THE ORIGINS AND BRIEF BACKGROUND OF THE
MONASH COUNTRY CLUB
Monash Country Club traces its roots back to 1931. Named after Lieutenant General Sir John Monash, one of Australia’s greatest soldiers, and started as a Jewish Social Golf Club under the Presidency of Doctor, and later Brigadier J Steigrad, and with Barry Chirlian as Captain, the members played their events on a number of different golf courses.
In the first year the club played at St Andrews, now known as Ashlar at Blacktown. In the next five years, it moved to the old Bonnie Doon course, now Kogarah, Moore Park, Eastlakes and New Brighton.
A big year for the club was 1938 when the course at St Michael’s was opened and Monash was offered not only a block time every Sunday morning, but also a clubhouse.
At St Michael’s, the Monash club went from strength to strength. The membership rose to 120, the club seemed set for many years of prosperity until the Second World War. The Army stepped in and took over St Michael’s golf course, and because so many of the Monash members were enlisting in the forces it was decided to close down for the duration.
After cessation of hostilities many of the Monash golfers decided they would like to join golf clubs in Sydney and, to their dismay, found that they were denied entry solely on the grounds that they were Jewish. A meeting was called to discuss a remedy to this problem and it was decided to build a new golf course where there would be no discrimination on the basis of colour, creed, race or religion.
A company called Monash Holding Limited was formed to find, and buy, a property on which a championship golf course could be built. The money for this venture was raised from the Jewish community of Sydney by the issue of shares in Monash Holdings Limited. Many applicants for shares never thought of this as an investment and most were not golfers. But they saw it as a way to overcome discrimination against Jews or other minorities.
Such a property was finally found and purchased at Narrabeen Heights, above Elanora Country Club. The construction of the course took place between 1948 and 1952. The first nine holes were opened in 1950.
A separate Golf Club was formed named the Monash Country Club and a long-term lease drawn between the landowner, Monash Holdings Limited and Monash Country Club. The terms of this lease, which has been extended from time to time, set out the basis for the structure and formalized the relationship that our founding fathers saw for the future of the Monash Golf Club. During the terms of the lease the rental for the property was to be a peppercorn rental, sufficient only to cover the administration costs of Monash Holdings Limited. The “quid pro quo” for this low rental was that the members of the General Committee should always contain a majority of Monash Holdings members, elected from the membership by ballot in the normal way. This was designed to ensure that golf will be played on this land for the duration of the lease and, that the qualification for members shall never be based on race, creed, colour or religion, but solely on an individuals self worth, character and good standing.