The history of lawn bowls in the Penrith area is fast approaching sixty years – a proud heritage indeed! It all began on 2nd February 1941, after a favourable report on the feasibility of starting a local bowling club, was presented to eighteen local citizens at a meeting held at the Log Cabin Hotel. Officers were elected and the Penrith Bowling and Recreational Club was born.
Voluntary labour constructed a total of four rinks on a couch green on waste land leased from the Log Cabin Hotel near the river in lower High Street. As the Club’s financial situation improved more money was available to spend on maintenance and improvements. Entertaining was carried out either in a temporary marquee erected on the site or in the Log Cabin Hotel. However, by 1945 it was decided to approach the local Council for assistance in obtaining a more permanent location for the Club. The present site in Judge’s Park was the result. The Penrith Council granted the Club a 25 year licence in 1946 for the occupation of the site and an ex-RAAF canteen was purchased from Bankstown and re-erected as the Clubhouse. The official opening occurred on 17th April, 1948. The Penrith Women’s Bowling Club was formed in 1970.
Tragedy struck the Club on the night of February 7th 1997 when the Clubhouse was totally destroyed by fire. The RAAF came to their help with the donation of a large marquee and club members and staff slept on site for seven weeks on a roster system to protect their property until demountable buildings could be obtained and erected. A new Clubhouse was opened a year later and it continues today.
A similar story can be told of the formation of the Kingswood Bowling Club. Sixteen enthusiasts started the Club after a meeting in the “old” NSW Government Railways Parcels Office alongside the signal box at Kingswood. The Club was formed on 16th January 1959 and the current site was purchased for $1960. Voluntary labour again played a large part in the clearing of the site and the formation of the green. The first Clubhouse known as the “Ginger Beer Shed” because it was unlicensed was built from re-cycled material from the old Kingswood tannery.
Later the Club’s name was changed to the Kingswood District Bowling Club and a liquor license was obtained. In 1964 a Women’s Club was formed.
Both Clubs now have modern clubhouses and recreational facilities, a far cry from the early days, but the spirit of community involvement continues in the sponsorship of other sporting clubs and the raising of money for charity.
These profiles are indicative of the lawn bowling fraternity in the Penrith area, which is well served with four clubs at Penrith, Kingswood, St. Marys and Wallacia.
Penrith District Star, 9/12/81, p.14.
Penrith Press, 13/12/98, p.5.
Penrith City Council, Penrith Year Book 1986.
Western Weekender, 18/6/99, p.21.