THE STORY SO FAR
The formation of the Southport Bowls Club – the
oldest Bowls club on the Gold Coast – took place in August 1914, when ten
enthusiasts attended a meeting convened by the Southport Chamber of Commerce
and unanimously decided to establish a Bowls Club at Queens Park.
The head teacher of The Southport State School
(Mr W.B.Greer) was elected President and the Secretary of the Chamber of
Commerce (Mr Stanley Earl) although he was not a bowler, accepted the position
of Secretary. Other foundation members
included: Willam Napper, Bill Adkins, Ralph Johnston and Jack Skelton.
All were to make their name in bowls and many other civic activities and to continue and build further family dynasties, which have played a part in the development of Southport as it is today.
The first green built was the Top Green (closest to Scarborough St) and the methods used in building were strictly “agricultural” to say the least.
Mr H Moore, who appears to have been our first greenkeep and possibly a foundation member, used horse drawn scoops and harrows to complete the work. When grass did appear, it was kept in trim by the laborious method of used hand swung scythe. Good to see that techniques have improved to where we are today.
There was no town water supply and the new
green depended on drawn water, until a well was sunk in the location of where
our middle green is today. A windmill was used to pump it to an overhead tank
from where it was gravity fed onto the green.
When a second green became a necessity, the
costs and difficulties of construction had increased and it was built in two stages.
Four rinks were opened for play in 1932 while to more were further added
in 1935 and the 7th and last rink on 1939.
Our bottom green (closest to Marine Parade) was
built at a cost of $2800.00 and was opened in 1951, giving the club 21 rinks in
The 1st clubhouse was a lean-to
building at the northern end of the top green which today now stands as our
green keepers shed.
Finance in the early days of the club was a problem, supply had been affected by the War in early years and in the years to follow.
A novel way our early members overcame this,
was to hold competitions with the losers having the privilege of buying equipment
such as mats and jacks. It is fair to
say that standard improved over the years to avoid such a donation.
The 2nd Clubhouse, which is at the southern end of our top green, was built in 1924 at a cost of “$400.00. As of 2018 today this is where “The Pavilion” BBQ Area and entertainment area where good bowls and good company is shared just as it was in the early years of the club.
Over the course of our journey as a bowls club
in the Southport community, many friendships have been built.
It would be a fair argument to suggest that one
of our strongest relationships has been formed with another bowls club:
Sandgate bowls club, that also was founded in 1914.
Annual events are held every year between club to celebrate the game of bowls, friendship and the unique event that we were both founded back in 1914.
The earliest score that can be located is when Southport visited Sandgate on Saturday 13 September 1919 - the journeying there by motor launch and train.
Records show that unfortunately for Southport, Sandgate won – 110 to 74 – winning three rinks to one.
May the bowls battles are friendships continue to flourish in years to come.
As we move in the early stages of our 2nd century as a bowls club, there will be new challenges to face but also exciting opportunities that present themselves now and in the future.
The new tram line system “GLINK” which was opened in 2014, it provides great access to visit
our club or Southport.
Our club membership continues to grow in both
playing members and social which is a great indication of our family friendly
There is annual and ongoing strong
participation in all forms of competition around Queensland in pennant and the recently
formed and popular Premier 7’s format.
The Pan Pacific Master Games is held on the
Gold Coast on a bi-annual basis and all lawn bowls events and are hosted and
coordinated by Southport Bowls Club
Over the course of 2017, our club hosted over 3500 barefoot bowlers, a great and fun very social introduction to anyone that has not played our great game
It’s fair to say that over the long and great journey of our bowls club, that everyone has been the winner through some form.