Our ClubAbout Us
Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club
The Rathmines Country Club was formed in 1966 when the residents applied to the Lake Macquarie Council for use of the RAAF Officers’ Mess building. The intention of the club was to provide a centre for all sport minded residents.
The group was quite successful in providing entertainment and social activities for the local residents. Because the club did not have a liquor licence all members and patrons brought their own drinks.
The Rathmines Bowling Club was affiliated with the Newcastle District Bowling Association in 1967.
On September 19, 1968 a meeting was held by interested ladies of this club to form a bowling club to promote the game in accordance with the objects of the parent club. At this meeting the Rathmines Country Club Womens Bowling Club was formed.
Affiliation with the New South Wales Womens Bowling Association was granted on October 23, 1968 and the club was then transferred to the jurisdiction of the Newcastle District Womens Bowling Association.
At the time the club had no bowling green of its’ own and games were played at the Wangi Wangi Bowling Club commencing in July, 1969.
In 1969 the mens’ club applied for a Liquor Licence but was unsuccessful so the club was reformed and became incorporated with the result that the Country Club name was dropped and in 1971 the Rathmines Womens Bowling Club took its’ place.
To apply for a Liquor Licence a bowling green had to be constructed. This was duly done with substantial manual labour by club members with assistance from greenkeepers from neighbouring clubs. On September 20, 1973 the green was officially opened with the Licence finally granted in 1974.
The second green was constructed in 1978.
In 1984 a Memorial Wall was built and dedicated to those who served at the base by a Padre from Williamtown Air Force Base who was accompanied by several RAAF Officers.
Over 400 people attended the Dedication Ceremony which was catered for by the Ladies club.
As a result of this, both Mens and Ladies clubs changed their names to incorporate the word “Memorial”. The club was Heritage Listed.
The Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club
This is the parent club under which the men play. The ladies club operates as a separate entity within the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club.
The club was very successful in attracting patrons and the membership grew from approx. 40 members at its’ commencement to approx. 1100 in its most active years and now stands at just over 800.
The club was greatly assisted by the Charlestown Bowling Club during the early establishment days with the con- tribution of a bar, refrigeration and other ancillary items.
Much preparatory work had to be undertaken as the location where the bar was to be installed was the original kitchen. However, with a lot of enthusiasm the kitchen was removed and the refrigeration and the bar was fully setup by the members.
At a later stage a new kitchen had to be built. The location of the kitchen presented a problem as it was currently occupied by a cellar. The members once again rallied, covering the cellar with a new floor and setting up the new kitchen.
In the early days the club held dinner dances every month. Many other functions and entertainment were organ- ised for both members and the surrounding residents. These proved very popular and the attendance and subse- quent membership grew rapidly.
All catering was provided by the club members until we were able to engage caterers in the early 1980s after the new kitchen had been installed.
Each year the club provides bowls coaching for students at the Rathmines Public School.
Due to the high cost of maintaining grass greens the Board decided to install a synthetic green. This was installed in 2000 and was immediately hailed as being a first class green with any visiting bowlers applauding the perfor- mance of the green. In 2006 the second grass green was replaced with a synthetic green, further reducing our costs.
The club has been very active in promoting tournaments over many years with its’ Fours and Mixed Pairs being most popular. Regular Super Saturdays have also proven popular with many bowlers from other clubs entering the competition.
There are also a number of clubs with whom we have visitation arrangements every year where we play each oth- er on a home and away basis.
A Travelling Bowlers group was formed within the club and they visit different towns around the state on a social basis and play against the local club wherever they are.
In 2007, with a view to encourage increased patronage, President Mike Usher gained approval from the members to instigate the design and construction of alterations and extensions to the club. These encompassed the removal of the old office block and replacement with new offices, an entry from the carpark, a new Board room and the sealing of the carpark. On the opposite side of the clubhouse a new lounge was to be built.
Because of the Heritage status of the club the final plans took quite some time to reach a stage where they were acceptable to all parties involved. However, the work finally commenced and the office complex and the carpark were completed first, followed by the lounge which was eventually completed in late 2013.
The club’s crowning glory with bowls was the Lake Macquarie Fours Challenge for both Men and Women held in 2013. President Bob Boxall was responsible for introducing the idea of holding this tournament and worked very hard to raise sponsorship and to get the appropriate clubs to join in. He was supported in this effort by an active group of volunteers. This competition was the first of its’ kind with invitations to all of the Lake Macquarie Clubs to enter their Champion Fours Teams. The men’s competition was held on the Saturday and the Ladies’ on the Sunday. Both days were well patronised and all competitors voted the tournament a resounding success.
The club has always attended to its’ civic responsibilities, sponsoring various local sporting clubs such soccer, cricket and netball. It has also supported calls for assistance from local residents with donations when such things as wheel chairs etc. are needed for disadvantaged people.
The Rathmines Memorial Womens Bowling Club.
In the early 1990s when the club was at its’ most active there were 125 members. This has reduced over the years to 85 at present but is still attracting new bowlers.
Over the years the club has regularly entered teams in the District Pennants Competitions with mixed results, hav- ing had a number of Runner-up successes but to date no flag. They have also had members participate in District Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours with one of the ladies being selected to play for the district.
There is always great interest and participation in Festival of Bowls and visitation days to other clubs in the Cen- tral Coast, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie with great friendships being made.
Apart from the normal bowling activities, the ladies have held many Charity Days with recipients of funds being Mater Oncology Services, Westpac Helicopter, Rural Fire Service, Guide Dogs, Sailability, Cystic Fibrosis to name a few.