The following History of the Club was prepared for the Club's Centenary celebrations in 1905. Since then more has happened and will be added in time.Please note that references to time and current events were in relation to that period. 

Enjoy our story.

Foundation Meeting:  The first official meeting of the Bundaberg Bowling Club was held on 8 February 1905. 

Elections were held and Mr. J. Fleming was elected foundation president. Other office bearers were;

Mr. W.M. Hickson, first Vice President,

Mr J.W. Anderson, second Vice President,

Mr. W. Wyper, Treasurer.


Committee members elected Messrs.  W.F. Marshall, F.H. Faircloth, P.E. Turner.

Trustees, Messrs. Jas Hamilton and J. Wyper

Other known foundation members were,         A. Alford, T.W. Evans, J. Gutrie, J. Rae,      R.J. Campbell, George Buss (Snr), J. Black,  W.A. Maughan, and Garnet L. Buss.  

Mr Garnett Buss may well hold the honour for the longest membership of over 50 years. There may have been other members, but the available records do not show their names.


Finances. Five members assumed financial responsibility as guarantors. They each pledged 25 pounds in the form of promissory notes. The bank advanced an overdraft for establishment expenses.


Membership. An early policy of the Club was that only men in trade and industry were invited to the membership. How long this rule lasted is not known, but it certainly was not adhered to for long. It probably only referred to the foundation membership. However over the years the stigma of exclusivity has persisted.


Bowling green and clubhouse. The new club applied for and was granted leasehold land adjoining the Burnett Traffic Bridge on the beautiful riverbank.  There is some confusion about the building of the bowling green. Some accounts mention Mr. John Rae, foreman of the Gooburrum Shire Council, other stories tell that Mr. James Cullen, Harbour Board foreman and first engineer on the dredge Ceratodus was responsible for the laying of the green. Whoever did the job, it was well done as our foundation green is still in use after one hundred years. The date for the building of a half green is not recorded. This half green was situated along Quay Street in the little park where the statue of Bert Hinkler now stands. The original clubhouse stood near the Traffic Bridge and was built by Mr. John Guthrie at a cost of 42 pounds. This clubhouse was probably also used as an equipment storage shed. It measured 8.5 m long by 3 m wide. (28 x 10 feet)

 Opening day. The big day for all the hard work that was put into the building of the Club and green was celebrated on l0 November 1906. The ceremony was performed by Hon. Angus Gibson, M.L.C.

The first (official) bowl was rolled by Mr. T.W. Bouchard, then State Champion and

President of the South Brisbane Bowls Club. The green had been in use since September  1906.

The first green keeper was Bob McKinlay. He held the job for many years.

Mr. McKinlay became a very widely renowned pipe major of Bundaberg's famous

Caledonian Pipe Band.


A new clubhouse. The original clubhouse was replaced in 1923 by what was called a new pavilion . The opening took place 24 November 1923, 17 years after the opening of the first clubhouse.


Our present clubhouse. Mr. Stan Lohse erected the building we presently occupy. This building was opened in 1971 by Mr. Jim McCracken, Queensland and Australian bowls President.

The old "pavilion” was sold to the Bundaberg Sailing Club and it was used to form a second story for their club house next to the Rowers Club on the other end of Quay Street. When the Sailing Club moved to Burnett Heads this building was sold and is presently the "Spinnaker Restaurant."

In 1925 lights were installed over the foundation green. Twelve lights were suspended from three sets of poles across the green. These lights were removed in the early or mid-eighties.


The Ladies. One of the more important events in the whole history of the Bundaberg

Bowls Club was the formation of a Ladies Club. The club was formed on 2 October

1941. Mrs. W.A. Shield was the first president. The Ladies Club is a totally independent organization. Their tireless support has been invaluable.

After the formation the ladies commenced playing on Friday l0 October 1941. The

Ladies could only play on the small green!

Apart from the support given by the ladies to the men's club, they also organized functions for the Red Cross during the war and they helped many other charities over the years.

The Red Cross fund raising bowls days were mixed days, something virtually unheard of in those days.


The Sidewinders. Sidewinders are the social arm of the bowls club. They formed in 1979 with the object of introducing bowls to beginners. Sidewinders have indeed brought many bowlers to our club.

Sidewinders play every second Sunday morning and everyone is welcome.


The greens. As mentioned the foundation green was built by James Cullen and / or

John Rae. James Cullen was the harbour Board engineer and he was only just down the road from the new bowls club where Bundaberg harbour was at the time. John Rae as foreman of the Gooburrum Shire Council would have had the "tools" to build the green. It was probably scooped out by horse and dredge. This original green has never been rebuilt. It was scarified when the couch grass was replaced with the tiff dwarf variety in 1976. Under this green is a layer of cinders. James Fleming, the first president was the manager of the gas works and the cinders no doubt would have come from the gas works.

In 1950 a second green was constructed and opened. The Samson green, named after the then President of the club. Mr. Samson was manager of Bundaberg Rum, one of our sponsors. Some "trading” with the lease must have taken place because the half green was surrendered to make way for the little park.

The good news was that the ladies now were allowed to play on the full greens. The couch grass on the second green was also replaced in 1979.


Early Fame. Arthur Maughan no doubt must be classed as the best bowler the Bundaberg Bowls Club ever produced. Some of his achievements are 20 times club single's champion, a feat probably unsurpassed in Queensland. He won the Australian pairs championship with Bert Palm in 1949. Jim McCracken and Col Crossley from Tantitha were runners up.

Maughan was a state player for many years and when he stepped down Bert Palm took over from him in the state side.

Palm and Maughan represented Australia in the pair’s championships of the Empire Games of 1950 in Auckland and the next year they won the world championship pairs in Sydney.

Other noted bowlers were William Wyper and Reg Goodwin. They represented Queensland for several years. Hugh Rankin (son in law of Arthur Maughan) gained state selection. Bert Palm skipped a combined Bundaberg team to win the Queensland open fours title in 1961. Members of this team were Bert Palm (then Bargara Club), Col Leask, Dud Carey (both Bundaberg Club) and Perc Gray from the Burnett Bowls Club.

Palm and Leask won several State and Country titles and represented Queensland on numerous occasions.


Bowls Administration. The Royal Queensland Bowling Association (now Bowls

Queensland) was formed in 1904. The Bundaberg Club did not join this association till some time later, probably in 1907 or 1908.

Bowls on a district basis was administered after World War I by the Wide Bay and Burnett Association. In 193l the Bundaberg District Bowling Association was formed. Just recently Bowls Queensland reorganized the district and now we belong to the Bundaberg-Port Curtis District.


Friends in Bowls. No doubt friendship and good fellowship exists throughout the bowling world. It goes well beyond the boundary fence of the club. Maryborough has two bowls clubs over 100 years old. The rivalry between the two cities had to be tested on the bowling green. For many years the Bundaberg Bowls Club played the Maryborough Bowls Club for the ashes. No one is sure when it started, but these challenge matches were played from 1921 on.

Players used to travel to Maryborough by rail motor. Who would be able to describe the return jorney !

The last time the two clubs met is about three years ago. Just for the record, it is Maryborough's tum to come to Bundaberg to face the music.

Bundaberg has always been a sports loving city. Our oldest sports club would be the Bundaberg Rowing Club started in 1888. Another centenarian is the Bundaberg Croquet Club situated in Alexandra Park. It was formed in 1900. It seems that the clubs surviving 100 years are situated on the river bank!

Cricket was played in 1872, but no club survived from that era. The Bundaberg rugby league started in 1913, but matches between Maryborough and Bundaberg were played well before that date. Hockey started in the early 1920's with the Rovers Club forming in 1929.

Soccer was played as early as 1896 when a Millaquin team was defeated by Torbanlea. The sport was played on and off but was officially organized in 1923.


Patriarchs. An active bowler reaching the age of 90 is awarded patriarch status.

Our club has at present two patriarchs namely W (Bill) Galletly and Colin Manderson.

Other bowlers from our club that reached this stage were Albert Gaten, Cecil Tesch,

Sam Miller, Stan Cairns, Jim Harris and Henry Kronk. Henry Kronk always an optimist, acquired a new set of bowls at the age of 95!



This presentation and brief outline of the club's history has been compiled and printed by John Wientjens.  John acted as secretary and treasurer of the Centenary Committee and has been dedicated to ensure the total success of our centenary celebrations.

On behalf of the committee and of the Bundaberg Bowls Club, our sincere thanks for your dedication and professionalism in organizing this fine memento and the celebrations worthy of our great club.

C.F. Simpson, President 2005.