Shorten v Grafton District Golf Club

Shorten v Grafton District Golf Club



Court of Appeal of NSW – 23 March 2000


Shorten, a 13 year old boy, was playing golf at the Club’s golf course. During a game Shorten went to retrieve a ball which had landed in the rough. Shorten noticed that a mob of kangaroos were feeding in the grass where the ball had landed but as he had never had any difficulty with kangaroos he did not hesitate to enter the rough to retrieve the ball. Shorten was attacked by a large eastern grey kangaroo and suffered injuries.

The evidence presented to the Court showed that the Club was aware of the risk of kangaroos attacking persons playing on the golf course and that four golfers had previously been attacked on the golf course. In fact the Club has even obtained permission to cull aggressive kangaroos in the past. After the attack on Shorten a warning message was added to the score card used by golfers on the course. Shorten sued the Club for negligence.

The trial judge found that while the Club had owed a duty of care to Shorten it had not breached that duty. Shorten appealed to the Court of Appeal


  1. Did the Club’s duty of care include an obligation to provide golfers with an adequate warning of the risk of attack by a kangaroo?
  2. What standard of care was expected of the Club to prevent harm to golfers from aggressive kangaroos?


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