The Chirnside Park Country Club is situated at the gateway to the picturesque Yarra Valley on approximately eleven acres of landscaped gardens and only a thirty-five-minute drive from Melbourne. The venue provides a variety of sporting facilities and hospitality options for members, guests and the community.

The Club was built in the 1960’s by developers of the original Chirnside Park Estate “Wilmore and Randall”. Once most of the land was sold, Wilmore and Randall approached the local residents with a proposal to purchase the land, now known as Chirnside Park Country Club, to form a Club. Our original Board of Club Directors acted as guarantors for the initial loan to purchase the property.

The Club has been in operation since 1974 and sat on 146 acres of land overlooking the panoramic views of the Yarra Valley. The Club originally provided a modest clubhouse, golf course and tennis courts, and now offers a complete recreational and social entertainment venue.

The Country Club and Golf Course quickly became fully surrounded by houses and the Club sought to relocate its golfing arm to a new site. This decision was made to meet the demands of the growing golfing public and included selling the golf course portion of the property to land developers. In May 2014, after a number of years lobbying and hard work, the club was pleased to announce the opening of ‘Gardiners Run’, located on Victoria Road Lilydale. History of the land at both sites dates back to 1838, when John Gardiner took out the first grazing licence of 15,000 acres and named it “Gardiners Run”. 

Chirnside Park Country Club has retained eleven acres of land on the original Country Club site and is now comprised of a Keno lounge, TAB facilities, bowling greens, tennis courts and a fully licensed bistro and function venue.

The recent redevelopment resulted in a renovated and spacious clubhouse design including a Keno Lounge, TAB facilities, fully licenced bistro and function venue. The venue services both the modernised sporting facilities including the tennis courtsbowling greens, golf at Gardiners Run and the growing residential community.

Now operating across two sites, the future of Chirnside Park Country Club looks bright with a newly opened modern golf course and a fresh, renovated bistro and sports bar. Our newly renovated functions room overlooks the spectacular Yarra Valley. The Chirnside Park Country Club is currently removing two of the grass tennis courts and this space is being developed into a 18-hole MiniGolf course, by the name of Puttz. Puttz will be the newest development to the country club, and will boast COVID safe outdoor protocols as well as wheelchair access and the ability to be viewed from the Bistro outdoor seating area.

Where did the name ‘Gardiner’s Run’ come from?

John Gardiner (1798 – 1878), pastoralist and banker, took out the first grazing licence in the area (some 15000 acres) and set up an outstation to run cattle called Kangaroo Park. Kangaroo Park encompassed large areas of Chirnside Park, Lilydale, and Mooroolbark, leading all the way up to Mt Evelyn.

A Squatters Directory from 1849 contained a list of occupants on crown land in the district of Port Phillip, with one named ‘Gardiners Run’. This occupant was established in 1837. John Gardiner would eventually sell off all his assets and return to England, but his name remains with the opening of our new course.

The Chirnside Era

The Chirnside family influence on the Country Club and surrounding district began with Thomas and Andrew Chirnside who were born in Berwickshire, Scotland some eleven miles from the village of Chirnside. 

Willmore and Randall and the ‘First settlers’

The Willmore and Randall (Formerly Willmorevale Pty Ltd) Community Centres Pty. Ltd planning for the Chirnside Park Country Club followed research into several similar country club developments in the United States and the Pymble Club near Sydney. 

In 1962 advertising charts for Willmore and Randell Estate Developers promoted the development as a “Residential Community Development” situated between Croydon and Lilydale. The advertisement further went on to state “Come and sit under the grand old oak tree under which Dame Nellie Melba used to sit and cogitate”. The 18 hole championship course designed by the legendary Sam Berriman was also used as a selling point.

The Club is Born

Following the Proposals from Willmore and Randell/Community Centres Ltd. to either sell or lease the land, buildings, equipment and improvement, the interim committee led by Albert (Bert) Patrick developed a recommendation to be presented to prospective Country Club members.

To support the clubs recommendations, the interim commitee stated its belief that a purchase price of $200,000 was very reasonable and that it believed the current 1974 commercial value to be in the vicinity of $350,000- $400,000. Further it believed sub-division of the 143 acres at the time would realise over $2,000,000.

In April 1974, the provisional commitee recommended the acceptance of the purchase option previously recommended by the interim commitee. This was accepted by the meeting along with another motion to set the date for official formation of the Chirnside Park Country Club on July 1, 1974.

This information about the Club’s history was kindly provided by Life Member and former Club President Chris Meyer.