Romsey, a rural township, is within commuting distance of metropolitan Melbourne. Development during the 2000s has seen many new houses built in and around the town. It is 55 km north-west of Melbourne, accessible via the Tullamarine Freeway and the Melbourne-Lancefield Road.
The name is thought to have been inspired by Romsey in Hampshire, England.
The “Five Mile Creek”, a tributary of Deep Creek, is at the northern end of the town, a hotel was built there as a stopping place. A post office was opened within the hotel in 1858 and named Romsey two years later.
A school was opened at about the same time, the school site was occupied in 1865. In 1994 a new, larger school was opened at the southern end of the town and the old school site was bought by the Macedon Ranges Shire. The school buildings now house the COBAW Community Health Services and the grounds are now an “Ecotherapy Park”.
Presbyterian and Anglican churches were opened in 1865 and 1871, and the “Romsey Mechanics’ Institute”, initiated in 1865, was completed in 1875.
Romsey Shire was created in 1871.
The land around Romsey was moderately rich, being suitable for crops, dairying and grazing. The numerous small farms provided a substantial rural population, and numbers were swollen by itinerant workers at harvest times. The town had numerous stores, six hotels and a butter factory (1882). In 1903 Romsey was described in the Australian handbook:
The railway through Romsey ran from the Melbourne/Mildura line at Clarkefield to Lancefield and through to Kilmore and the Melbourne/Sydney it ran from 1881 to 1956.
About 7 km north of Romsey is Lancefield. Whilst Romsey was the administrative centre of the shire, Lancefield had the district hospital and Catholic primary school (although a branch of the school functioned in Romsey intermittently). The populations of both towns remained similar in number until the mid-1970s.
The construction of the Tullamarine Freeway for the Melbourne Airport (1970) put Romsey within quicker reach of metropolitan Melbourne. Rural/residential and residential subdivisions occurred and continued throughout the 1980s. The township kept several of its older civic buildings, and new facilities such as an indoor sports centre were added.
Golf has been popular in and around Romsey for well over 100 years. There are numerous mentions of individuals and groups playing golf around the town during the very early years of the Twentieth Century and ongoing interest in the game was strong enough to see a rough course established on the Inglis property in the years immediately following WW1. This little course proved so popular that a committee was formed to investigate the construction of a golf course closer to, or within, the township.
In 1921 the town’s first formal golf course, a nine-hole course, was established at Romsey Park with Mr L. M. Inglis as the inaugral Romsey Golf Club president. Planning, constructing and maintaining this course would have taken a great deal of time and effort, an indication of how strongly the community felt about golf, especially in a time of largely horse-drawn machinery. In 1922 the club boasted forty-two (42) Male members and thirty-four (34) Female members. (When memory Turns The Key – The History of the Shire of Romsey)
In 1926, at a cost of 200 Pounds, a small, two-roomed weatherboard clubhouse was built. The Park Committee donated 100 Pounds towards the construction of this building.
There are many stories, during both the 1920s and 1930s, of golfers (male and female) riding their horses or bikes into Romsey, with clubs slung over their shoulders, for a round of golf.
The club grew steadily and survived the Great Depression of the 1930s however the advent of World War II saw many of the district’s men called away to fight and many of the district’s women join the “Land Army” or serve in one of the AWAS, the WRANS or the WAAAF. As golfing was considerably less important than these other endeavours the club closed down for the duration of World War II. During these years the course at Romsey Park fell into disrepair.
Unfortunately also, during the war years, the weatherboard clubrooms were destroyed by fire, many records, photographs, shields and other memorabilia were lost. Whilst we still have the 1922-1923 Romsey Cup and a few other items from the club’s all important early years, the majority of our physical records date from 1946.
After the war Jack Reynolds and Stuart Smith laboured to re-instate the course at Romsey Park. They had to grub tussocks from the fairways and worked hard to repair the greens throughout winter and spring of 1945 and on into 1946. In August 1946 Jack and Stuart, and a small group of locals, celebrated the re-opening of the course.
Our records of Club Champions begins in 1955. From 1955 to 1969 the club was dominated by the Mitchell family. One or another of the Mitchells won every Men’s Championship from 1955 to 1969 while a women from the Mitchell clan won eight of the 15 Women’s Championships. Again the loss of our club history holds us back, our Club Champions from 1955 on can be found on the Honour Boards page of this website.
In 1963 a sports pavilion was built at Romsey Park, this building was part paid for, and shared by, the bowls and golf clubs (the golf club moved from their small weatherboard building near the current bowling green into this new building) and the football and cricket clubs. A very busy building indeed. Later, a metal clad storage building was constructed beside the bowling green. This was to augment the older, much larger storage shed, in the SE corner of Romsey Park.
In the early 1980s the Romsey Council, working with the Golf and Bowls clubs, put forward plans for a separate Golf and Bowls pavilion to the west of the existing pavilion and to the south of the bowling green. This was made possible by funds from both clubs and a Shire of Romsey & Lancefield Council levy placed on some subdivisions within the town. In 1982 the Golf and Bowls Clubs moved into a new building leaving their sections of the original 1964 building to the football and cricket clubs who then completely moved down from the old corrugated iron shed near the southern end goals to the 1964 pavilion.
In 1983 the Golf and the Bowls clubs met to discuss and plan for the maintenance of, and improvements to, the new building. At this meeting it was agreed that a Management Committee made up of representatives from both clubs would be formed. Each club would nominate reprsentatives for this committee at their annual general meetings. The committee met each quarter and placed an annual levy on the clubs for funds to pay for essential services. The Management Committee also applied for grants, on behalf of both clubs, to improve the pavilion. In recent years successful grant applications have been made to the Shire of Macedon Ranges and also to the Lancefield/Romsey Bendigo Bank.
During 2008 and 2010 the large, old storage/machinery shed was renovated, damaged or rotted timbers were replaced, and donated sheets of iron were used to replace badly rusted or holed sections of the walls and roof. A new sliding door was also added on the southern end. Many members of the club volunteered their labour, their tools and hours of their time to carry out these repairs. This shed is now a vital part of the course storing all our machinery and other items necessary to the successful maintenance and improvement of the course and Romsey Park in general.
We compete in the Dalhousie District Golf Association Men’s and Women’s pennant golf each year and, for a smaller club, we have achieved remarkable success. A list of our Pennant Golf wins can be found on the Pennant Golf page of this web site. Romsey Golf Club is extremely proud of the succcess of our members, perhaps the most well known are Christopher Gaunt (OneAsia Tour) and Daniel Gaunt (European Tour) who have gone on to become professional golfers.
Discussions with the elders of the club will hopefully provide a more detailed history of the club, hopefully filling in the pre WW2 years, will be added to this site as soon as that information becomes available.
In 2014-2015 the Management Committee worked through the process of becoming an Incorporated Body. As such it could hold the liquor license for the building. Both the Golf Club and the Bowls Club committees voted to agree to, and support, this process.
In 2015 Romsey Clubhouse Inc (RC Inc) was formed and registered. Once this process was completed RC Inc applied for an expanded liquor license for the clubrooms. This license was granted in mid July and included a “Booth License” which allowed the golf club to serve drinks on the course itself.
With the construction of the new, larger sporting pavilion, Romsey Football/Netball Club and Romsey Cricket Club left the old 1963 pavilion. In late 2015 RGC approached the Romsey Sporting Association (A representative body given some jurisdiction over Romsey Park by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council) to ask about the possibility of moving from the rooms shared with the Romsey Bowls Club unto the now vacant 1963 pavilion. The RGC proposal was accepted unanimously. The golf club began the process of having plans drawn up for this move, there was a great deal of work to be done to the old pavilion before the club could possibly move in. Sadly our proposal to renovate and move into he 1963 pavilion was not to be successful and the building fell further into disrepair.