The History of Avalon Golf Course

Est. 1926

The south-east corner of the golf course was the location of a shaft for a coal mine sunk to a depth of 67metres by Father Therry, the first official Catholic priest in the colony. A 1923 ledger of Mr. AJ Small records the purchase of an area of land on the eastern side of Old Barrenjoey Road. Clearing the land for the golf course began in 1924. The layout was designed by Dan Soutar. The course was opened for play in October 1926. Initially a private course, Avalon became a public course after World War II.

On the site of the present clubhouse a small ticket office was built and plans of the later building show that this small building was incorporated into the larger building. The three main buildings, namely: the clubhouse, former kiosk and greenskeeper’s cottage, date from the 1920s, and are on the Heritage Schedule to the Pittwater Local Environmental Plan. As such, proposals for these buildings and their curtilage need to be consistent with heritage provisions in the Local Environmental Plan. The buildings were architect-designed for their purpose and are highly valued by the community for their links to the past.

The manager’s residence was at first occupied by Mr. Pollard, who worked for Mr. Small as a labourer. He helped build Mr. Small’s house, ‘Avalon’, in Bellevue Avenue and helped build the golf course. Mr. Ted hock became the manager in 1932 and remained there for many years, living on the course with his family, and continuing there after the sale of the golf course to Warringah Council in 1956.

Ongoing improvements have been made to the course, particularly over the last 10 years. These have included renovation of all tees, large-scale replanting (mainly with indigenous species), and realignment of some tees and fairways to minimise impacts on neighbouring houses and cars travelling on nearby roads. Consultation with local community groups found that the golf course’s heritage elements are greatly valued, particularly the composite of the three heritage buildings, the way the architecture blends in with the golf course, the buildings’ sandstone footings and shingles and evidence of early building methods.