Page 6072 – 6073 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY Thursday, 10 June 2021
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:53): Today, I would like to talk about the Port Pirie Bowling Club and centenary, which was held last year. As a long-serving community person and now as the local member of parliament, it is my great privilege to be able to talk today about the centenary celebrations of the Port Pirie Bowling Club.
Who would have thought in 1920—when the first president, Mr Frank Tonkin, presided over the installation of seven rinks with electric lights and a pavilion—that these facilities would still be used by bowlers 100 years later? This celebration was supposed to take place last year but because of COVID-19 it did not occur. A book was written on the centenary of the club, but again that launch has not taken place at this particular point in time.
Eight years later, in 1928, the club membership was open to the general public and thus started the great journey that this club has experienced ever since. In 1933, a proposal was put forward by the club to form an association. In future years that would become fiercely competitive, but after every game there would always be time for fellowship, a few yarns and quite a few beers.
In 1935, the first greenkeeper was employed at the rate of £3 13s per week. That was a lot of money in those days and I remember people talking about—though it was not in my day—the very first greenkeeper there and the work he did. In 1937, the club allowed Port Pirie ladies to be admitted as associate members, which was a very bold and courageous move in those days, and 1954 saw the acquisition of adjacent land and a further seven rinks, bringing the total rinks to 17. Another innovative move came about in 1968, when the wearing of shorts was permitted, even though it was originally—
Ms BEDFORD: Risky!
The Hon. G.G. BROCK: Yes, very risky in those days, in 1968, even though it was only originally for night-time practice—white shorts, long white socks and shirts to be tucked in. That move was very adventurous at the time and was quickly overruled by the Australian Bowls Council. How things have changed to this day. Now coloured apparel is allowed, which shows that any association needs to be forever on the lookout for new and innovative opportunities. I know this club has an absolutely fantastic uniform that is very colourful and has the sponsors proudly displayed on the back.
Looking at the club today and looking back over the last 100 years, the vast improvements are very evident. Looking back over the many years and to the many great people who undertook official positions, as well as volunteers, it proves that if you are determined to improve your association’s future and that of the sport then you just do it. This is very evident from the many people who have held official positions on the local association board and also those who have held senior positions with the RSABA, as well as executive memberships and state selectors, or won major sporting association sports medals. Most notable were Brian Condon and Lance Leak, who achieved one of our nation’s highest awards, the Order of Australia.
In March 2019, I was very honoured to be involved in achieving funding towards the Port Pirie Sports Precinct, with $5 million from the federal government and also $5 million from the local council. This in turn enabled the Port Pirie Bowling Club to greatly improve their amenities, together with new synthetic greens that were opened on 31 March 2019. This club is a really great testament to other associations and many will try to emulate the success that this club has achieved.
I mentioned a bit earlier the numerous achievements of many past and current members of the association. These have included J. Jenkin, M. Grant, W. Boucher, H. Young, B. Richards and B. Jenkins being presidents of the North Western Bowling Association, also with J. Evans being chairman of the state selectors in 1990 and Brian Lines also being a state selector. Brian Lines and Lance Leak also received Australian Sports Medals and, on top of all that, Brian Condon and Lance Leak received OAM medals for their achievements. These achievements are not bad for a country volunteer-run bowling club. I must also admit that they always paid tribute to their fellow bowlers in their awards and they never looked for any special accolades.
I am tremendously proud that I have been one of the club’s patrons for many years. This has been a privilege and something that I hold in very high esteem. I congratulate Richard Lines on his great work in researching information for the printing of the book celebrating the club’s centenary and all the contributions others, both past and present, in the association have made not only to the book but also to the history of community involvement at the club there. I also pay tribute to the Port Pirie Regional Council for the great work they have done allowing the croquet club to join in on the grounds there at the bowling club.