TBCL - The First 25 Years

This is a short resume of the formation and history of the first 25 years of our club.

To some, the facts of our early history will come as a surprise to know of the difficulties the early members overcame for the benefit of present and future members, the privileges we enjoy today, good greens and a well appointed club-house.

Unfortunately, the passage of the years creates difficulties in full and accurate compilation and even this brief history of twenty-five years of plans and accomplishments may omit facts relevant to history making and pass over individuals who have made contributions throughout the years.

Personalities pass away, records go astray. Where data is unavailable and memory is short, such omissions must occur, while the necessity to condense material, contributes to the probability.

The seed was sown in 1950, not the seed of bent or couch but of an idea to form a bowling club at Turramurra – an idea which was to become a reality and bear good fruit.

In June 1952 a public meeting was called in the Turramurra Masonic Hall, the club being registered as a limited company in February of that year.

The signatories to the Articles of Association were M.S. Brown, J.L. McLellan, W.S. King, A.K. McLellan, B.W. Howard, F.C, Roberts and C.S.P. Hughes.

The Aborigines of the Ku-ring-gai tribe called this area Turra (a big hill) and Murra (a large extensive area).

Today our club stands on a flattened hill, the magnificent site overlooking the valley where the first white man George Caley, the botanist, paused at the headwaters of Lovers Jump Creek which runs not far from this location.

Initially, timber-getters worked this district to be followed by orchardists and dairy farmers.

In 1823, as a reward for capturing a bushranger, Robert Pymble, a free settler, was given a grant of 600 acres covering our area. The portion around Bobbin Head gradually grew, the name varying from Big Island, Tulip Shrub, Irish Town to the present Turramurra.

Although the club was legally formed on 15th February, 1952 the game was not played at our present location until some time later, use being made of a private green in Bobbin Head Road, at other clubs in the district and particularly on the green at the Lady Davidson Home.

Various sites were considered, including part of Turramurra Park in Eastern Road, an area in Nulla Nulla Street and another near Gilroy Road.

The land we now occupy was part of a subdivision of Apps Dairy of which approximately two acres was sold to the Turramurra Bowling Club.

After the subdivision of the Apps Dairy Farm, John McLellan approached Norma Forbes (formerly Apps) about the sale of her residence and land. Norma readily agreed to help the club and a meeting was called to arrange sufficient funds for the deposit. Records show that this meeting was well attended and supported by many applications for membership and offers of loans.

John McLellan then approached the C.B.C. Bank Limited at Chatswood, obtained a loan of £1500, for which the bank required his personal guarantee.

Once the decision was made to purchase the property all were anxious to start on alterations and six months before the contract was signed, work had commenced and the clubhouse was in use.

During these six months, Norma lived in portion of the house while awaiting the signing of the contracts.

The alterations were done by voluntary labour, nearly every member of the club taking part in working, organising and designing.

Practically every necessary piece of material including the original bar fittings were obtained free of charge.

Today the front of the house, almost in its original condition, still stands and little do passers-by realise the existence of the comfortable club rooms which are erected as part and parcel of it.

The first bent seed on our own green was sown in April 1957, the area having been surveyed free of charge by Mr Lyle West, a local resident. A permanent Greenkeeper, Mr J Tozer, was appointed and play commenced in November of that year.

Immediately the green was open a team was entered in the No. 7 Pennant Competition and Turramurra finished leader of its section for three consecutive years.

On 5th July 1958 the club was officially opened by Mr T.K. Shakespere, President of the Royal New South Wales Bowling Association.

The first President was Mr John McLellan and the late Mr Charles Hughes the first bowls secretary.

The year 1960 was an important milestone in our history. Membership had increased, a liquor licence obtained and later a poker machine licence. The grounds were cleared and the car park established, all with voluntary labour.

Since we are a strong mixed club what part did the ladies play in those early years?

An auxiliary of eight members was formed in 1956 and in February 1957 having acquired a sufficient number of members with a knowledge of the game, application was made for affiliation with the Royal New South Wales Women’s Bowling Association.

Early minutes of meetings indicate that the ladies activities “benefitted the club more than any other factor”. They provided entertainment, supplied club furniture, catered for lunches and afternoon teas and helped to keep the club (if not the members) in order.

The first President of the Women’s Club was Leila Higgin, Secretary Leila Chalmers and Treasurer Audrey Dearden.

In 1963 a mixed bowls match was played between our club and Chatswood West. The match consisted of fourteen teams, seven at home and seven away. The Annual Report in 1963 records that “this was probably the first mixed bowls teams game played in New South Wales”.

Mr E. Downie, President of the R.N.S.W.B.A. officially opened the first extension of the clubhouse and second green on 6th January 1968 and less than four years later the second extension opened by R.N.S.W.B.A. President D.K. Braddock on 4th December, 1971.

Both greens remained in their original state until 1976, when the No. 2 green was re-drained, the top removed and planted with Greenlees Park Couch grass.

Today, only two foundation players are members, Mr Frederick C. Roberts and Mr George W Moore.

We are proud to record that our club is completely free of debt, that the ownership of our land and buildings is due entirely to the efforts and generous support of members.

The club is deeply indebted to the late Mr C.S.P. Hughes, our first Life Member who was president from 1956 to 1959 and Mr Ron Christie who was admitted as a member on 26th August 1957, served as president from 1960 to 1964 and bowls secretary from 1965 to 1974, a total of fourteen years in office, being elected to Life Membership in 1976.

LEARNING TO PLAY

When the club was in its infancy bowling skills of new players were achieved by advice from other bowlers, reference to bowls manuals and trial and error.

Some were coached on a disused tennis court at Hornsby for a fee which the club paid and many on the private green already referred to in Bobbin Head Road for the use of which they paid two shillings each towards the cost of top-dressing.

This green was owned by the late Harry Wallbank and the small plaque which adjoins the shrub on the southern end of the No. 1 green is placed there in memory of his wife who gave him great assistance and who collapsed and died on our green.

Fred Attwell joined the club in 1964 and two years later was appointed honorary coach, our first official coach.

He has tutored men and women now for 11 years, has kept a record of his pupils’ names and dates of coaching and his tally has reached 145.

PROFESSIONAL ADVICE

Mention was made earlier of work and skill freely given. We are grateful to Terry Proust, our surveyor, who responds gratuitously to calls made upon him.

ADMINISTRATION

No record would be complete without a word of thanks to Mr Frank Jauncey, our first Secretary-Manager, who worked untiringly in that position and whose administrative ability in no small way contributed to our present position. As a “front of the house man”, Frank excelled.

THE CLUB BADGE

It is interesting to record the origin of our badge. During the term of office as President of the Women’s Club, Mrs Phyllis Browne approached the men and obtained their sanction to submit a design. She owned a Buick car at that time and took the shape from the car badge. She just “happened” to colour it in blue and yellow with the gold trim. The design was accepted.

COMPILED BY THE SILVER ANNIVERSARY ORGANISING COMMITTEE

F.G. Monaghan – Chairman

A. Rowley

F.G. Dinning

A.G. Hackett