Keilor Bowls Club History


A committee calling themselves “The Keilor Recreation Reserve Development Committee” first suggested the formation of a bowls club in the 1950’s.

 Many of the interested citizens used to meet at the Keilor Hotel. At that time there was a six o’clock closing regime and thoughts were given as to where they could legally drink after six pm by means of a licensed club.

 This committee was made up of Keilor residents and was formed soon after the second world war. Prior to this committee, there was “The Keilor Sports Club” which raised a lot of money for charity. They organised the Keilor Gift for foot running, cycling races and wood-chopping events. Anyone could join in the impromptu meetings, which were held at the hotel, by a small group of people promoting the improvements of the Keilor sports ground.

 The group decided to raise money for the enhancement of the sports ground and the children’s hospital with the support of the Essendon Lions Club and the Keilor Red Cross ladies’ auxilliary. A monster barbecue and fun day was organised. It proved to be the largest barbecue ever held in Keilor.

 Foundation President Gil Cornish organised a large semi-trailer from Ansett Freight Express to be used as a stage, together with a covered pantechnicon to be used for dressing rooms. A number of artists were hired and three forty-four gallon drums were cut length-ways and fitted with steel plates to be used as barbecues. Over nine hundred people attended on the day and over £1,000 was raised. A lot of money in those days!

 The beneficiaries were the Children’s Hospital, Keilor Ladies’ Red Cross Auxilliary, Essendon Lions and the group for the sports ground.

 During discussions at the Keilor Hotel, the men next forged the suggestion of a Lawn Bowls Club in Keilor. However, it did not create great interest as none of the group had bowled before, except for Bryan Birmingham.

 Eventually, after a lot of discussion over a year or so, the group asked Gil Cornish to find out what was necessary to start a lawn bowls club. John Dobbie, the then secretary of the RVBA, was contacted and he advised that the RVBA was currently considering the development of a club in the north-western region of Melbourne and they would be only too willing to help.

 Bill Lowe, RVBA Greens Director, was sent to give advice and help in the setting up of the new club. He was most impressed with the enthusiasm that was apparent. Thus, several meetings were held at Gil’s home and enough information was gained to plan the formation of the Keilor Bowls Club.

 Since the formation of our men’s and ladies’ sections, we have had twenty-five male Presidents and twenty-four lady Presidents, thirteen male Secretaries and ten lady Secretaries, also eleven men Treasurers and nine lady Treasurers. It’s interesting to note that, between the years 1963 and 1993, the ladies’ section had just two treasurers in that period of thirty years. (go and have a look on the board!) All this came to an end in 2011-12 when the men’s and ladies’ sections were rolled into one to become what is now called the Bowls Section Committee.

 Amongst our many achievements over the years, the men’s section won their first white pennant flag in 1978-79, two of those members, Ken Hatty and Lew Dobson recently attended the 50th anniversary celebrations of the club. The ladies’ section won their first white pennant flag in 1987-88 six of these ladies, Dot McLarty, Ruth Hatty, Dawn Calthorpe, Doreen Collins, Joan Pemberthy And Carol Dobson, recently attended the 50th anniversary celebrations of the club. Also, in 1991-92, all six sides in the men’s pennant won their sections and two of those sides, the top and fifth sides, went on to win division flags.

 In 1985 the club was incorporated and we added the “INC.” to the Keilor Bowls Club.

 In 1996-97 a board of management was formed as the club was moving from being just a Bowls Club to being a successful, non-profit-making business as well. Since the formation of this board, it has been served by four Chairpersons, six Secretaries and six Treasurers over its eighteen year tenure. The inaugural Chairperson of this committee, Mr Geoff Pearce, was also able to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations of the club

 The club has achieved much, on and off the green, in the Keilor and surrounding areas over the past fifty years to the benefit of the community generally

and those with specific interest in healthy outdoor pursuits. It is planned to continue to be a major sporting body into the future for the community.