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Female Picton pioneers did more than just play golf 100 years ago

Did you know that legendary Campbelltown tennis star Rose Payten, pictured above, was also a mean golfer?

No, neither did I, until I came across her name on page 17 of the Lynette Styles book, Antill Golf Club Associates.

Nor was I aware that family friends called this sporting champion “Babe’’, as in Babe Ruth the US baseball star, I assume.

“Campbelltown [golf] club champion Rose Payten visited Picton on 14 August 1936 … to give a talk on the rules of the game,’’ writes Ms Styles early in the book as she begins to paint a picture of local women who took up playing golf with gusto.

“Babe Payten was a natural athlete. Born in 1879 to a farming family at Leumeah near Campbelltown, she was the only girl in a family of six boys and grew up playing sports with her competitive brothers.

“She made herself famous at the turn of the century by winning State tennis titles before turning her interest to golf in the 1920s.

“Instrumental in the formation of the Campbelltown Associates Golf Club which she captained, Rose won the Ladies Championship in 1930, 1931 and 1934,’’ writes the author.

“Babe was the president of the Nepean Illawarra Golf Association and an executive member of the Ladies Golf Union.’’

Rose Payten has a road named after her which rather appropriately runs past the Wests tennis club and the Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

Returning to Antill Golf Club Associates, this is a book that through golf, and women in golf, paints a picture of life in the Picton district for much of the 20th century.

These women who pushed the social boundaries played an important role in the district, so it wasn’t just about getting a hole in one from time to time.

And they were there from the very start when Picton golf club was established in 1907 and the Antill land at Jarvisfield was the course chosen and used on and off for the next 30 years.

Eventually, in the mid 1930s, the club settled on land which became known as the Stilton golf links near Picton town.

It all returned to Antill early 1960s, where it has been up until the present day.

This wonderful account of women and golf in Picton and surrounding districts does have a subplot that hovers in the background throughout the book: the forced resumption of Antill, or Jarvisfield as it was known historically, by Wollondilly Council in 1974.

Readers of the South West Voice would know that it is that part of Antill Golf Club Associates which has upsetcouncil to the point it cancelled the book launch in its library.

But that’s another story: suffice to say this is a very good account of life in Picton through these pioneering women who played golf, held charity fundraisers and much more besides.

For anyone who loves reading the history of the local area, this is a book worth having a look.

Email the author at lynettestyles3@gmail.com to order a copy.

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