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NEWSLETTER: Spring 1956
 
Travellers' Tales
by Bridget Jackson
 
 

It was as a member of the British Junior Golf Team that I left the shores of Britain on May 31st last year to tour Australia and New Zealand. We were to be away nearly seven months before returning home four days before Christmas.

 

During an interesting voyage out we called at the Ports of Gibraltar, Naples, Port Said, Aden and Colombo before disembarking at Fremantle on June 27th. During our eight hours in Colombo we played a match against the Ceylon Mens' Golf Union. Although none of us won our matches, we played against a background of the natives doing their washing and to the chant of hymns, it being a Sunday. The native caddies we had, most of whom were very good players, picked the balls up with their toes. It was a wonderful change from the sea voyage and marvellous to play golf again, although we had been hitting balls into the net on board ship, under the eye of our captain, Mrs Bostock.

 

The courses in Australia appeared to be burnt because of the dormant grass, but the greens on the whole were in good condition. We visited two courses which had sand greens, one of which had oiled ones.

 

During our tour of Australia we travelled nearly ten thousand miles by air, doing one journey (which takes three days by train) in four hours. We visited all the States and spent a week in each of Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania, then eighteen days in Victoria, three weeks in Queensland, and six weeks in New South Wales.

 

We had many visits to places of interest such as two sheep stations, Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef, where Gillian Atkinson and myself swam amongst the coral and many coloured fish, a trip round Sydney Harbour, a visit to a winery, and also a sports goods factory. We watched Peter Thomson, the British Open Champion play in the Speedo Tournament, and Dorothea Sommerville and myself had a game with Douglas Bachli the 1954 British Amateur Champion.

 

Canberra is a very interesting place and we were shown over Parliament House, a magnificent building which is supposed to be temporary for fifty years. We also visited the War Memorial, which is combined with the War Museum. Wherever we went we found there was great loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen, and everybody still spoke about her great tour. In every clubhouse we visited there was always a picture of the Queen.

 

After three wonderful months in Australia we flew to New Zealand for a seven weeks tour, four of these weeks being spent in the North Island. We arrived in Auckland and then flew down to Dunedin. During our tour of the South Island we visited Invercargill, Queenstown, Timaru, Christchurch, and Nelson. We did much of our travelling by car, and we soon noticed a difference in the countryside, besides the roads having hedges, the grass was so green. One road sign, believed to be the only one in the World, we passed was "Beware of Wind". The Provinces are making great efforts to improve the roads and on one journey we were held up for over two hours by roadmaking.

 

While in New Zealand we went to the Wellington Races (where the tote is ten shillings), a Naval Ball on Trafalgar Day, a butter and cheese making factory, and were entertained to lunch at Longbeach, near Christchurch, where the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had a few days relaxation during their tour.

 

In the North Island we visited Wellington, Hastings, Gisborne, Rotorua, Hamilton, Auckland, Whangaroi, New Plymouth, Wanganui, and Paraparaumu Beach. While at Gisborne we played a Test Match against the Maoris, who when we arrived at the Club House did us a welcoming "Haka". At night we were entertained in one of their Meeting Houses, and given food cooked in "Hangi" fashion, and afterwards we saw them perform their dances and sing songs. It was a most memorable day. During our visit to Rotorua we were shown round the famous thermal region by Guide Rangi, who had shown the Queen round.

 

Out of the thirty two matches we played we only lost two and three others were drawn, Dorothy Sommerville being undefeated in singles. Veronica Anstey of Edgbaston won the three major championships and the rest of us had a fair collection of trophies when we boarded the ship in Wellington to come home via the Panama Canal.

 

Our thanks must go to the Ladies' Golf Union for giving us the opportunity to see the other side of the World, and to the Ladies' Golf Unions of Australia and New Zealand for the wonderful hospitality and kindness they gave us while we were there.

 

 

 

[During a notable amateur career, Miss Jackson played in the Curtis Cup for Great Britain and Ireland on three occasions and was selected as an England international nine times. She has served as Chair and President of the English Ladies Golf Association and President of the Ladies’ Golf Union. She was made an MBE in 2003 for her services to women’s golf.

 

Born in Birmingham, England in 1936, Bridget Jackson won the Girls’ British Open Amateur Championship in 1954 and two years later triumphed in the English Ladies Closed Championship and German Ladies Championship. She won the Canadian Ladies Championship in 1967.]

 

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