Williamstown Bowling Club, Victoria

There are three generations of scoreboards at the Williamstown Bowling Club: there are the  metallic ‘flip-over’ scoreboards from about 40 years ago…

… there are the plastic flip-over scoreboards that previously belonged to the neighbouring ladies bowling club…

…and then there are the more modern plastic-wheel scoreboards, installed about 15 years ago.

The Williamstown Bowling Club is one of the oldest bowling clubs in Victoria.  It was founded at the Williamstown Mechanics Institute on the 9th June 1880, a month before the Victorian Bowling Association was established.

Williamstown’s first club match was at Carlton in February 1881. The players ‘removed their coats, but not their hats, and put on slippers’.

The club formed a three rink green on land adjoining the Mechanics Institute and erected its first pavilion in 1883.

Opening day 1883. Photo courtesy of Williamstown Bowling Club.

In 1888 a new green of eight rinks and a two room veranda pavilion was opened in its present location in what is now Dennis Reserve (named after former member Jack Dennis).

Opening Day 1925. Photo courtesy of Williamstown Bowling Club

Over the years the clubhouse had various alterations and extensions and was eventually demolished and the present clubhouse was opened in 1991.

The club’s membership was ‘exclusively male, over 21 years of age, until reduced to 18 years in 1978,’ notes a 1980 history of the club. ‘Ladies were never welcome on the premises except on the [annual]  hilarious Saturday afternoon opening ceremony. But in 1921 the Williamstown Ladies Bowling Club was formed, and ladies were given limited use of our green until formation of their own green and erection of their club-house [in 1931]. The relationship between the neighbouring clubs has been extremely harmonious ever since.’

In October 2009 the Williamstown Bowling Club merged with the Williamstown Ladies Bowling Club.

The club currently has 160 members, including 80 playing members. It fields four sides in Bowls Victoria’s Saturday Metropolitan Pennant and two sides in the Tuesday Metropolitan Pennant. The club is located in Dennis Reserve.

Social game, Sunday morning, September 2012

Sources: Jeff Newton, honorary secretary, Williamstown Bowling Club and
Centenary History of the Williamstown Bowling Club by Arch Fowler, 1980
Photo by Hannah Maskell

Photo by Hannah Maskell

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