Paynesville BC 50th anniversary
Their first clubhouse was a wooden box.
Paynesville Bowling Club in Victoria’s Gippsland region has come a long way since those humble beginnings, preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary in September 2016.
From 53 foundation members and starting life with club facilities housed in an 8×4 metre wooden box, the club is now a thriving and well-respected organisation within the Paynesville community.
It has 195 members and all-year bowling available for members and visitors from other clubs.
Paynesville is situated on the beautiful Gippsland Lakes, 16 kilometres from Bairnsdale.
The club’s origins date back to May 1964 when a meeting of the Paynesville Progress Association formed a subcommittee to examine the feasibility of establishing a bowling club in the town. The subcommittee comprised Ossie Mathews, Alf Bishop and Paddy Robinson.
The club formally came into existence at a meeting on 16 February 1965. The inaugural committee comprised Harold Hotchkin (president), Councillor Dick Freeman (senior vice president), Ken Dyer (secretary/treasurer), Bert Hotchkin, Fred Stuart, Carl Ubergang, Richie Matherson, Athol Cox and Paddy Robinson.
The original proposed site at Gilsenan Reserve was rejected because the water table was too high. The present site at Ashley Street was then selected as it met all requirements and was vacant Bairnsdale Shire land.
The shire gave the club permission to occupy the site at a yearly rental of $10.
Key early milestones included:
· The forming of the Paynesville Bowling Club Cooperative on 22 November 1965 to obtain finance for the club (those who took out shares were paid 20 cents for each $2 share and were guaranteed the remaining $1.80)
· Calling of tenders in April 1966 for the laying of the Founders Green. The successful tenderer was Tom Baker and Son
· The appointment of Tom Taylor in June 1966 to oversee the laying of the green
· Completion of the work in December 1966
· The first game of organised bowls on 11 December 1966.
In its first years of operation, there was no dedicated club house so the nearby RSL Club rooms were used during tournaments and on special occasions.
So the actual club ‘facilities’ consisted of a wooden box, which housed both catering and playing equipment, a far cry from the club’s current excellent facilities.
The top half of one wall on the box was hinged so that folded down, it provided a table for the setting out of cups and saucers.
The first section of the current club rooms plus office, kitchen and retiring rooms was completed by Turner and Southon at a cost of $9000 in September 1968 and opened on 16 November that year by Mr Bruce Evans MLA. Subsequent extensions include a remodelled bar and kitchen, a barbecue area and a lounge, built with a donation from Harry Roy.
There have been other developments over the years to cater for an increasing number of members and demand for more facilities.
By March 1977 it became clear that a second green was required. Earth moving work started in January 1979 using a mix of volunteers and paid shire employees. The new Anderson green was opened by RVBA councillor Clyde Sykes on 20 April 1980.
The site was further expanded with a grant of extra land on which the car park now stands. In the late 1980s, the house and land to the north of the club house became vacant and were acquired for $53,000, with costs shared by the shire and the club 75% and 25% respectively.
When the house became vacant in 1992, the shire agreed to the construction of a third green. The all-weather synthetic green was completed in April 1993 and opened by then RVBA President, Mr Norm Klopp, on 9 May. The surface was subsequently replaced by a Pacific Dunlop Surface.
One of the club’s significant achievements was becoming sole owner of the property. Negotiations with the shire started in 1998 and 12 months later, the title was transferred to the club for $66,000.
The most recent development has been the replacement of the synthetic green by a new grass green, a decision made at an extraordinary meeting of the members on 23 February 2015.
Pro Turf was engaged to undertake the work, which started in March 2015; all being well the new green will be handed over for use from the start of the 2016/17 season.
Once the new green is available, the club will have even greater capacity for its year-round calendar of events – social, pennant, championships and corporate bowls.
A particular highlight is the annual Week of Bowls Carnival, which will celebrate its 18th year in 2017. Held in the third week of February, the Carnival generally attracts about 300 people from local, regional and interstate clubs.
They come to play bowls, enjoy the great East Gippsland weather and to catch up with the many bowling friends they have made over the years.
The Member for Gippsland, the Hon Tim Bull, will join the celebration and the opening of the club’s new grass green at the start of the season on Saturday 10 September. There will be a 50th anniversary dinner on Friday 9 September for members and guests.
If you are a former member of the Paynesville Bowling Club and want to attend the anniversary celebrations, please contact the club on email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Jeanette Temple, PO Box 103 Paynesville 3880.