MBRC’s Club History
The Mandurah Bowling Club was the first bowling club in Mandurah. At a public meeting in Mandurah in 1952, it was decided to establish a bowling club for residents and visitors. The site chosen was reclaimed land at the corner of Peel Street and Mandurah Terrace. The site needed filling with sand and levelling. When the task of establishing the greens became too much for volunteer labour, the Commissioner of the Mandurah Road Board, Mr Rushton, agreed to help. Loam was spread on top of the sand, grass was planted and the area was fenced with cyclone wire.
At a meeting in 1956, the President, Mr N.F. Haynes, suggested to the committee that 3 or 4 active bowlers be appointed to draw up a set of by-laws for the club. Also seats, pegs, and scoreboards were erected by club members. Then, in 1957, a shed was built by the Road Board and power was connected from a nearby power pole. Funds were raised by Bridge evenings, dances and loans by Foundation members. Ladies formed their own club in November 1957. The official opening of the Mandurah Bowling Club was on 15th December 1957.
Interview with Kath Clarke – October 2006
Kath started playing bowls in 1956 down at the green that had been prepared on the corner of Peel Street and Mandurah Terrace. She was busy bringing up her family before that time. The land had to be reclaimed by filling the area with sand because it was low-lying ground that was covered with water in winter.
There was one green and a shed there. The men and ladies played mixed bowls because there were not enough people playing to have separate games. On showing Kath the photograph of the early club, Kath said that the ladies had to wear stockings and that the ankle socks shown on the ladies in the photo would have been worn over the stockings. She wore white stockings which were part of the uniform for pennants. That was where the nickname for lady bowlers, ‘white leghorns’ came from. Some ladies wore fawn stockings for social bowls.
Kath said that her husband, Mr Loading, and ‘the chappie in charge of the “Pen”‘, ran a competition to see who was the most popular man in Mandurah. This was to raise enough money to buy the piano which is now in our Bowling Club. Once the piano had been purchased, the committee was able to run old-time dances in the hall at the “new” bowling club at Allnutt Street to raise money. A member, Mrs Dunkerton, had a bowling rink at her house and some of the ladies went out to her house to learn to play bowls. Then, six months after Kath joined, the club moved up to Allnutt Street and bowls were played at the “new” club.
When the second green was put down at Allnutt Street, the ladies were asked to weed the green. They had to get down on their hands and knees to do this work and were badly bitten by midgies and mosquitoes!
Interview with Dave Watson – March 2007
In 1952 a public meeting was called to form a bowling club in Mandurah. Before that time, the nearest bowling club was the Pinjarra Bowling Club. So the Mandurah Bowling Club was formed in 1952, even though there were no greens to play on until 1957.
The site chosen for the green was the corner of Peel Street and Mandurah Terrace. This site was on the edge of a swampy creek that led from Ormsby Terrace to the estuary draining into Administration bay. One green and a shed were built after the Road Board had filled the site with sand and helped to level the area and plant the grass. Electricity for the shed was obtained from the green keeper’s electricity pole. The club was opened by patron Ross McLarty on December 15th 1957.
There was a “mixed bowls” (men and women) and separate men’s and women’s games. The club catered for visitors and holiday-makers as well as local club members. Clarrie Carter helped with coaching new members. Most of the members were young married couples who helped with finances by guaranteeing loans to cover the initial expenses.
Later, when the greens were established at Allnutt Street, the Peel Street green became basketball courts with lights for night games. Frank Digney and Jack Timbrell were two of the people who helped to get the club started at Allnutt Street. The club moved to the Allnutt Street premises in 1959 and the official opening was held on December 6th with Sir Ross McLarty officiating. In 1958 there were steps taken to incorporate the club. This was achieved on June 8th, 1959.
Dave pointed out to me the name of the “Mandurah Club” set in the parquetry floor of the hall at our Allnutt Street premises. He said that Len Loaring paid to have this laid when the clubhouse was built. It can still be seen in the wooden floor. The Old Time dances were very popular and helped to raise funds for the club.
The Road Board engineer, Robbie Fletcher, helped to get the greens established. The first green keeper at the Mandurah club was Harry Sweetman. The Mandurah Road Board paid for his first 12 months’ work. The Road Board Health Inspector, Bob McCaddam, was the first voluntary secretary. Bill Howell was the first barman – later to be appointed manager.