014). A great lady with a great husband, Bob Head. Robyn has her point of view and her way of doing things that you argue with at your peril. Never doubt though that she aways has the very best interests of Palm Beach Golf Club in mind. Robyn was the first woman in Australia to be a Club’s Club Captain. A testament to Robyn and the faith that the Members had in her back when she was elected in 2008. Robyn of course was Captain immediately after Carolyn Abercrombie’s Club Presidency in 2007. Carolyn was also the first female of any Golf Club in Australia to be the Club’s Club President. Palm Beach Golf Club leading the way!

Mark (Blocker) Houlder – Captain, Warren Shield champion, all round good bloke and gone too soon. All who knew Blocker were careful not to make any distractions even when three fairways away as his missed putt, or duffed short would instantly have his gaze looking for a blameworthy cause and if he fixed his eyes on you, look out.

There are so many characters that should be mentioned. I started going through an old Program of Competitions that had contact details at the back and I realised how many members made an impact and have contributed enormously to this great Club.

Time prevents me mentioning them all. However, those that I do mention I know would be humble about their contribution which speaks of the typical character of our members.

Over the past 100 years the members have been tested and have responded.

• There was the time in the 70s when the NSW government wanted to reclaim the golf course. The members rallied and led by Roy Broomhead the course was saved.

• Later in the 90s there was the time that Pittwater Council did not want to renew the lease but rather wanted to commercialise the course and grant a lease to a commercial operator who was also managing swimming pools. Again, a band of members led the charge and Council was convinced that the Course should stay in locals’ hands.

• There was the time in the 1990’s when a change to the Constitution to allow lady’s to be full members, rather than merely being Associate members. This proposed change was emotionally debated leading up to the General Meeting and at the General Meeting, which I chaired, which changed the constitution to allow Lady’s to be the full members they are today.

• There was the time when the clubhouse was refurbished at what some felt was a significant cost and a great many members felt that it was the wrong thing to do, and the clubhouse should stay as it was. Friendships were tested but eventually recovered, and the Club house was remodelled to great success.

• In more recent times (2016) a significant part of the course was lost into Pittwater following a storm. Parts of the 3rd, 4th and 5th fairways were swallowed with waves crossing the 5th fairway. The course is still scarred by those 2016 storms today. The members again rallied and saved what could be saved.

Station Beach after 2016 storm. Photo: Brian Friend OAM

The survival and progress of the Club is a testament to its members. Palm Beach Golf Club’s members are willing to contribute, offer each other support and they don’t take themselves too seriously. This has allowed the Club to be resilient and continue to thrive for 100 wonderful years.

Congratulations to all members past and present on our first 100 years. I am a very proud member of the Palm Beach Golf Club. Long may its success continue!


Palm Beach Golf Club 1924
Geoff Marles

I had the very great honour of being granted Life Membership of this Club last year and I think that I now have a responsibility to ensure that the Club’s rich & iconic history & culture is preserved for another hundred years, or for that part of it that I’m still here anyway.

I want to put into perspective the significance of this Club being 100 years old and compare its relevance to some other Australian icons. But before I do, it’s worth noting that the first indications that this place would become a golf course are much older than 100 years.

In March 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip sailed into Broken Bay. This was only 5 weeks after arriving in Sydney and he was on an exploratory visit to find a better water supply. After rounding Barrenjoey Headland he is reported to have said ‘this is the finest piece of water I ever saw’ and honoured it with the name of Pitt Water after the British Prime Minister William Pitt, the Elder. Apparently, he then looked over here and said “that would make a great golf course!”

25 years later, in May 1813, Blaxland, Lawson & Wentworth set out to cross the Blue Mountains. They couldn’t get the train to Penrith in those days so they sailed up the Hawkesbury River. As they were about to turn left at West Head, William Lawson, who was a surveyor is reported to have also looked over here and said “Arthur Phillip was right, that would make a great golf course”.

But moving on.

Massive thanks must go to Stewart Brown & Brian Kennedy for their fantastic book on the history of the first 75 years of the Club. If you don’t have a copy, try to get one.

According to Stewart & Brian …. Palm Beach Golf Club was founded in 1924 as a course for affluent Sydneysiders who could afford weekend cottages in this beautiful remote place.

Does that sound familiar?

Let’s look at 1924 when the official foundation was done. I wasn’t here in 1924 of course but Bob Head has told me all about it.

In 1924, King George V was the monarch and Stanley Bruce was the 8th Prime Minister of Australia.

King George V was not a golfer preferring stamp collecting.

PM Stanley Bruce however has been described as an avid Presbyterian golfer from St Kilda, whatever that means. He was independently wealthy & drove a Rolls Royce to show off. His father was one of the founders of the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. Stanley Bruce himself became the first Australian captain of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1954. It is believed that Stanley Bruce would certainly have driven his Roller to Palm Beach at some time and played golf here.

In 1924 there were four golf clubs either operating in or in planned for our area. Manly Golf Club was founded in 1903, Long Reef Golf Club was founded in 1921, Mosman Golf Club and Palm Beach Golf Clubs were both founded in 1924.

Mosman Golf Club was established on Middle Head, in Mosman overlooking Sydney Heads and Clifton Gardens. A 9-hole golf course built on land acquired from the Commonwealth government under a lease on the condition that, if required, the land could be repossessed without compensation. This occurred with the onset of World War II, when the Australian Government resumed the land and the clubhouse for military use. My father was stationed there for training with the Army Signal Corp in 1940.

To my mind, Palm Beach Golf Club is well and truly an Australian icon. But where does our golf club stand in relation to some other 100 years old Australian icons? I’ll tell you about 3 other icons.


Sydney’s first national radio station officially went to air in 1924. Those of you old enough may recall that it was originally called 2BL which incidentally stood for Barrenjoey Lighthouse. It originally transmitted from a mast at Willoughby so that it could be clearly heard on the course at Palm Beach.

According to our President, the ABC is now a haven for left-wing socialists and should be ignored at all cost.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge commenced solely for our affluent Eastern Suburbs members to get to their weekend cottages in beautiful Palm Beach. PM Stanley Bruce probably used it to get here in his Rolls Royce.

The bridge has proved to be useful to Sydney and is now also used as a transport corridor and as a location for exhibiting fireworks on New Years Eve.


Vegemite celebrated it’s 100th anniversary last year. When the grossly inferior British marmite became unavailable during World War 1, the leftover brewer’s yeast from Carlton United brewery was used to create Vegemite for golfers to enjoy on their sandwiches. If it wasn’t for our member’s using the Carlton United products, there probably would not been Vegemite and we wouldn’t have had all those happy little vegemite’s !

I could keep going for ages but I prefer to speak to people while they’re awake, so I’ll finish with a few other facts from the year of our foundation:

In 1924, Balmain won the rugby league premiership defeating South Sydney.

Backwood won the Melbourne Cup.

Victoria won the Sheffield Shield.

The Olympic Games were in Paris and Andrew “Boy” Charlton won a gold medal.

The Holden Bros. were granted the right to assemble General Motors cars in Australia.

Australia’s first Woolworths store opened.

Sydney’s population passed 1 million.

Marble Bar in WA recorded 161 successive days above 100 degrees.

Nelli Melba retired for the first time.

The racehorse Drongo, who never won in 37 starts was retired and a new word describing my golf entered the lexicon.

Thanks very much.


There's a bit more history and early photos on Palm Beach Golf Club in: Palm Beach Golf Course 1924 To 2024: Some 100th Year History Celebratory Insights  

A few more recent ones (2011 to 2024, in date sequence) taken by Pittwater Online/AJG run below - but first, an earlier article:

Dad's Army Battles On
By Brian Kennedy, February 2012

Palm Beach Golf Club founded in 1924 is one of the oldest golf clubs in the Sydney metropolitan area and one of its sub-clubs, Dad's Army, will turn 40 next year. As the name suggests it is a club within a club made up of retired men. The name Dad's Army obviously comes from the popular television show of the same name. A glance through Google shows that a number of other golf clubs have their own Dad's Armies. 

The Palm Beach branch was formed from two groups. The oldest was founded in 1973 by Arthur Stockman. Its members included Ted Hock for whom Edmund Hock Lane in Avalon is named. Another group began playing on Mondays about the same time. It included the late Albert Sims the founder of Sims Metals. One member of this group Erwin Brurer is still a member of Palm Beach Golf Club. The second group was a little younger at that time and referred to the older slower group as Dad's Army. The older group adopted the name as a badge of honour. In 1978 the two groups amalgamated and the club within a club has been thriving ever since.


Above:  Front row from left Brian Kennedy, Derek Dickinson, Alan Smith. Phil Morgan, John Hackett, Dick Bull, Tony Peacock John White. Back row David Martin, Alan Newton, Peter Marquis, David Buckley. Photos by Michael Mannington.

Dad's Army in 50th year - 2023. Photo: Chris Searl (son of Geoff Searl OAM, president of ABHS)

Back when it was founded in 1973 many of the members were in fact returned servicemen but the years have taken their toll. Dave Palmer, who served with the Australian Navy during World War II, retired from golf in 2011 just a year short of his 90th birthday. Today only a few members can claim any connection with the armed services. Alan Smith served in the Royal Australian Air Force in post-war Japan. Graeme Camier, a retired pilot with Cathay Pacific, began his career with the RAF. John Hackett a retired engineer and an active member of Avalon RSL has fond memories of his time as a national serviceman in the 1950s . Col  Casey, a Bilgola Plateau resident who retired from golf in 2011, also served with the RAAF. A recently joined member Martin Burton also served in the air force.

A tradition has grown of presenting members with a bottle of Scotch on their 80th birthday. Recipients in the last few years have included Alan Smith, the retired RAAF member, Dick Bull, a retired doctor, and Peter Marquis, a retired businessman. Coincidentally these three men went to Shore together and met up again when they moved to Pittwater after retirement. Other active octogenerian golfers include Bill Kearney, a retired builder, Don McFarlane, a retired plumber, and John White, a retired engineer. Alan Newton, a retired executive with Rolls Royce aircraft engines will receive his bottle of whisky in March. As the list indicates a wide variety of occupations is represented. The membership of 30 men also ranges in age and includes men in their sixties, seventies and eighties. Many are members of Palm Beach Golf Club but this is not compulsory.