History

During October in 1901, 98 odd acres of land on the Maribyrnong River was sold to Thomas Williamson, a successful grazier with properties near Yea in Victoria. The property was intended to be used to fatten cattle prior to sale in the Melbourne markets. Due to the illness of his son, also Thomas, Mr Williamson (Snr) has to move his family to a warmer climate, and left the property in the care of his four daughters who remained in Melbourne.His daughters were not interested in maintaining the property, so when Tom (Jnr) returned to Melbourne some 15 years later, after his father’s death, he found the land covered in boxthorns and noxious weeds. It took him over 12 months to effectively clear the land, which was required by law at the time.

In 1934, while at the Footscray Bowling Club, the Williamsons were involved in a discussion about the shortage of sporting opportunities in the Western Suburbs. The Williamsons were trying to work out what to do with the land, and the idea of a golf course was mentioned.

After this discussion Tom Williamson contacted Stanley Green, a solicitor and member of the Kingston Heath Golf Club, and the Morcom Brothers (greenkeepers at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club), with the idea of forming a new company and constructing a golf course on the land. Stanley Green, originally from Maidstone on the Medway River in Kent, England, named the new company and golf course “Medway” in memory of his English origins. During December 1934, Medway Golf Pty Ltd was formed for the purpose of developing the land in Omar Street, Maidstone, into a “temporary golf course”. In January 1935 the Morcom Brothers were commissioned to build the course, which was completed during July, 1936.

Thomas Williamson became the first manager of Medway Golf Pty Ltd, collecting green fees, and storing machinery and buggies in the old bluestone dairy of the original farming property. The Medway Public Golf Links (with hardly a tree on the property) opened for play on 31 August, 1935, at a cost of two shillings for 18 holes of golf. On the opening of the course, Eric Duffy, a young professional from the Yarra Yarra Golf Club, was appointed the first professional.

As was often the case, the regular players at the course decided to form a club, for the organisation of regular competitions and for social purposes. By the end of 1936 the club had 66 men and 9 women members.

Medway’s first pennant team commenced competition in 1936, playing in the “B” grade pennant of the Victorian Golf League, which comprised clubs such as Elsterwick Park, Rosanna, Brighton and Altona Beach (later Kooringal). The final of the “A” pennant between Elsternwick and Altona was played at Medway that year – an honour for such a new golf course. By 1940 Medway fielded teams in the “A”, “B” and “C” grade pennant.

Early in 1946, after the Second World War, the owners of the golf course, Medway Golf Pty Ltd wanted to cease operating the course and sought an arrangement for the golf club to takeover the course or let it go to residential sub-division. Despite an absence of financial support from local councils, the club members took on the challenge of raising sufficient funds and managing the course, which it rented from the owners for £1,000 per year. The Medway Golf Club officially commenced operation on 6 April, 1946. In order to finance this arrangement the club aimed to increase membership to 400 men and 150 women, charging two shillings six pence per week for men, and half this amount for women (at the time a machine operator earned under £6 per week for 44 hours of work). The old farmhouse was used as the clubhouse and the for the curator’s accommodation.

During 1947, after the successful commencement of the new club, the committee of the day appealed to members to take out debentures with the club to enable the 98 odd acres of the course to be purchased. An average of £70 per member was required. One Footscray businessman loaned the club £200 interest free to assist with the purchase. In June 1949 the trustees of the club signed a contract to purchase the land for £22,300.

After many years of operating a “canteen” on the course, the club was granted a liquor license in 1956. In the same year a new debenture scheme was initiated with the primary intention of building a new clubhouse. £18,000 was promised by members almost straightaway, and by 1958 the club had raised £37,000 from debentures.

Construction of the new clubhouse commenced during 1957, at a cost of £30,000. It would replace the old farmhouse that was built around 1850. The new clubhouse was officially opened in 1958. Major extensions and renovations have since been completed in 1983 and in the late 1990’s.

During 1978 a comprehensive and partially automated reticulation system was installed to water fairways and greens. In 1985 a weir was built near the 7th tee to capture water from drains before pumping it into a newly constructed dam in front of the 11th tee. Construction cost for the weir and dam amounted to $110,000.

Around the turn of the 21st century, a major project to convert all fairways and surrounds to santa ana couch was completed. The new turf was selected due to its drought tolerance and first class playing surface, which was timely given that an extended period of drought commenced during 2002.

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