The Byford & Districts Country Club has a long and unique history as a club here in Byford. The very first meeting was held on the 20th March 1957 and attended by some 36 people at the Byford Hall with the objective of establishing a social club for the residents of the area.
At this meeting the Clubs Inaugural President, Peter Kargotich, was unanimously elected President. Mr A McPhail his Vice President, Mr Ron Brown as the Clubs First Secretary and Mr S Hutchison the Clubs First Treasurer with 13 committee members included.
It was at this meeting on the 20th March 1957 that the name – The Byford & Districts Country Club was unanimously selected by the people present as the new Clubs name and this name has remained unchanged in the 62 years since.
The Clubs first interim Committee Meeting was held at 10pm the same night. A public meeting was held on the 11th April 1957 to further discuss the proposition according to the Clubs first annual report. At this meeting the promotional committee retired but was re-elected en-bloc as it was said that they had done a good job so far. The second full committee meeting was held on the 3rd April 1957 at which time the committee initiated its first membership fee for its ordinary members of 1 pound and 1 shilling.
On the 3rd April 1957 The Clubs began work on compiling the Clubs first Constitution. The Clubs Inaugural AGM was held on April 29th, 1957 at the Byford Hall, where the members agreed to commence social functions. Accordingly, the Clubs social committee was established, and the first social gathering of the Club took place on the 30th May.
Recognising the desire of so many to move forward with establishing the Byford & Districts Country Club, At the Committees fifth meeting held on the 27th May 1957, it was moved to appoint Mr Peter Kargotich, Mr Ron Brown and Mr R Ham as Trustees of the Club. These 3 trustees attended an auction for the sale of 1 and a half acres of land. These trustees were approved a ceiling of 450 pounds for the purchase of the parcel of land we recognise as our old club on south west highway.
The Club was successful in securing the land for 405 pounds – equivalent to $12,500 in today’s money. The 25th July 1957 saw the Clubs Committee recognise the fast-growing membership and elected to place a cap on the membership at 200 with subsequent memberships applications placed on a waiting list.
From here the Committee plotted and planned and held regular meetings which were always well attended. A drive for free-of-interest debentures was made, which resulted in an overwhelming response.
After more than a year’s work by the Clubs secretary Mr Ron brown and multiple meetings of the committee and the club’s solicitor the Byford & Districts Country Club was officially incorporated on the 11th April 1958.
The stage was now set for building and the Club commenced building on the original clubhouse on 1st March 1958, where about 20 members volunteered their labour freely.
Through the hard work of the club’s members and its volunteer building contractor, the completed Club was opened by Sir Ross McLarty on 27th
September 1958 and already, prior to the doors being opened the Club had 69 members on the waiting list.
Fast forward 60 years and the Club was in a similar position.
Countless volunteers, working countless hours on a relocation project. A project that started as a concept and a project that held its fair share of ups and downs and really tested the will of the club on countless
Just like the project led by Peter Kargotich in 1957, our relocation project delivered substantial outcomes to our members, members clubs and local residents.
In 2012 After much deliberation, the Committee of the Byford & Districts Country Club in agreeance with its Membership of roughly 350 residents, agreed to pursue a proposal to relocate the Club at the earliest possible opportunity.
The Byford & Districts Country Club had suffered substantial losses year-after-year and through an audit of the Club, by Life Member Mr Robb Gibb (A retired accountant), it was revealed that If the BDCC continued on its current operating path it was likely the Club would be insolvent before the end of 2013.
In addition to the dire financial position of the Club, the existing Clubhouse had been built in 1957 and did not comply with numerous local and state government requirements.
Subsequently after seeking expressions of interest, the Club Members in May 2013 elected to sell the land for $2.3m with the vote being passed with a 95% majority.
The Relocation Committee was formed to lead the Club through this extensive project. This Committee consisted of Club Members John Erren, Stephen White, Robb Gibb and Norm Carroll.
The relocation Committee explored 7 Possible sites for the new project to be competed, these were:
The Committee identified the suitable site for the Club to relocate to, must:
- be within an acceptable distance of the present site
- be easily accessible, secluded but not too isolated
- have pleasant surroundings and views on three sides
- allow for future expansion of the greens
- be Shire land to allow access to various grants
- be free or at minimal cost
- have affordable site costs
The Committee determined, the Linton street north location (the old rifle range) as the ideal site for the Clubs project as it met all the criteria established by the Club. The Committee pursued this option with the Shire of Serpenine Jarrahdale.
The relocation Committee begun putting together a vision and concept drawings of what the new facilities could look like based on information from a number of working groups with Members and residents. Although the design would have to be modified to suit the selected site, the Committee determined the elements would be similar regardless of where they are positioned within the overall building boundary.
Through a tenacious approach from the relocation Committee of the Club, and the relevant drawings and plans in hand as provided by Alita and Mulder Kampman, were able to succsessful lobby various organisations, government bodies and funding partners for grants to complete the relocation project. The Club, through the sale of land and various grants, had now sucsseully raised over $5,000,000 and the Members of the Club were ever so closer to the realisation of this project.
The Byford & Districts Country Club were presented with the Keys to the new Clubhouse in November 2016.
The Clubs Committee and management partnered with Byford & Districts Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank in late 2016 and were succseful in aplying for a community grant of $174,000. This crucial funding was the very final step of completing this 5 year project for the Members of the Club. The funding was able to provide Restaurant and Bar furniture, Point-of-Sale systems and software, office equipment and computers and complete the furnishing of the Clubs kitchen with essential cooking utensils.
The New Club was finally opened to Members for use on the 6th January 2017 at 2pm. The overwhelming response to the new Club has been phenomanal and saw the Clubs Membership sky rocket from 347 to, now in 2019 more than 14,000 members a strong established trade with $3.6m and $250,000 Profit for the in the first year.
The Club is able to offer a fully inclusive offering to our Members and local residents and in so many ways has cemented the Clubs long term future.
14,000 members which is representative of almost 1 in every 2.5 adult residents of the Shire or more than 1.35 members in every household in the region speaks volumes about the success of this Club.
It demonstrates the need for community organisations such as ours within the community. The Byford & Districts Country Club has reinvented itself and given the Club a fresh opportunity. Throughout this process – we have been successful in establishing a new benchmark for not for profit clubs in the state.
This success has been made possible with the hard work of our committees, Board, members, stakeholders and funding partners.