History

The site that the Royal Fremantle Golf Club now occupies, Reserve No.6638 was gazetted on 12 May 1899 and vested in the Fremantle Municipality on this date.

During 1904 a band of some twenty enthusiasts met regularly at His Lordship’s Parlor (later known as His Majesty’s Hotel) for the purpose of forming a Golf Club and on the 20 July 1905, the Club formally came into existence when a deputation met the Oval, Parks and Reserves Committee of the Fremantle Municipal Council.

The proponents had located land which appeared suitable – an A Class Reserve of about 196 acres vested in the Government and which was leased to the Currie Brothers for cattle grazing and used by the Polo Club. It was well located for use as a golf club, being close to the electric tram line which was being built at the time.

Present at the meeting were Cr W H Llewellyn, Cr W A Fearn, Cr R W Needham and Cr F Nicholas representing the Municipality and Mr J Herbert Eales and Mr A M Oliphant representing the proposed Golf Club.

Council’s Minutes record that it was proposed to form a Golf Club in Fremantle and that while the Club would embrace players of Fremantle, Cottesloe, Claremont and even Perth, it was the intention of the organizers to form a Club for all players and to make the subscriptions such as to admit all classes participating in this sport.

After some discussion the delegation undertook that the Club would submit a written proposal to the Council. The Chairman and the Councilors expressed themselves as being willing to give the matter their early and favorable consideration.

Club House circa 1950

This was done on 9 August 1905 and the Fremantle Municipal Council approved a loan of £500 to assist with the development of the first nine holes.

These were laid out by Arthur Oliphant and Peter Anderson one Sunday afternoon in 1905. Anderson, at the time Headmaster of Scotch College in Claremont, was a former British Amateur Champion who at one time held the record for the Saint Andrews Course.

With the Council approval in hand, the Club comprising approximatley 60 members, was formally established at a meeting on 8 September 1905. Incorporation followed on 4 November.

A deputation consisting of Messrs Oliphant, Eales and Solomon (Jnr) waited upon the Committee at a Special Meeting of Council on 22 September 1905 and submitted a plan showing the proposed laying out of the first 9 holes for golf play on the Park Lands.

The deputation advised the Committee that, acting in concert with the Polo Club, the Golf Club was arranging for a visit to the grounds by the Hon. Minister for Works with a view to approaching him on the question of water supply and reticulation for Polo and Golf ground purposes.

The deputation also asked that, pending the incorporation of the Golf Club as a Corporate Body which had already been advertised in the Government Gazette, the Committee would allow the question of a guarantee in the matter of payment to the Council of an annual sum equal to 8% on capital expended, to stand in abeyance.

After discussion the deputation was advised by the Chairman that, subject to Council’s approval, the Committee would:

  • Approve of the laying out of the links as shown on plan lodged, subject to a reservation that in the event of the Council deciding to sell the land adjoining the boundaries of High, Montreal and Stephen Streets, or any of them, the Club to remove their holes and tees outside the described area of 200 feet.
  • The Committee would allow the matter of guarantee to stand over for one month, the Club to submit the proposed guarantee in proper legal form after its Incorporation and Registration.

Before retiring the deputation said they desired to thank the Town Clerk and Town Engineer for the able assistance that had been given to them in pushing the matters forward, which had been so willingly extended.

Some of the landmarks that followed were:

  • Nine holes were playable by August 1906.
  • Another loan of £500 from Council in October 1906 to assist with development of the second nine holes.
  • On 14 February 1907 Fremantle Ladies Golf Club was formed.
  • Official opening by the Governor of Western Australia with 120 Members and 34 Lady Members present on 4 June 1907.

On 12 September 1907 a deputation from the Golf Club suggested wire netting around the fence however, Council’s Committee recommended that in preference to considering the advisability of expending a large sum of money (estimated at 120 pounds) upon the work of running a ‘pig’ wire netting around the fence, the Golf Club be recommended to exhibit notices warning persons that goats trespassing on the Links Reserve will be shot.

  • Eighteen holes ready by August 1909 making Fremantle Golf Club the first eighteen hole course in Western Australia.
  • 21 year Lease, signed in 1910.
  • In 1911, a new Clubhouse was built on the present site, officially opened 10 May 1911. Building was financed by Members subscribing to £5 Debentures repayable over 20 years @ 5 shillings plus interest per year.
  • The Club hosted inaugural State Amateur Championship in 1911.
  • Members including Ed and Tom Cassidy and R D Forbes dominated State events.
  • Much activity and Interclub and State Championships ceased during the term of World War 1.
  • New Interclub competitions held in 1923 and 1924, with what is now known as the Metropolitan Pennants, commencing in 1925. The Club won in 1923, 1924, 1925 and 1926.

It had been an enormous, laborious task to turn the rock strewn area into a golf course. The effort of providing landing stages between tees and greens, with everything surrounded by piles of stone, was a feature of establishing what eventually became grass covered fairways.

The major long term problem was always adequate water supply. Other early worries included cattle, rabbits and goats with the latter eating young tree plantings as fast as they were planted. Even vandalism was evident.

Thus the Club progressed toward its first 25 years despite the setback caused to all by the Great War of 1914-1919. Recovery from that point was slow. At the end of 1914, Membership was 198 Men and 57 Ladies but this number dropped to a low of 74 total in 1919. By 1930 male membership had increased back to 153 whilst female membership had grown to 112.

This period finished with the highlight of achieving Royal status. On 9 May 1930, Passfield, Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, advised the Governor that his Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to grant the use of the prefix Royal to the Fremantle Golf Club Incorporated.

This was conveyed to the Club by Governor Sir William Campion on 14 June 1930. So, Royal Fremantle was the Premier Club in Western Australia.

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