Hawks Nest Golf Club honours Allen Clyde ‘Kanga’ Hurle

Hawks Nest Golf Club President Stephen Gately, Tristine and Lainie Hurle, and Club Past Vice President David Gilbert with the photo of Kanga to hang in the Club.

AT the conclusion of the Hawks Nest Golf Club’s Annual General Meeting last Sunday, outgoing Vice-President David Gilbert led a tribute to the late Allen Clyde ‘Kanga’ Hurle.

A prominent member of the Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest community in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, ‘Kanga’, amongst many other community contributions, was a key driving force behind the development of the Hawks Nest golf course and clubhouse.

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In August 1963, a few residents from the twin townships of Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest were gathered together at the Tea Gardens Hotel enjoying a few quiet ales.

Somehow the conversation got around to golf, ultimately leading to the conclusion – “why don’t we form our own Golf Club here in town”.

A meeting was called in October 1963, attended by twelve people, at which it was decided to form a golf club if a suitable site for the course could be obtained.

Significantly, one of the participants at this meeting was Mr G Hurle, the father of Clyde, who was later to hold the office of President of Hawks Nest Golf Club for twelve years from 1976 to 1985.

Outgoing Vice President David Gilbert recalls that as a twelve-year-old, each Sunday morning, after the showing of the Wide World of Sport program on TV, the very next program was World Championship Wrestling.

He can clearly recall the participation of an Australian wrestler who fought under the name of ‘Kangaroo Kennedy’ at that time.

That wrestler was none other than Allen Clyde ‘Kanga’ Hurle.

Meanwhile at the Hawks Nest Golf Club, where despite the election of a Committee, success in acquiring a site, development of plans for a nine hole golf course, and ongoing committee meetings; not much in the way of progressive work had taken place.

In 1966, Clyde Hurle gave up wandering the world and settled in Hawks Nest to help his parents in their business at Tea Gardens.

Clyde had been absent from meetings concerning the golf club development prior to 1966 as he had been touring overseas in his capacity as Australian Heavyweight Wrestling Champion.

“Upon being elected to the Board four years ago my attention was drawn to a document, ‘A Golf Club is Born’, which is attributed to a former Club Director, Norm Walker,” said Mr Gilbert.

“Norm indicated that in 1969 Clyde Hurle became a Councillor on Stroud Shire Council, a position he retained until 1977.

“From the time of his election as a Councillor, Clyde’s enthusiasm to get the Golf Club moving knew no bounds.”

Mineral Deposits Limited started operations in the area in 1966 and the AMP Society purchased large holdings in the area between 1968 and 1970.

The contributions made towards the development of the Hawks Nest Golf Club course and clubhouse by these companies and employees, as well as a range of individuals in the community, cannot be overstated.

The untiring efforts of Bill Lyon, Allan Gleeson, Matt Lauder, Vic Bancroft, Barry Squires, Lionel Slockee, David Stoupe, Terry Loane, Jules Anseline and John Lashwood, to name a few, will be more appropriately acknowledged in a project to develop a full history of the Hawks Nest Golf Club which will occur over the next 12-18 months.

In the mid 1970’s Clyde ‘Kanga’ Hurle, who had been Vice President, took the reins as President following the resignation of Allan Gleeson.

“With ‘Kanga’ in the chair things took on a much different complexion,” said Mr Gilbert.

“His efforts both on the course and behind the scenes were of incalculable benefit to the Club.”

Amongst Kanga’s achievements, he coordinated the involvement of TOGA (Progressive Developments), Mineral Deposits Limited and others in developing the course.

He arranged a $100,000 loan from the Bank of NSW to build a new clubhouse on the proviso that the Council would also provide a $20,000 loan together with a guarantor.

Clyde ultimately put up the deeds of his own home so that the bank loan could be made.

He also organised for three acres of the leasehold land to be changed to freehold land for the new clubhouse, as well as organising second hand poker machines to generate cash flow.

“In the twelve years since coming to office as President, ‘Kanga’ had taken on just about every job that came up,” said Mr Gilbert.

“At times he carried out the duties of Secretary, Treasurer and even Publicity Officer.

“On top of this he usually put in somewhere between 30 and 40 hours a week on Club work and was on-call seven days a week to sort out all kinds of issues.

“From Norm Walker’s document, ‘A Golf Club is Born’, and discussions with a range of members and locals, it could only be concluded that Allen Clyde ‘Kanga’ Hurle was the primary driving force behind the development of the Hawks Nest Golf Club and Clubhouse which we all enjoy today,” said Mr Gilbert.

In recognition of his twelve years of service as Club President, ‘Kanga’ was made a Life Member of the Club in 1986.

For this reason the Club Board recently decided that a photograph of ‘Kanga’ Hurle should hang in the clubhouse entrance foyer to formally acknowledge his outstanding contribution to Hawks Nest Golf Club.

Mr Gilbert was pleased to announce that Kanga’s two daughters, Tristine Hurle and Lainie Hurle, joined the Club at the conclusion of the AGM to participate in this tribute to their father.

While Tristine lives in Sydney and returns to the township often enough, Lainie, who lives in Tasmania, has not been back to Hawks Nest since 2002 at the time of her father’s funeral.

Mr Gilbert then invited Tristine and Lainie to come forward and unveil the photograph of ‘Kanga’ which will hang with pride in the clubhouse foyer as a constant reminder of his dedicated and honorary service to the Hawks Nest Golf Club.

‘Kanga’, who was born in 1926 and passed away in 2002, will always be remembered at Hawks Nest Golf Club for his vision and commitment to foresee the makings of what the Club is today.

With Mr Gilbert no longer on the Board at the Golf Club, he has been charged with the responsibility of collecting information about the club and its personalities with the view to coordinating a ‘History of Hawks Nest Golf Club’.

“I am keen to gather old photographs and other information about the Club over the years,” he said.

“I would welcome any information, stories which people may be able to share, photos etc.

“For this I can be contacted through the Golf Club.

“Phone 49970145 and the office will then pass on the details to me.”

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