It was in the year of 1889 that the Station Master of Bowral Railway, Mr Copeland Bennett, had the foresight to see the need for a Bowling Club in Bowral. After the first meeting on 6th March 1889 it was decided to form a committee with Mr Thomas Cope (Nurseryman) offering an acre of land adjoining his nursery to build the first Bowling Club. This land was on the corner of Rose and Jasmine Streets, Bowral.
For some unknown reason nothing eventuated from this first meeting. In fact nothing happened for a further twenty years. There are no records to explain why the Bowling Club did not go ahead following this first meeting.
In July 1912 another meeting was called to take into consideration the advisability of putting down a green in Corbett Garden. Mrs A S Corbett and the Trustees of Corbett gardens had promised their support.
The foundation members were charged a subscription of two guineas. These members canvassed the town for additional financial support to enable the greens to be laid. All the labour was volunteered and only pick and shovel were available with no mechanical machines to help in those days. Keeping the greens alive was a major problem as all watering was done with watering cans.
Then came the question of a Clubhouse. Mr Alfred Stephens Snr offered to erect a 20ft Clubhouse at cost. This Clubhouse was officially opened on 17th August, 1914.
As the Membership kept growing the Clubhouse needed to be extended and another three rinks were added to make a total of six. These extensions were opened in 1928.
Over the years the problem of space became quite a problem with Membership increasing rapidly. The Club approached the Council to expand the greens in Corbett Gardens but this was refused. The Council then offered land in Stephens paddock with the Council putting down two greens. The land for the Clubhouse was bought and the building built and financed by the Club with enough room for a carpark.
On the 6th October 1956 the new Clubhouse and Greens were opened by General Sir John Northcott, K.C.M.G., K.C.V.O,. C.B. The third green was laid in 1959 to keep pace with the increasing membership and is enjoyed to this day.
During this time the Ladies Auxiliary was formed and functioned for many years attending to the catering needs of the Club and its social activities. On occasions the ladies were invited to a social game of Bowls. Their keenness and interest in the sport led to them being admitted to Associate Membership of the Club in 1939.
Receiving encouragement and guidance from the Executives of the Men’s Club, a special meeting was convened for the purpose of forming a Ladies Bowling Club on 1st November 1939.
Twelve ladies became foundation members. Officers were nominated and elected, the Club named “Bowral Ladies Bowling Club” and rules governing its activities adopted.
2014 marked the 75th Anniversary of the Bowral Ladies Bowling Club and 100 years of lawn bowls at the Bowral Bowling Club.
A book recounting the Club’s history – written by member Yvonne Chapman – was launched at a Centenary dinner and is available for purchase from the Club.