G'day. As many of you may know Wendy and I recently visited Australia. While there we had some experience of bowls in Australia. We visited the Pine Rivers Memorial Bowls club in Queensland. That is an elite club where the top bowlers compete in televised competitions and in surroundings we can only gape at. The picture shows part of the playing facilities. What about those awnings. The other one shows the sort of raffle prize we should aspire to!! This club also had its own multistorey car park!!
While staying with friends on Bribie Island, also Queensland, we joined in with a roll-up at their club, the imaginatively named Bribie Island Bowls Club. While not quite the standard of Pine Rivers it is still an impressive club. Huge clubhouse with bars, restaurant, and banks of the ubiquitous slot machines - pokies as they call them. Apart from the flies that consistently tried to get behind my sunglasses, up my nose and in my ear just as went to bowl - it was very enjoyable. We had a very good meal in the restaurant in the evening. Also I had the best fish and chips ever on Bribie Island! Worth the flight alone!!
The club was established in 1929 and has 700 playing members and 6000 social members! Yes, those are the correct numbers! And I was impressed with their club colours!
At the other end of the scale we also visited the Marrickville Bowling Club in Sydney and had a go at barefoot bowls. This is pretty popular in Australia and appeals to the younger audience. It is purely for fun and it must generate substantial revenue for the clubs who have the same problems of declining memberships as we do in the UK.
With stag and hen parties, a DJ and music, and plenty of drinking - on and off the green - it probably offended every rule of bowling etiquette there is. But while it was certainly loud and bawdy it was good fun. Maybe we should give it a try next summer!!
So let's crack open a tinnie and throw a few prawns on the barbie cobber!