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McLeod, Gertrude Evelyn (1891–1971)

by Margaret Kowald

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

Gertrude Evelyn McLeod (1891-1971), golf administrator, was born on 1 June 1891 at Spring Hill, Brisbane, seventh child of Daniel Walker McLeod, a Scottish-born auctioneer, and his wife Sarah, née Slade, who came from England. Gertrude was educated at the Normal School and Brisbane High School for Girls. Although she took up golf with enthusiasm, she was only an average player and her handicap never fell below sixteen. On 26 October 1934 she was elected president of the Queensland Ladies' Golf Union. She introduced country championships, raised money for interstate competitions by imposing a levy on associate-members of golf clubs, and in 1938 took the first Queensland women's team to Sydney. During World War II the Q.L.G.U. gave financial support to patriotic bodies, and equipped and maintained the Australian Red Cross Society's convalescent home at Chelmer: the society was to award McLeod honorary life membership in 1962.

As president (1949-54) of the Australian Ladies' Golf Union, McLeod promoted international competitions. (Dame) Joan Hammond gave two concerts in Sydney and two in Melbourne to raise money for the A.L.G.U. to send a team to the 1950 British Ladies' Open Championship. Before that year Australian women had entered the Open as private individuals. During McLeod's presidency regulations controlling the amateur status of players came under discussion as a result of the changing social background of women golfers. Prior to 1945 most competitors had been wealthy women. By the early 1950s 'working girls formed a large percentage of the personnel of interstate teams' and needed help with travel and accommodation expenses. It was difficult for State unions to meet these costs without jeopardizing the amateur standing of the players. Another contentious issue was that of dress. Under McLeod, the A.L.G.U.'s council ruled that it did 'not approve the wearing of slacks except in wet weather'.

An associate-member of the Royal Queensland and Indooroopilly golf clubs, McLeod once said: 'I enjoy every minute of my time that has to do with golf. My greatest pleasure is to visit golf clubs and play with other associates'. She retired from the Q.L.G.U. in 1963, having seen it 'grow from a very small body, to one of over 100 affiliated clubs'. Although in her mid-seventies, she supported a committed group of women who established at Mount Ommaney, Brisbane, the first golf club in Australia—and one of the few such clubs in the world—to be wholly administered by women. The owners of the land on which the course was to be built stipulated that the word 'women's' was not to appear in its name. To solve this problem, and as a tribute to Gertrude, the title McLeod Country Golf Club was chosen.

McLeod was a member of the Victoria League and the Royal Empire Society. Generous, determined and practical, she enjoyed motion-picture photography, motoring and bridge. She died on 21 May 1971 at Loch Earn, her home in Gregory Terrace, and was cremated with Presbyterian forms.

Select Bibliography

  • A Biographical Record of Queensland Women (Brisb, 1939)
  • P. Perry (compiler), From Green to Gold (Syd, 1975)
  • H. Gregory and M. Kowald, Women on Course (Brisb, 1993)
  • information from the Queensland Ladies' Golf Union and McLeod Country Golf Club.

Citation details

Margaret Kowald, 'McLeod, Gertrude Evelyn (1891–1971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mcleod-gertrude-evelyn-11015/text19593, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 22 January 2019.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

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