A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WOMEN’S INTER-SCHOOLS GOLF CHALLENGE CUP
In 1929, a committee of twelve was formed to represent different schools to foster teamwork in Associate golf and to support a charity for women or children’s charities. The schools were Clyde, Fintona, Firbank, Loreto Abbey, Melbourne C.E.G.G.S. (Merton Hall), M.L.C., Tintern, Geelong C.E.G.G.S. (The Hermitage), Ormiston, P.L.C., Ruyton and Toorak College. A number of other schools, including Warwick were invited to participate. An annual competition was then open to associate golfers who were financial members of their Old Girls’ Association of the Public and Registered Secondary Schools of Victoria. In 2014, financial eligibility was amended and the event is now open to players who are past students of one of the member schools and hold a current GA Handicap of 35 or less.
The 1st annual inter-school golf match was held on the Cheltenham links of the Victoria Golf Club that year. Table Talk magazine donated a magnificent antique trophy. The cup of solid silver, was made in London in 1827 in the reign of George IV and was known as the Table Talk Challenge Cup.
In 1939 when Table Talk closed the Sun News-Pictorial undertook to sponsor this annual event and to provide the trophies – four silver teaspoons, one for each member of the winning team, together with a silver shield, engraved with the names of the winning team to be added to the base of the cup each year. At the general meeting in December 1940, it was agreed that play in the competition be suspended for the duration of the War.
Originally it was permitted to enter up to 14 or 15 players per school, the four best scores constituting the team. Now that there are 30 schools competing, each school enters a team of four players and the total of the stableford scores represents the school’s result.
For many years the golf clubs donated their courses for the event. During the 1970’s the teams started to pay a nominal fee. In the 1990’s with all lady golfers being full members of their respective golf clubs and green fees becoming higher each year, the Committee are endeavouring to keep the entry fees at a reasonable level. From 1930 to 1938 the entry fee was 2/6; in 1994 it was $25, now in 2018 the entry fee is $105.
Each year the competition is held at a different golf club. From 1929 the day was organised by a representative and a delegate from the 12 original schools. At the Annual General Meeting in 1980 it was decided to invite a representative from each school playing to be on the Committee and for all to participate in organising the day.
The Committee now consists of 30 representatives from all the original schools (with the exception of Ormiston which is no longer functioning), together with representatives from Cato, Clarendon, Geelong Grammar, Genazzano, Ivanhoe Grammar, Kilbreda, Korowa, Lauriston, Mandeville Hall, Mentone Grammar, Morongo, Presentation College Windsor, Sacre Coeur, St. Catherine’s, St. Margaret’s, Shelford, Strathcona, Star of the Sea and St. Leonard’s College.
During the early years a different women’s or children’s charity benefitted from the proceeds, the donation ranging from 15 to 25 pounds. The beneficiaries included the children’s sections of the Royal Victorian Institute of the Blind, the Eye and Ear Hospital, Prince Henry’s Hospital, The Queen Victoria Hospital, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Aftercare for Paralysis Patients Hospital, The Orthopaedic section of the Children’s Hospital, the Free Kindergarten Holiday Home and the Sun Toy Fund. Now our proceeds of approximately $4,500 are donated to The Cottage by the Sea in Queenscliff. To date (2018) approximately $64,000 has been raised in total.
The annual match has become a day which everyone looks forward to and enjoys, feeling privileged to have the opportunity to represent their old school and to compete for the much prized trophy.
We remember Miss Kitty McEwan (Ormiston), the first honorary secretary and treasurer, who held this position from inception until 1940, and then again in 1947 and 1953, in our Kitty McEwan Memorial Trophy, presented to the player with the highest score in the “A” Division. Miss Nell Goff (Warwick), who held the same position from 1954 (no history available from 1940-1955), until 1977, some 23 years, is remembered in our Nell Goff Memorial Trophy which is presented to the player with the highest score in the ‘B’ division.
Early in 1995 the title of this event reverted to its original name – The Inter-School Golf Challenge Cup. The Sun was no longer interested in sponsoring either the golf or tennis inter-school annual events and so we parted amicably. Since 2007 the event has been called “The Women’s Inter-School Golf Challenge Cup” due to many schools becoming co-educational.
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