Date: July 30, 2014
Author: Australian Golf Heritage Society

Golf in Sydney Town in 1839 Seminar at the RAHS

Golf in Sydney Town in 1839 Seminar at The Royal Australian Historical Society

Venue:   History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Date:  Wednesday 6th August 2014

Time:  1.00 pm 

Alexander Brodie Sparkwas a wealthy merchant, general entrepreneur, patron of the arts and a respected member of colonial society between 1823 and 1856. Spark was an assiduous diarist and it is through his diaries that we have the first reliable evidence of golf played in Australia.

Michael Sheret and Norman Richardson, members of the Australian Golf Heritage Society, will be leading the seminar. They have conducted extensive research on the 1839 Sydney golfers, starting with reading the complete Spark diaries held in the original handwritten bound volumes in the Mitchell Library.

Much new information was uncovered from the diaries and other primary sources. Three puzzles have always surrounded these early golfers and have until now not been satisfactorily solved.

First, what triggered the start of golf on 25th May 1839 and the foundation of the first New South Wales Golf Club on 1st June?

Second, why did that phase of golf and the Golf Club have such a short life?

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Third, the biggest puzzle of all, what was the basis of the connection between the early Sydney golfers and Royal Blackheath Golf Club near London?

The seminar will provide answers, particularly regarding the connection to Royal Blackheath.

Michael and Norman published their research in the March issue of Through the Green, magazine of the British Golf Collectors Society. Copies their article will be available after the seminar. It is a long paper in which the research processes are fully described and there is a long list of references to sources of evidence.

The seminar will last under an hour and there will be time to answer questions from the audience. Entrance to the seminar is free.