HISTORY OF THE CLUB
The suggestion to form a Golden Retriever Club in Victoria was discussed by several exhibitors at the 1966 Royal Melbourne Show. Following this, a meeting was held in October of Golden Retriever owners and as a result of this meeting it was resolved to ascertain how much support there would be from Golden Retriever owners to form a club. To this end, the signatures of many owners were obtained. After this meeting an unofficial approach was made to the Kennel Control Council (KCC) (now DOGS Victoria) to allow the club to be affiliated, where it was suggested that before the Club could be affiliated it would require more members. A second meeting of Golden Retriever owners was held and many more owners attended. At this meeting it was unanimously resolved to seek approval from the KCC to affiliate the Golden Retriever Club of Victoria. Three months later, in February 1967, the KCC granted affiliation to the club.
In April 1967, a further meeting was held of interested Golden Retriever owners and a constitution based on a model issued by the KCC was adopted. This constitution was approved by the KCC and in May a meeting was held to elect the first committee of the Golden Retriever Club of Victoria. Our first President was Mr Lee Pithie.
In July of 1967 Dame Joan Hammond OBE CBE CMG DBE was appointed the club’s patron. In June 1987 Dame Joan stepped down as patron and Mr John Tombs and Mrs Raille Bridgford were appointed. In July 1990 our current patrons were appointed, Mr Allan Robertson and Mrs Rose Odell.
Our first event, a Members' Competition was held on 20 August 1967 at the property of Mr and Mrs S Bull in Donvale. The best exhibit was Jadona Dell owned by Miss J House. The club’s first Open Parade followed in April 1968. Best in Parade was Pebbleridge Kennels’ Taumac Tawny Gold and Best Opposite W Rowland’s Rowanda Gold Argonaut. Later that year the club’s first Championship show was held at ‘The Elms’, Flemington Racecourse. Best in Show was Lantana Kennels’ Ch Castiewood Suzyanna and Best Opposite Sex was M Hayden’s Jannani Glengold.
General meetings were held monthly with general business followed by a guest speaker and supper. The Secretary's monthly letter was sent to members advising of forthcoming events, meeting and the results of point score shows. The club also held regular social events, including a dinner dance.
Committee decided to award an Annual Trophy to encourage member to show their Golden Retrievers and in 1968 the first Annual Trophy was awarded to Gretta and John Tombs and Ch Lantana Honey Flower. This award became the Encouragement Trophy and later the John and Gretta Tombs Encouragement Award and is still presented by the club each year.
In 1970 the KCC ruled that our Championship show was to be held at the Royal Showgrounds, so the club reluctantly moved from the very popular venue of The Elms to the Showgrounds. The club continued to hold our Members' Competitions at The Elms. Members' Competitions became an important part of the club's annual calendar, providing new members an introduction to the club and a social gathering where members could learn more about conformation, obedience and retrieving.
Appointing a Judge from overseas to adjudicate at our Championship Show became the club's normal practice and the club organised fundraising specifically for the Judges' fund.
A trials sub committee was formed in 1973 to encourage competition in field and retreiving and their first task was to organise a fiekld training day at Cranbourne which attracted 20 dogs and handlers eager to learn more. In March 1974 the club held its first Retrieving Trial (restricted to Golden Retrievers) which included a Beginners Test and a Novice Stake. In November the club conducted a Retrieving Trial open to all gundogs with a Beginners Test, a Novice Stake and an All Age Stake. In May 1974 the club conducted its first Novice Field Trial and in June 1974 the first Open Field Trial.
In 1975 David and Heather Hands' Dual Ch (F) Sweetwater Courage won our Open Spaniel & Retriever Field Trial and earned her Field Champion title which made her a Dual Champion title. Also in 1975 Ruth Nichols and Aspley Golden Lady AOC earned her Australian Obedience Chamion title. This was also the year that Allan Robertson was appointed our first Life Member.
An annual yearbook was published from 1977 to 1981. Also in 1977 the Recovery Service was set up to find new homes for lost and abandoned Goldens, co-ordinated by Bev Crawley.
Our first Obedience Trial (restricted to Golden Retrievers) was held in conjunction with the 14th Championship show in October 1981. Best in Trial was Goldfleece Alababa CDX. Due to diminishing numbers and show and obedience classes conflicting, the trial became a Restricted to Gundog Obedience Trial in 1994, and is now held separately from the Championship Show.
The club decided to hold an activity that all members coiuld participate in. Our very first Fun Day was held on Sunday 2nd May 1982 at Jells Park, Waverley and had many activities including a sack race, a fancy dress parade and photo competition. The day was so successfuk that it became an annual event.
The Golden Retriever Club of Victoria was incorporated in 1986 and adopted the rules for an incorporated club affiliated with the Victorian Canine Association.
In 1989 the club conducted one of Victoria's first Novice Gundog Working Tests (then called Gundog Obedience). This Test is restricted to gundogs. The Best Novice was awarded to Kiantu Cashew CD. In 1992 the Club conducted Victoria's first Open Gundog Working Test.
The club was host to the 3rd Golden Retriever National Championship Show in November 2000. The conformation and obedience events were both held at the Cranbourne Racecourse over the weekend, with conformation on the Saturday and Sunday, and obedience on the Sunday.
In 2002 the club held its first Tracking Trial (restricted to Group 3) and this has also become an annual event due to the growing popularity of the sport.
A competition amongst our members in 1994 gave us a stylish name for our monthly newsletter. GUNS N SASHES provides members with articles of interest, show and trial results and details of club events.
Our club was the first Golden Retriever Club in Australia to have a website on the internet when our club website was launched in June 1998.
The club has continued its strong commitment to the breed holding Championship Shows and Open Shows. The club encourages the working capabilities of the Golden Retriever by conducting retrieving trials, obedience trials and tracking trials.