1914 – 18: Founding
The Nowra Bowling Club was formed in 1914 shortly before the outbreak of World War I. The construction of the bottom green began May 19th 1916. In previous times, members would travel to Bowral and Sydney to learn to play bowls.
The original clubhouse plans were designed by an architect from Sydney, Mr. Kenwood, and although the club had been in existence for 4 years prior, it was officially opened on February 27th 1918 by the State President. The green was officially opened at the same time. The club members decided to induct Mr. Kenwood as the first life member of the bowling club for his contribution.
1950 – 1957: Expansion
In the 1950’s a land resumption order was issued which threatened to prevent the club from developing further. Eventually, the NSW Housing Commission reviewed its requirements and the club swiftly brought an adjoining block for a second green in 1950. The construction of the top green began in 1951 and was officially opened in 1952.
The cost of the land and construction of the second green left the club in a limited financial position and it wasn’t until 5 years later that more expansions could be undertaken. In 1953 the bar was remodelled. This work marked the beginning of subsequent remodelling that sought to contemporise the club facilities. In late 1957, the clubhouse was substantially increased in size and comfort.
1959 – 1976: Changes and Renovations
In 1959, the club allowed members to take up debentures. This received an overwhelming response which allowed the club to take up a contract to expand the existing building, which reached completion in March of 1960.
The first stage of the new clubhouse was in September of 1967. The debate to air condition the clubhouse began in 1968, but did not eventuate until the mid 1970’s. Another major milestone in 1967 saw the movement towards the appointment of a Secretary Manager. Prior to this time, the club was run by a combination of voluntary and casual labour. It wasn’t until 8 years later in 1975 that the first Secretary Manager was appointed.
1976 saw the Nowra Bowling Club almost relocated to South Nowra. Five and a half acres of land was negotiated and a deposit was paid, however, the ambitious plan was dropped by the members at a special meeting. Instead, two houses were purchased along Osborne Street that helped to further cement the club in the heart of Nowra.
1994 – Present: Refurbishments and the future
In 1994, the Board decided that in order to compete with other local clubs, the facilities available needed improvement. There was no off-street parking available, there was only limited space, and the club had a dated atmosphere. The carpet and furniture were roughly 30 years old, and had not been updated since the previous renovation in 1967.
The club undertook a $1.5 million refurbishment in 1999. The improvements doubled the existing floor space and added a new restaurant, modern gaming facilities, new bar, and car parking space. Other renovations conducted between 2004 and 2006 included the dining room being expanded to seat 150, a new men’s locker room with a viewing pavilion, new toilet amenities, and an expanded kitchen.
As the club continues to be a part of the local community, more renovations will see it stay relevant and meet the needs of its patrons over the years.
What is Nowra Bowling Club?
Charity work and community involvement are core values that drive the Nowra Bowling Club. Across the range of events and days held at the club, the aim varies. Disaster relief, support for sporting teams and venues, wishing trees for the less fortunate, health awareness and support, sponsorships, and donations to community organisations are a few examples of the work performed by the club in the local area. The club receives many requests from the general public for donations or support, and it is always prepared to meet the needs of those wherever it can. Organisations the club has helped over the years include Camp Quality, Legacy, Jeans for Genes, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea (via the N.W.B.C), Movember, and many more.
Nowra Bowling Club is known as “Nowra’s friendly little club, where you are more than just a membership number”. Their support of people in need, charities and the community as a whole help ensure that their place in the local community is a beneficial one.