• History of the Meg Nunn Salver

  • To women golfers in Queensland, the Meg Nunn event is one of the most significant on their golfing calendar.  It is a tournament steeped in history and tradition when, over four days in September, teams of 6 relatively low handicap women1 from the 7 Districts 2 compete for the lovely Meg Nunn salver. Each District hosts the event on a rotation basis. The format is handicap match play, and is played in pairs. 
    Meg Nunn lived on a dairy farm at Peak Crossing outside Ipswich.  She did not come from a golfing family but she learned the game and loved it. After being introduced to golf by her husband, she went from a 36 handicap to 11 in her first year of playing.  She was selected to play in the Queensland Country team of 1955 against the British team.
    In the early 1970s, Meg was the Country Vice-President of the Queensland Ladies’ Golf Union (QLGU). In this role, she visited as many of the country golf clubs in the state as she could, and perhaps there were only as few as 3 that she did not get to in her travels. One western course boasted that they had been able to put the grader over the fairways the week before her visit!
    Meg uncovered a widely-held belief that the QLGU represented only those ladies who played golf in the south-eastern corner of the State and she came understand that country ladies felt they were being overlooked by this body. And she had often expressed the view that an event along the lines of the Gladys Hay Inter-State Matches could be played between the Districts.
    In her last report as retiring Country Vice-President to the QLGU Annual General Meeting, November 1982, Meg proposed that such a tournament be established. At the time, the Districts were being formed and during the Country Championships at Goondiwindi in 1983, Mrs. Peg Torrens, Country Vice-President, initiated a meeting with District Presidents or their representatives where it was decided to stage a handicap match play event for Silver Division players, between country Districts, with teams of five, and four to play each match.
    Pam Ranger, a member and committee person of the Surfers Paradise Golf Club, presented the antique silver tray that now bears the name "Meg Nunn Salver" as the Districts had voted to name the event in her honour. 1 Teams of 6, with 5 to play 2 Central Queensland & Central Highlands Districts compete as a combined District in this & Junior Jug. 
    The inaugural Salver was played for in Rockhampton in 1983. Far North Queensland did not participate because they were a newly formed District and did not have the funds to send a team. The draw had Gold Coast against Central Queensland and, at the first match, a coin was tossed to determine which District had the honour. Gold Coast won and so began the Meg Nunn legend. Coincidentally but quite fittingly, it was Meg’s daughter who took to the tee and sent the first ball flying down the fairway.
    Meg Nunn’s concept for the tournament was that the "grass-root, turn up every week" country player should have the opportunity to play match play, and to represent her District.  It was never envisaged that players who were members of a state team should be included in the Meg Nunn tournament because they had always had ample opportunity to attend interstate events. Meg was devoted to the idea that, each year, new friends would be made amongst the teams and the tournament would be one of good golf, good companionship, and great rivalry3.
    “I value my Meg Nunn badge above every other award I’ve received over my golfing life”   Judy Logan
    “I hit the first ball ever in the tournament named in honour of my Mum. I still get tears in my eyes when I think of it”.
     Anne Alletson Brown
    “I keep my Meg Nunn badge in the safe”. Aileen Bartlett
    Although the format has always been single match play, the “shape” of the Meg Nunn tournament has evolved through the continued efforts of the District President’s body: In 1984, the venue club was Mackay and all six country Districts were represented as was the newly formed Brisbane and District, a suggestion that had come from the group at the Rockhampton meet the previous year.  There were now six players to each team, with five to play.  By then, trophy badges had been designed and were presented to past and present team members.    In 1985, Gold Coast held the event at Meg Nunn’s home club, Southport, and it was in this year that the Queensland map showing District boundaries and colours was made by Mr. Scott of the Gold Coast.  As well, a cedar carry case for the Salver was crafted by Mr. Neil McGilp of Dalby, a team mate of Meg’s late husband, John, in State shooting teams.   In 1987, at Toowoomba, Val Johnston chaired a meeting of Presidents and announced that the QLGU4 would establish a Pool of Fares for both the Inter-District Match Play (Meg Nunn) and the Junior Jug. This Pool was a donation from the QLGU, and distributed to Districts, based on which Districts had the most expensive travel bills. Gold Coast and Brisbane & District soon opted out of the scheme because they enjoyed large numbers of players and a comfortable financial situation.  This generous decision allowed the Pool to be directed to the other Districts.  Today, the Pool of Funds is administered by Golf Queensland and has grown to about $20,000.
    Over the years, the rewards that flow from the tournament are evident.  Apart from the opportunity for low markers to match play in competition with their peers from other parts of the state, there is the economic benefit that flows into the area, most frequently a smallish town in largely rural Queensland. And for a few months every year, women’s golf receives extra attention as the 7 teams are selected and then the competition held in one of the Districts.