Reception for the Royal Queensland Golf Club Centenary Book Launch
Our President, Mr Andrew Greville and fellow Directors; General Manager, Mr Paul Hinton; the author Dr Ian Lynagh; and rightly proud Members of the Royal Queensland Golf Club.
Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you all to Government House tonight to celebrate the launch of Dr Lynagh’s magisterial history of this magnificent Queensland institution, of which I am proud Patron.
And thank you for joining us here: I greatly enjoy my annual sojourn to the Heritage Luncheon by the River, but I am very pleased that tonight you join us at Fernberg for this very important event.
As Dr Lynagh’s publication vividly recalls, the seven golfers who resolved on a balmy evening at the Brisbane Club in August 1920 to form the Queensland Golf Club were a tenacious bunch.
Within just two weeks leases were signed on 437 acres of reclaimed riverside swamp in Eagle Farm.
To beautify the entryway, a grand boulevard of weeping fig trees was planted shortly afterwards on the advice of none other than Ernest Bick – the first head gardener here at Fernberg after it became the Governor’s residence in 1910.
By the time the Eagle Farm course was ready for its official opening the following year, 1921, by Lord Foster, then Governor-General, it was already being described as having brought “Queensland into line with the best conditions of golf” anywhere in the Commonwealth.
I am inclined to believe those foundation Members would find that statement as apt now, as it was then – and what a magnificent endorsement of the heritage and fine nature of the course that the Australian PGA Championship should return – rightly return – to Royal Queensland, and ever so “rightly” in its centenary year.
Of course, the Club’s members and administrators have never used longevity as a sole barometer of success – nor, luckily, their current Patron’s handicap.
Charles Earp, I must say, has offered me the greatest encouragement, as have successive Presidents, and I am really sorry not to have even attempted to emulate Sir Walter Campbell and Major General Arnison. But you all know you have my strong institutional support in a different but enduring sense.
Through sheer determination and an enterprising spirit, this Club has persevered through drought, the privations of war and commercial fluxes – not to overlook the intrusion of a great big bridge! I ask – if in courtesy rhetorically, did Greg Norman actually hit a ball over the original Gateway Bridge?...
Well, now in 2020, Membership of Royal Queensland remains highly desired and growing, and the Club continues to demonstrate a commitment to excellence, innovation and progress – including with our youth.
All of this – and much, much more, is meticulously detailed in Dr Lynagh’s brilliant publication – congratulations, Dr Lynagh and everyone involved in bringing the project to fruition.
I thank and congratulate past and present Presidents and Committee members, Club captains, administrators, supporters and Members for contributing to the rich heritage of our Club and State.
How wonderful to see that heritage captured in this frankly excellent and worthwhile publication, Royal Queensland Golf Club: 1920 (to) 2020: A Century of Golf, which I now have the immense pleasure of officially launching at Government House in our Club’s such significant centenary year. Thank you.