Killarney Country Club, formerly known as The Transvaal Automobile Club (TAC), was formed in 1903 to foster “automobilism”.
This was its primary function until 1930, when the duties of protecting, fostering and promoting motoring interests was transferred to The Automobile Association of South Africa. In 1911, the Club moved to Cooke’s Farm in Killarney, and from then onwards developed its sporting and social facilities. In 1970, due to the requirements of the Johannesburg City Council in the construction of the North-South Expressway, the Club moved to its present location in Houghton, where it has a lease until 2040. Killarney Country Club is one of the most prestigious Clubs in Johannesburg, strategically situated on the M1 Expressway, with ample secure parking and a variety of outstanding facilities, including an 18-hole golf course, two restaurants, banqueting facilities, as well as bowling greens, tennis courts, squash courts, and a gym. Sign on for our electronic newsletter, The Killarney Chronicle, published every second month, to keep you up-to-date on events and news.
years in existence
The Killarney Country Club is steeped in tradition and history and was a key landmark in the development of the City of Johannesburg. Founded originally to further the interests in “automobilisation”, the Club moved to the Cooke’s Farm site in Killarney in 1911. The Club’s motoring activities included the compilation of road maps, organizing hill climbs and campaigning against the prevailing speed limit of ten miles per hour within a radius of two miles from the Rissik Street Post Office! The big motoring event of the Twenties was the Court-Treatt Motor Expedition from Cape Town to Cairo – a distance of 12,377 miles – which took sixteen months to complete, with the leading vehicle carrying the TAC badge throughout. The badge was later presented to the Club in appreciation of the hospitality and assistance afforded the Expedition.
A growing need to provide social and sporting amenities culminated in the opening of our first bowling green in 1917, followed by badminton courts and croquet lawns. A second bowling green was opened in 1921 by His Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught, the then Governor-General of South Africa.In 1926 squash and tennis courts plus a swimming pool, were added to the amenities, followed by the first ten-pin skittle alley in the Transvaal.
The golf course was opened in 1929, with Jock Brews as the appointed professional. By 1930, the fostering of all aspects of motoring was becoming too onerous for the Club and, after a series of heated meetings, the Automobile Association was entrusted with the portfolio. Thus ended a memorable era in the history of the Club, leaving only the name to remind us of those early motoring days.
In 1950, the African Realty Trust gave notice to the effect that they would require portions of the golf course land for development purposes. Lengthy negotiations ensued and the Governing Body of the Transvaal Automobile Club finally secured an extended lease until May 31, 1956, with the option to purchase. Finally, in February 1957, the Club became the owner of its property – but this was a short-lived achievement.
In 1965, the Johannesburg City Council formally proposed the construction of the North-South Express Motorway in order to alleviate ever-growing traffic congestion, and this was destined to run right through the Club property. Once again, negotiations ensued and the Club finally secured a 50-year lease ion 63 hectares of ground between Riviera Road in Killarney and Melrose Street Extension in Melrose, until the year 2020. This lease has since been extended up to July 31, 2040.
Members remain hugely thankful to members of the General Development Committee, consisting of Sidney Bloch, Jack Hoffmann, Jack Slotar, Buddy Gering and Hymie Weiner, for many hours of expertise in finalizing the agreement.
Just 14 months after building commenced, on Saturday, October 24, 1970, the new Clubhouse moved to Lower Houghton. The new clubhouse was officially opened by the then President of the TAC, My Hymie Weiner, in the presence of the Mayor of Johannesburg, Mr Sam Moss. The clubhouse has experienced many alterations and additions since then, and is today one of the most sought-after venues in the country. The Club is second home to many members and the view from the bar terrace overlooking the 18th green is unique and revered by each and every person visiting the Club.
Today, Killarney Country Club offers unique sporting and recreational facilities – in the heart of the city’s central suburbs. The Club has instilled a sense of pride in its members for over 100 years, and continues to do so.