Gailes Golf Club - A Brief History

Gailes Golf Club owes its existence to Dr Henry Byam Ellerton, a pioneering expert in psychiatry who moved from England to Queensland in 1909.

Dr Ellerton took up the post of Inspector of Asylums, and Medical Superintendent at the Hospital for the insane at Goodna.

A keen sportsman, Dr Ellerton enjoyed a love of cricket for many years but when his eyesight began to deteriorate in his mid-forties, he turned to golf, initially joining the Brisbane Club.

The travel was irksome and to a man of his temperament, an appalling waste of time. It was his wife who suggested that he should build his own course.

The only land available was the uninviting waste outside his garden fence, but undeterred, he walked the land until he knew every tree and hollow. He determined to build a course and naturally, it would be of championship standard and the best in Queensland.

Official permission was essential and having a keen interest in the fledging field of occupational therapy he made a compelling argument to the authorities about the benefits golf could bring to recuperating patients.

Approval was granted immediately and the doctor, now approaching fifty-two years of age, took up the challenge with enthusiasm. The Goodna Golf Club, later to achieve greater prominence as the Gailes Golf Club, was formed on February 4th, 1924.

The course was officially opened by the patron, the Premier of Queensland, the Honourable B.G. Theodore, M.L.A. Still in his plus fours following a morning round with Dr Ellerton, the Premier ceremoniously drove the first ball. Mr Theodore’s drive was described as “a low screamer of 220 yards”.

Four of Queensland’s leading amateurs played an exhibition stroke round. They were Frank Boyce, Tom Hunter, and the Brown brothers, Jack and Charlie, each of whom were foundation members of Goodna.

The initial nine-hole layout proved very popular. On Opening Day the course measured 3,300 yards and was easily the longest nine holes in Queensland.

The clubhouse, decked out in bunting, was officially opened on August 1st, 1925, by the Governor of Queensland, His Excellency, Sir Matthew Nathan. A grand, two-storey affair, it was sited near to the railway siding as in those days there were few cars or roads.

Construction work on the second nine holes was completed early in 1929 and improvements were then made to the first nine.

So why the ultimate change of name? With the advent of the new railway siding, the Goodna golf course was not at Goodna. It was at Gailes. This resulted in confusion to visitors travelling by rail, who often alighted at the wrong stop, so in 1935 Goodna Golf Club became Gailes Golf Club.

It was clear the course was something special and recognition came with the hosting of the Queensland Open in 1952 and again two years later.

In 1955, Gailes became one of the few Queensland courses to host the Australian Open and in 1999 it welcomed the Australian Senior Open.

While Gailes Golf Club has an illustrious history and has always championed the traditions of the game, it is equally committed to continuing to maintain and improve its excellent facilities for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

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