History


The club was originally formed as the "Dominion 
Road Bowling Club" at a meeting held in St. Albans Hall on September the 24th 1908 and was incorporated on December 31st 1908. The first President was Mr A.M.Bryden, Secretary Mr C.A.Burrow,Treasurer Mr A.Walker.Committee was Rev.Wingfield, Dr P. Moir, A.Garrett and Mr Blackwell. 
MrBryden became a prominent figure in Auckland bowling circles, and for 17 years was Secretary of Auckland Bowling Centre. 
The opening of the Club's first green took place on Nov.9th 1909 and membership was 41.

During 1910 a women's croquet club was formed using part of the property and in the same period the club prepared an asphalt tennis court as well as two full size and one single grass courts which were leased to the St. Albans Tennis Club.

In 1918 the croquet club disbanded but reformed later, ceasing finally in 1943. It appears that the tennis club ceased operations about 1918, as the club's records of that time refer to the necessity of laying down a new green to meet the club's progress.The asphalt court had been taken over and converted into a small green in 1914.

In 1931 it was decided to change the name of the club to the Balmoral Bowling Club, the reason given in the club's records being that "owing to the extension and alteration of the Dominion Road District since the formation of the club in 1908 the name of Dominion Road has no real significance as was the name Balmoral being the name of a district contiguous to the club's property, and a terminus for certain tramcars bearing that destination sign will tend to assist visitors. At the same time the club colours were changed from royal blue, black and white, to brown, red and gold. The change to royal blue (Auckland Centre) colour was made in 1959. The club's colours to this present date is maroon, white and gold.

Club Properties. The club's property was purchased for one thousand pounds ($2000) and the pavilion was built with voluntary labour by the members.

In 1924 the original single story pavilion was developed to two stories, the materials being financed by members gifts and debentures and the work again carried out by members free of the cost to the club.

In 1945 the then President, Bill Rowland, engineered the purchase of a green-keeper's house in Mewburn Avenue; this was subsequently disposed of and the house at 11 Herbert Rd. purchased for the green-keeper.

In 1953 W.E.(Eric) Cassels-Brown,then club Treasurer,proposed a scheme for the building of a new pavilion, and the resulting effort of fairs held in Potter's Park organised by the late Roy Hawthorne, other activities and working bees, the sum of twelve thousand pounds ($24000) was raised. With the additions of monies raised by members debentures, this enabled the erection of the present pavilion which was opened on November 8th, 1958, the year of the club's Golden Jubilee celebrations. Mr Cassels- Brown was architect and supervisor of the project. In 1976 he planned and supervised the present extended lounge area which was opened on April 16th 1977. 
He died at a club meeting the day before the opening.He also arranged the purchase of 9 Herbert Rd. and 12 Mont Le Grand Rd. as a buffer to the club's property. He was undoubtedly one of the club's great visionaries. The old pavilion was sold to the Boy Scouts, on condition that it be removed within a week, for thirty pounds ($60).

The club has had many members who have given outstanding service to the club, but surely the efforts of Arthur Yeoman must rank high on the list. He was Secretary for 26 years (from 1910 - 1936) and during this period he also carried out the duties of Treasurer for some years and for one year as President. The club was built on the devoted energies and generosity of a great number of members on working bees, soil for top dressings etc. For many years all prizes for club competitions were donated by members. It is interesting to read that for many years the prize for the winner of the First Year Singles was "a pair of wooden bowls"- woods of course in those days.

On the playing side, the club has also had it's members of distinction. Success came early in the club's history, in the 1911-1912 season (club's third playing season), we won the annual First Year tournament in what was then called the Auckland Provincial Bowling Association and in 1913-1914 they won the Auckland Bowling Centre of the newly formed NZ Bowling Association. Probably the most successful of our players was W.C.(Wally) Franks who had the distinction of winning two Dominion titles in the same year. In 1939 he won the Singles and was Skip of the winning Fours. He was also a Five Star winner in the Auckland Centre - the only member thus far to have achieved this honour. His sons, Howard and Lionel, also won two Dominion titles and Lionel three Auckland titles.Others to win more than one title were J.F.Benson:two Dominion and three Centre-H.N.(Nelson) Orange:one Dominion and three Centre.

In 1938 Walter Denison with L.L.Macey of the Remuera Bowling Club won the Empire (now Commonwealth) Games Pairs in Sydney Australia. see  NZ Herald Feb 1938 story

In 1958 R.E.(Ted) Pilkington and Jack Morris of Hamilton as Lead won the same event at the Empire Games at Cardiff, Wales.
Bowls pictured to left at 1958 Cardiff Empire Games.

The club has also been active in promoting the social side of it's activities and thereby involving the ladies who play such an important role in any club. From the beginning ,the socials were very popular and a means of raising finance.Entertainment of this nature was an integral part of life at that time. We must remember that there were no television and very few radios in the home in those days. The club also arranged concerts in the local theatre. In 1958 indoor bowls were commenced and proved very popular,and in 1960 Housie was introduced and proved an important source of finance.

What of the future? Our predecessors have left us with a great heritage, a club with a magnificent history. But alas, Father Time has taken his toll, with most of our members who are relatively new who must face the challenge to preserve and maintain what they have inherited.New visionaries are required with the ideas and enthusiasm to see that the name of the BALMORAL BOWLING CLUB continues to flourish.