Ivanhoe Club History

Description of the Ivanhoe public links - printed 1937

Part of the charm of the beautifully groomed Ivanhoe Golf links, situated between the Boulevard and the north bank of the Yarra, near the Burke Road bridge, is the atmosphere of early historic associations, which are evident in the two wings of the present clubhouse. This was originally the country seat of one of Melbourne's leading citizens, Captain George Brunswick Smyth, after whom the suburb of Brunswick near Melbourne was named.

Ninety Eight years ago (1839) this property, known as Chelsworth Estate, was purchased, at Melbourne's first sale of country land by Thomas Walker of Sydney, who, two years later, sold the portion now used by the Ivanhoe golf club to Captain Smyth, an officer in her Majesty's 50th regiment, who stocked it with pedigree shorthorns. His neighbours included Judge Willis, the apoplectic Judge,who was finally recalled to Sydney, owing to the many broils in which he became involved in the young city, and Capt Sylvester (Paddy) Browne, father of Rolf BoldRedwood, author of the famous novel "Robbery under arms."

Records show that they, along with Dr Martin and Archibald Thom, used to go shooting ducks and quail along the flats were golfers enjoy sport of another description. The Chelsworth stables, built of handmade bricks, now undergoing repair , had the honor of stabling the first donkey in Victoria. A story is told of a number of blacks who were bringing lyrebirds tails to the homestead, knowing a good sale always existed for them. Suddenly spying the strange animal in sportive mood, tail and mane flying, and braying loudly, the blacks dropped their treasures and rain for cover.

Remains of the original two-roomed cottage, which was used until the original house was built, was still evident, while an olive tree dating back to these early days shelters those who play patience at the first tee, for over 750 players per week leave that attractive spot, only to return try their skill again and again.

Old Clubhouse Image 1895

The course, held on a 10 years lease, with options of another 10 years, consists of 18 holes, the playing length of 5510 yards, and, like many links in the old country, Ivanhoe's holes are named: i.e. The First, Boundary Ave, Siberia, Paradise Corner, Billabong, Dog Leg: Look Out, Grand View, Half-Way Ave, Centre Ave, The Long Ave, The Short Ave, Spion Kop, The Boulevard, The River, Windmill Hill, Deception and Home. The Yarra forming a natural hazard to several holes, is a happy cruising resort for motor boat parties, and has a natural swimming pool, with sandy bottom, on a bend adjoining the 15th green and 16th tee.

The clubhouse, with a fine central dining room and lounge has been modernised with additions of lockers, hot and cold showers, and electric light. One of the original rooms, with no doubt, was used for many social functions in the years gone by, and is now used as a lady's lounge.There is a fine verandah overlooking the velvety green fairways stretching below.

The course is easily accessible by rail to Ivanhoe, while buses from Melbourne and Heidelberg pass along Heidelberg Road and turn into Lower Heidelberg Road, which is only three minutes walk from the golf links. The Camberwell bus crosses over Burke Road Bridge and also turns into Lower Heidelberg Road, the course being on the left, as indicated by noticeboard.

Fees for members who have formed a club and who are arranging weekly competitions are:

subscription fees:

(members): yearly five pounds 5 shillings; half yearly three pounds three shillings; weekly three shillings

(associates): yearly three pounds three shillings; half yearly two pounds twiso shillings; weekly two shillings

no entrance fee.

Green fees:

two shillings per round (or two shillings per day from Monday to Friday); 3 shillings per day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Times may be booked by ringing Ivanhoe 710.