Collie Bowling Club hits 100 years

The first three rinks to operate in Collie were in 1918, near the Club Hotel.

The membership was small and the project was largely funded by Mrs McGilvray, who is believed to have been the land holder.

By popular demand a new site, located in Wittenoom Street, was leased from the council and with a membership of 42 the Collie Bowling Club flourished.

The old club: The Collie Bowling Club premises at Wittenoom Street in 1918. Photo: supplied.

The old club: The Collie Bowling Club premises at Wittenoom Street in 1918. Photo: supplied.

In the 50s, they formed a working committee under the astute leadership of Sid Cooper to look at the feasibility of relocating the club. Amid a lot of criticism the present site was selected. This site was the home to the shire dump, shire depot and to add to the woes of the critics, it was also a swamp.

Unperturbed and working with the council of the day, the committee drew up plans for a new bowling complex. Sid Cooper being superintendent of the biggest mining company in Collie, Amalgamated Colliers, was a very forceful and influential man to be at the helm of the project. The site was filled in.

Club member, Ted Hebb, who operated saw mills in the district, supplied the timber free of cost. Local building contractor Bill Palmer was contracted to build the club rooms at a price that astounded the members, and it was all systems go. The club house was built and a regulation green established, membership grew and soon a second green was needed.

The club was opened on Easter 1959 by His Excellency the Governor Sir Charles Gardiner with Don McLeod president and board chairman N.S. Coote.

Setbacks were soon to affect the club with retrenchments in 1961 saw a lot of members leave town to search for work and in 1964 floods saw the club house flooded to a depth of four feet, and all records were lost and furniture damaged.

As the demand for coal increased the town started to prosper and the membership increased and numbers topped 300.

Extensions and alterations were made to the clubhouse and a third green put in. The asbestos roof was replaced, the water damaged ceiling replaced by a suspended one and today with 100 men and 60 ladies members, the Collie Bowling Club was once again flourishing.

In 1962 further renovation were made and the building was widened out and the glass frontage was added. 

In 1970 the third green was established and the Easter Carnival was introduced. The Easter Carnival became popular bringing in 200 visiting bowlers to town.

In 1987 the club, under president Ted McCormack and Dave Armstrong, who was also the Westpac Bank manager, did further extensions to the bar, men’s change rooms and toilets through a bank loan.

Proud history: The current Collie Bowling Club. Photo: supplied.

Proud history: The current Collie Bowling Club. Photo: supplied.

In 2003 the asbestos roof was replaced with Colorbond by builder Remo Bernardi and assisted by a grant from Lotterywest. A new evaporative air conditioner was also installed.

With ongoing problems of maintenance and manual costs associated, the then president Tom Edwards and committee decided to apply for a grant with Sport and Recreation to help with the laying of two synthetic greens in 2005. The original submission rejected and the club reapplied with the assistance of Mick Murray and Bob Kucera, members of parliament, and in April 2006 was eventually successful.

The grant included for drainage of ground water from the nearby recreation ground which could have harmed the greens. With a self funded loan through the Collie Shire the project was completed in November 2006. The voluntary labour by club members was valued in excess of $60,000.00 based at $20.00 per man hour.

Barbara and Tom Wood, farmers on the Harris River and members of this club who were prominent in our application for the Sports and Recreation grant, were also successful in receiving a grant from the Federal Water Authority. This was made through water conservation by not having to water the greens anymore.

The club has also undertaken a newspaper recycling scheme organised by Tom Edwards and his band of volunteers, which now has a bank balance and help fund the greens. This scheme helped Collie Bowling Club and the town win the Most Tidy Town In Australia award in 2006.

As the club has progressed the club brickwork rendered and the windows changed on the bar area and the windows changed in the hall, the wooden floor varnished. Colorbond underneath the windows to make the club frontage a better looking frontage.

The  work done by White Building Co and with a grant from Sports Development and the labour from Frank Bernardi, Hans Wiggers and Tom Edwards. This was overseen by Vicki Daniel our treasurer and president Jim McElroy for 2018.

Over the years the club pennant players have won grand finals in first division and fourth division men on Tuesdays and Saturdays and got to the Preliminary finals.

Last season the men in Tuesday Pennants went to the preliminary finals in Division 1 and 2 and were close on Saturdays.

Tuesday Pennants: Div. 4 2018 grand final winners G. Saggers, P. Kaurin, J. Godfrey, I. Bushell; I. Corley (skip), J. Stone, B. Lowe, K. Richards (skip). Photo: supplied.

Tuesday Pennants: Div. 4 2018 grand final winners G. Saggers, P. Kaurin, J. Godfrey, I. Bushell; I. Corley (skip), J. Stone, B. Lowe, K. Richards (skip). Photo: supplied.

Tuesday Pennants in first, second, third and fourth made the preliminary and the fourth division won the grand final two years in a row.

The ladies made the preliminary finals but lost by two shots.

Ross White with Gordon Twist (Eaton) won the state pairs in 2014/15.

Gary Keep won the state over 60 singles in Perth 2017/18 and reached the last eight in the state singles.

The ladies won the South West League triples and it has been a long time between wins.

We have numerous winners over the years and those named above are just a few of them. Our club has performed well over the years.