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Vale Weston Arthur Bate OAM FRHSV

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Prof Weston Bate enjoying a coffee during the 2016 Australian Amateur Championships at the Metropolitan Golf Club. On display were some Louis Whyte clubs from 1894 put together by Cliff George our Collections Curator

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) and the community History movement in Victoria is saddened by the passing of one its greatest sons, Professor Weston Bate on 31 October.

Weston Bate was born in Surrey Hills Melbourne, son of Mary Olive Akers, a Californian and Ernest Bate an English-born engineer. He attended Surrey Hills primary for three years before moving to Scotch College. He then served in the RAAF and flew Lancaster bomber missions from England.

After the war he enrolled at the University of Melbourne under a serviceman’s tertiary scholarship and was captivated by History under the tutelage of Max Crawford and his few staff. Weston began teaching at Brighton Grammar in 1949, under the headship of Philip Wilson his future father-in-law. taking teacher training classes each afternoon. He began a part time MA in 1950, while teaching. His marriage to life-long partner Janice Wilson in 1955, and their four of six children being born before 1962, delayed the MA. It then became the ground breaking A History of Brighton (1962, 1983).

After fifteen years of teaching at Brighton Grammar and Melbourne Grammar, Weston was appointed to the History Department at the University of Melbourne, where he became a passionate and captivating lecturer. He became Professor of Australian Studies at Deakin University in 1978 before retiring in 1989.

If his History of Brighton set new standards in local history, Lucky City (1978) and his second volume of Ballarat’s history, Life After Gold (1993) set new heights in goldfields community history. This writing assisted the creation of Sovereign Hill, which honours him with the Weston Bate annual lecture. In retirement he wrote histories of Geelong and Melbourne Grammar, of the Metropolitan and Barwon Heads golf clubs (for he was a skilled player into his nineties), a wonderful book on Melbourne laneways and other publications. He also published a chat book of love poems to the Mornington Peninsula, Haphazard Quilt (2006).

Weston Bate served on the Museum Advisory Board in the 1980s. He was a long-serving member of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and was awarded a fellowship of the Society in 1991. Weston served on the RHSV Council for fifteen years from 1990 and as President of the RHSV from 1991-97 and 2002-05. His greatest gift was to energise all those he met and to inspire historical societies across the state to pursue history with more skill, passion and tenacity.

The RHSV sends its deepest sympathy to his wife Janice Bate, their children James, Rosemary, Tristan, Nicholas, Linden and Christopher, their partners and their families. His last days were spent peacefully at Cabrini Prahran with close friends and his much loved and loving family by his side. A passionate lifeforce finally quelled.

2013 Australian Amateur Championships

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14 January 2013 – Commonwealth Golf Club

A feature event of the recent Australian Amateur championships held in Melbourne was a demonstration of golf played with hickory clubs.

A four comprising two Australian National Squad members and one from the Victorian Institute of Sport joined a four from the Golf Society to play with hickory clubs over 3 holes. Players for the Golf Australia ‘team’ were: Cameron Smith and Lucas Herbert, members of the Golf Australia National Squad, Grace Lennon, Victorian Institute of Sport, and Brad James, High Performance Program Director with Golf Australia. The Golf Society team comprised Max Findlay, Cliff George, Luke McDonald and John Surridge. Clubs used by the players were provided by the Golf Society.

The event was an initiative of Golf Australia championships department and all involved were thrilled at the way in which the young golfers embraced the event – several sourcing their own outfits and props and clearly enjoying taking part in recreating history. It was wonderful to hear them talking about golfers of the early 1900’s such as Frances Ouimet and the intricacies of the stymie for instance and to see them building tees of sand. Their form showed promise, too!

It is hoped that an event of this nature will become a regular feature of the Australian championship meetings.

Grace Lennon shows her style

The players on the tee

2017 GSA Hickory Golf

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29 March 2017 – Yarra Yarra Golf Club

GSA players would like to thank Peter Swan and Yarra Yarra Golf Club for inviting the Hickory Heroes for nine holes of Hickory Golf.

The day started with a light lunch in the Dining/Library Room. The atmosphere was electric with players Noel Terry (RMGC) and John Smith (Metropolitan) talking about 60-70 Pennant days, and Paul Burgess (Woodlands), Charles Wilkins (Woodlands), Marty McGuire (Commonwealth and Mark Brasher (Kew) perusing and discussing the Library Books.

14 players assembled at the 1st tee

1st John Smith Hcp 5 16 points
2nd Mark Brasher Hcp 3 15 points
3rd Marty McGuire Hcp 11 13 points
3rd Paul Burgess Hcp 23 13 points

Presentation in the Members Lounge at a nice long table.
Again players were discussing Hickory Golf, Clubs by Cliff George.

It was a great day for the Players and Yarra Yarra Golf Club

As Peter Maher and I were chauffeured for the day by John Smith we were the last to leave.

Another great day was had by all.

Max Findlay

2017 Dinner at Kingston Heath

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23 May 2017 – Woodlands Golf Club

Approximately 80 members and their guests attended the 2nd dinner of the year at Kingston Heath Golf Club on Monday May 8th. Guest speaker was Jarrod Lyle who kindly lent us his time prior to departing on a 6.00am flight to Perth the following morning to participate in a series of Pro Ams and the WA PGA Championship.

In a candid and at times emotional speech Jarrod spoke about his return to professional golf after his second bout of Leukemia. Playing in the Australian Masters at Royal Melbourne Jarrod spoke about the lead up to the event, the encouragement he received and the emotional toll it took on him.

Afterwards Jarrod answered numerous questions on topics as varied as his health, professionals playing Pennant, Sergio Garcia and his Masters win, Louis Oosthuizen and the quality of his ball striking and many other topics.

Those who attended were privileged to hear such an honest and open account from a truly inspirational figure not only in golf but in life.

2017 Don Lawrence Trophy

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23 May 2017 – Woodlands Golf Club

The annual Don Lawrence Trophy was played at its regular venue Woodlands Golf Club. This popular 4BBB event was well attended and we thoroughly enjoyed playing in fine autumn conditions.

The field was made up of many regular faces and past winning combinations as well a number of guests.

After play Muriel Lawrence Don’s widow attended the dinner and made the presentations. Sadly this is to be Muriel’s last year of attending, as she is leaving Melbourne to live with her family in South Australia. We wish Muriel all the best for the future and appreciate the contribution she has made to the success of our event over the years.


Winners of the Don Lawrence Trophy

Andrew Thomson and Committee member Tony Rule 45 pts

Andrew and Tony played with guests, young professional Matt Perry currently playing on the European Challenge tour and John Harrington who recently launched a line of Peter Thomson signature clubs and balls.

Best score by non-member/ guests – Tim Maguire and Greg Bain 46 pts
Best 9 out – Mal Fettes and Peter Vlahandreas 25 pts
Best 9 in – Tim Maguire and Greg Bain 23 pts

NTPs 11th (Women) – Virginia Gorrell | (Men) Max Findlay
NTP 17th (Women) – Kim Hastie | (Men) Mark Brasher

President Graeme Ryan thanked Woodlands for their wonderful hospitality and another successful day.

Andrew Thomson John Harrington, Matt Perry and Tony Rule

President Graeme Ryan and Muriel Lawrence presenting the trophy to winner Tony Rule