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Sale benefits community

The sale of the iconic former Cranbourne Golf Club, a Jewish institution in Melbourne, will benefit Jewish Victorians with the inking of a landmark agreement.

The 300-hectare site was purchased in 1951 for 20,000 Australian pounds after a meeting of 20 enthusiasts led by golfer Syd Kaufman. Opened in 1953, the aim was to create a club where Jewish and non-Jewish golfers could play in a friendly atmosphere.

At the time, Jews were denied access to many Melbourne golf clubs. Dr Mossy Hain’s application was returned without explanation by Spring Valley Golf Club and Manny Goldstone, a British Jew, withdrew his application for Melbourne Golf Club after learning it barred Jews of continental European origin.

Under the agreement, funds raised from the Cranbourne Country Club’s sale of its golf course will be used to set up a perpetual endowment fund through the Cranbourne Foundation, headed by well-known communal figure Jayne Josem, formerly CEO of the Melbourne Holocaust Museum (MHM).

“The Cranbourne Golf Club served the Jewish and wider community well for many decades,” Josem told The AJN, “however over recent times the situation has changed, with Jewish golfers now playing at a wide variety of clubs.”

Its sale brought “the wonderful decision by the country club members to gift substantial funds towards strengthening Jewish engagement in Victoria in perpetuity”, she noted.

Income from the fund will be distributed each year to advance the Jewish community and continuity of Jewish life in Victoria, including Jewish education, culture and arts. The Cranbourne Country Club will retain a separate perpetual fund to support participation in Jewish sport in Victoria. It is not intended that funds will be allocated to capital works.

“The Cranbourne Foundation’s objective is to foster a strong and vibrant community,” said chair Stephen Sharp.

Describing the sale as “a difficult decision”, Cranbourne Country Club president Bradley Wein added, “We are excited about the opportunity this provides to give back to the community through the foundation.”

Josem, the foundation’s CEO, said the settlement of the land sale will occur in early 2026, and meanwhile, grant applications will begin next year.

For Josem, her stewardship of MHM and the Cranbourne Foundation comprise a broader vision. “Having just completed one massive communal project – the Melbourne Holocaust Museum – it was time for a change in direction, yet it seems it will be another big communal initiative. Clearly, I love a challenge!”