Norman Gilding with his brother-in-law Percy Hardy took a ninety nine year lease on over a hundred acres of land on Lower Dandenong Road, Braeside in the late 1930ís. Normís daughter, Maureen Day, recalled the property was between where the Southern Golf Club is today and the Telford Stables (Braeside Park). The land prior to the Second World War was covered in scrub. "There were tall gum trees and a heck of a lot of bracken, together with wattle trees and tea tree. It was thick and bushy."
Norm Gilding wearing hat with Lawson Jones on new fairway, Braeside c1938.
Gilding and Hardy set out to clear the land using a tractor and horse drawn equipment to create fairways and greens for a golf course. The plan was also to build tennis courts and bowling greens to create a country club. Unfortunately the Second World War intervened and money became in short supply so the venture collapsed. The fairways and greens that had been formed stood empty, the lease was surrendered and the land allowed to return to its natural state, becoming a bird sanctuary for some time. With the development of the Southern Golf Club the original first fairway became a practice fairway.
Norm Gilding on his Farmall tractor.
Maureen recalls her father, Norm Gilding and her uncle, Percy Hardy had taken over the Forest Hills Golf Course in Dandenong when the Kingswood Golf Club moved to Dingley. They were leasing a significant part of the property from a Mrs Hemming who passed it over to the Housing Commission in the 1950ís for the creation of the suburb of Doveton. Gilding and Hardy continued managing the remaining nine hole course until the 1960ís when the Workers Club bought them out.
Norm Gilding on tractor with Leo Quigley looking on.
- From information provided in interview by Maureen Day.
- Photographs courtesy of Maureen Day.
Category: Did You Know?
Reference Number: 10