July 30 - August 5, 2023: Issue 592


Royal Avalon Golf Links: Geoff Searl OAM's Presentation - Film By Pittwater Pathways (John Illingsworth)

Almost 40 locals enjoyed the latest presentation to members of the Avalon Beach Historical Society by Geoff Searl OAM concerning the history of the mighty AVALON GOLF LINKS.

63 photographs comprehensively illustrated the history from Arthur Jabez Small’s purchase of 35 acres from Mary Canty in July 1921 to the present day.

Although he paid £3,300 for the parcel, it was sold after his death in 1953 and a great deal of haggling, to Warringah Shire Council (WSC) for £38,000. The 18 home sites backing onto the course from Old Barrenjoey Road were sold separately.

Mention was made of the attempt by WSC in 1947 to push a road through the course from ‘Kamikaze Corner’ to the village.

The greenskeepers/managers residence soon after construction in 1930.

The original ticket office in early 1930s

A couple of fascinating early photos published in PIX magazine show the successful game of golf played in the moonlight on the course in January 1938. The Australian Pro. Golf Champion, Eric Cremin and the golf course greenkeeper Ted Hock both managed a par round of 32. Comment was made that daytime golfers would have trouble turning in a par round.

A photograph of the site of the remains of the coal bore from 1860 was shown. The coal bore put down by Father Therry was adjacent to the later 2nd green and thankfully unsuccessful. 

The remains of the coal bore taken in early 1920s by the 2nd green, probably taken by A.J.Small and verified by his children. 

The Society has in its archives a set of architectural drawings by architect E. Lindsay Thompson showing how cleverly the original ticket office was retained while the clubhouse was expanded into the current sandstone-based structure in 1938.

1937 drawing by architect E. Lindsay Thompson showing the outline of the ticket office incorporated into the new 1938 build

The larger clubhouse probably with the original creosote paint job “to blend in with the environment”.

A comprehensive history of the Avalon Ladies Golf Club from 1949, along with photographs of some memorabilia left with the Society by Life Member Betty Kopetko was also shown. 

Cloth badge of the Avalon Ladies Golf Club circa 2009

This picture shows the tiny trophy Dunlop made for Geoff Searl after he made a hole-in-one in May 1959 on the fourth hole at the tender age of 13. Brilliant Geoff!

As usual guests of members were very welcome to attend and to join in the supper afterwards.

Many thanks to ABHS President Geoff Searl OAM for this wonderful presentation and history of the Avalon Golf Links.

As at this stage the written history has reached around 2800 words, and Geoff used a shortened version as a prelude to the photographic presentation, it is hoped another of Mr. Searl's excellent books will be made available for members and the community at some stage in the future on the Avalon Golf Links.

The ABHS have quite a celebration night planned for the September meeting on Tuesday the 12th because it will be 40 years since members met for the first time.
This will be a ‘HISTORY OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY’ pictures extravaganza and the raising of a glass of bubbles - lemonade or sparkling wine - to toast the next decade of this great local history society. 

The Avalon Beach Historical Society’s aims and objectives have never wavered from day 1 - to collect the local history of our area in the pictorial, literary and oral history form and as it is collated, to make it available to our community and members of the community.

New members are always welcome.
Find out more at: abhs.org.au
Report By Geoff Searl OAM, President of the Avalon Beach Historical Society (apart from call for new book from Mr. Searl)

All photos this Page courtesy Avalon Beach Historical Society and Geoff Searl OAM

Below runs a film, 'Royal Av', published July 26, 2023, that gives you the full Talk and Photographs, and archival materials presented by Geoff, as completed by Pittwater Pathways filmmaker, John Illingsworth