History – Pakenham Bowls Club
1954 – The Beginning
The first known activity of what was to be known as the Pakenham Bowls Club, was when a group of nine men met in 1950 to discuss forming a club. That resulted in a steering committee led by Mr J Crawford. It was almost 4 years later that the first meeting of the club took place on 19th October 1954. Membership totalled 14, and after discussion with council, the present site was selected. Subscriptions were 5 pounds 5 shillings for men, and 2 pounds 2 shillings for ladies.
Preparatory work started in 1955 and continued into the early part of 1956. The green was sown on Anzac Day 1956. All was accomplished by working bees. That green was almost lost, due to lack of water. It was saved by pumping water from the near-by creek, and spreading the water with a light wooden grader. At this stage, membership had grown to 26, and 880 pounds had been raised by selling 10 pound debentures.
1957 – Official Opening
The bowling green was officially opened by the then shire President, Cr S Thewlis, on 14th December 1957. The club did not have a clubhouse, so the opening ceremony was conducted in a borrowed marquee.
With the green up and running, all voluntary labour was directed to building a clubhouse. This was completed, and furnished, toward the end of 1958. That year also saw the clubs first champions, in Mr D Williamson winning the men’s, and Mrs Trew winning the ladies.
1960 – Further Developments
The club grew in 1960/61 with membership swelling to 43. More working bees saw concrete banks poured and the surrounds taking shape. This year also saw the ladies take out the A Grade pennant flag.
1976 – The Choice
Work continued at the club over the next several years until, in 1976, the members were asked to make a choice, either extend the clubhouse and apply for a license, or to build a second green.
With the growing popularity of the sport, and also the membership being at 61, it was decided to build another green. This green was opened on 19th February 1978.
By the end of the 1978/79 season there were 74 men and 50 lady members. It was also decided to name the greens after two of the clubs hardest workers, ‘T.J Crowley’ and ‘J.R Banks’.
1980 – Extending, Licencing and Incorporating
In 1980 the club was extended and granted a full liquor license in 1981. In 1984 the club was incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act. During this period it is worth noting, that in addition to funding their own projects, the club also donated over $15000 to local and State charities.
1986 – New Clubhouse
In 1986 it was decided to build a more modern clubhouse. This was achieved with the help of the Shire who acted as borrower on behalf of the club. So, with a loan of $250,000 over 10 years an Andrews Foundation Grant of $200,000 and $120,00 from club reserves the clubhouse you now see was built.
It was started in September 1988 and completed in April 1989, with a final cost of $560,000. Much of the new furniture and fittings were donated by club members.
Volunteers and Fundraising
All work and functions are carried out by volunteers of the club. This includes the catering, bar staff, work around the greens and all maintenance.
The club did very well during the 1980’s and 90’s competing in the West Gippsland Bowls Association. They hosted many tournaments such as the Yakkerboo Fours Sponsored by the local Yakkerboo committee. There were many charity days including Legacy, Make a Wish and local sporting fund raisers.
2000 – Metropolitan
In 2000, the club was asked to join the Metropolitan League as The West Gippsland Association was about to fold. A meeting was held at the club, and the members decided it would be in our best interests to go Metropolitan considering the vast increase in Pakenhams population.
We entered at Division 3 level and promptly won our section gaining promotion to Division 2 in the next season. Several years were spent in Division 2 until 2011 when Pakenham Division 2 won the section and were promoted to Division 1 in the next season.
IMPROVEMENTS TO BOWLS CLUB – 2019, 2020 & 2021
Improvements in 2019 were new tills and five new umbrellas installed.
In 2020, the old clubhouse was removed, the carpark was finally bitumenised, new fencing on the car park side was installed, and sliding doors were fitted in mid-2020.
Following a visit to Deer Park Bowls Club in 2017, the idea was conceived to build a roof over one of the greens at Pakenham. During 2018 and 2019, considerable time was spent in planning and securing financial assistance through grants from all levels of government to enable this vision to become reality.
The build commenced in June/July 2020 and was scheduled to be completed in September 2020 but was held up due to Covid-19 restrictions. The build recommenced at the end of November and by mid-December the roof was completed.
A function was held at the Bowls Club on 20 January 2021 to officially “open” the new roof structure and was attended by Federal, State and Local Government dignitaries, Life Members of the Club, Greenline personnel, bowling officials and members from the Club.
New synthetic grass was laid around the greens and in the ditches in December 2020.
Further improvements for 2021 include new fencing on the Anderson Street side of the Bowls Club to be erected early in the year, as well as a new deck to be built coming out from the dining room area.
Even with Covid-19 restrictions in place for ten months in 2020 and therefore limited use of Club facilities during that time, and with some of the improvements mentioned above, the Club is still in a healthy financial situation as we begin 2021.