About Belfield Bowling and Recreation Club

The Belfield Bowling and Recreation Club owes its origin to the Rudd Park Improvement Committee because it was at a~ meeting of that body that a suggestion was made to form a Bowling Club to provide bowling facilities for the residents of the district and at the same time to improve the park.

The site offered by the Canterbury Council was abandoned as it was too small to afford an avenue for future expansion. As interest in the formation of a Bowing Club had been aroused. A number of preliminary meetings were held and provisional officers were elected. These meetings were held in Ray Poulton’s Barber Shop in Burwood Road, Belfield. The Company was incorporated on March 4, 1949 and officers were confirmed in office. An option was taken on the land — at that time free of all encumbrances — on which the present Clubhouse and greens are situated. The first General Meeting of the Company was held in Grogan’s Ice Cream Factory (White’s Comer) Enfield. The Company then proceeded to raise funds for the erection of a Clubhouse and two greens. A loan was arranged through the Bank of New South Wales, Campsie, which was guaranteed by ten of the foundation members. Debentures amounting to $8,000 were made available to members and these were readily taken up. Construction of the Clubhouse and two greens was commenced early in 1950. Building Control was in operation at the time and materials were “scrounged” from any available source. The Committee by reason of this control was limited to the construction of a very modest structure. The Clubhouse was sufficiently advanced to allow the first Annual Report and Balance Sheet to be presented on Monday, July 24, 1950. The first green (which is now known as No. 3) was opened for play on December 9, 1950. In that year the Club entered two teams in the No. 5 Pennants. Those teams were coached by the late Harold Hudson who had been a State player.

The second green was completed in March, 1951 and the Club was officially opened on April 14, 1951 by Mr G. S. Carson, President of the R.N.S.W.B.A. So, although we are now celebrating the Club’s 25th Birthday, it will be seen that a considerable amount of energy and hard work had gone into the venture for almost three years prior to the Official Opening. During the early years liquor supplies were difficult to obtain but loyal members were content to partake of whatever beverages could be purchased by the Committee. These included beers from Lithgow, Mudgee. Branxton, Grafton, Brookvale and Richmond (Victoria) breweries and any other amber liquid obtainable from any source whatever. A Liquor Licence was granted to the Club in April, 1955 and a supply of Tooheys beer arrived in time for Easter, much to the delight of members. Difficulty was experienced in obtaining Tooth’s beers and it was several years before Resch’s beer became available. During the construction of the Clubhouse, which was carried out mainly by voluntary labour, a Ladies Committee was formed and provided meals and refreshments for all members engaged on the building. These ladies carried on and became the Catering Committee of the Club.

A Ladies Bowling Club was formed and play was commenced in 1951. The Ladies Club has gone from success to success over the years and is now a very important segment of the Club’s activities. Their greatest distinction came when their Foundation President. Mrs Esme Dries, was elevated to the highest honour that can be bestowed on lady bowlers. Esme was elected President of the New South Wales Women’s Bowling Association, Due to the buoyant financial position of the Club, the Ladies were relieved of catering responsibilities in 1958.

Great interest was shown in the bowling activities of the Club in those early years. Our first All Day Tournament was held in 1955 with 28 teams. For later All Day Tournaments it became necessary to ballot teams out due to heavy bookings. Very successful Friend’s Days were run each month, in most cases two greens being filled. The first Anzac Day was held by the Club on Anzac Day 1951. That day was organised by ‘the late Harold Hudson, who was The Club’s first major bowling achievement came in 1954 when Ernie Davis won the initial Sydenham/Bankstown Singles Championship this being a Club nomination, not an individual entry.

The year 1958 was undoubtedly the star-studded year for the Club from the bowling point of view. In that year the Club won the No. 3 Metropolitan Pennants and were runners up in the No. 5 Pennants. In that year also, the Club was one of the three teams that played off in the final of the Vice President’s Two, Fours competition and finished in third place in the Fred Harris Ambulance Trophy. (A team representing the Club won the Fred Harris Ambulance Trophy in 1967).

The Limbless Soldiers were invited to make Belfield their home Club and on March 11, 1963 they held their 6th Interstate Bowling Carnival on our greens, the Club being honoured by the presence of His Excellency Lt. General Sir Eric Woodward, K.C.M.G., C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., K.St.J.. Governor of New South Wales, who officially opened the Carnival. Other Interstate Carnivals have been held. The Limbless Soldiers continue to be part of our Club.

The Club has continued to prosper under successive Presidents, Executives and Committees. A property and Development Committee was formed with a view to purchasing alternative sites for the erection of a new Clubhouse and greens because of the threatened resumption of the major portion of the Club’s property for the construction of a County Road.

Much time was spent in discussions, drawing of plans and conferences with the Department of Main Roads. However, it became apparent that no satisfactory settlement could be made with the Department and the General Committee in 1970 decided to carry out extensive alterations and improvements to the existing Clubhouse. For future expansion four neighbouring houses have been purchased. One has since been levelled to provide further parking space.

From a humble beginning the Club has steadily grown to its present position laid mainly by hard work and voluntary effort. And it is hoped that present and future members will continue to enjoy for many years to come the amenities and friendship that have been cemented by the club during its twenty-five years of operation.

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Please contact the Club | (02) 9642 2346