A Brief History

Towards the end of 1940 a small group of Drouin residents felt that there was a need for a bowling club in Drouin. Two of the three bank managers in the town had bowling experience, and with their enthusiasm. sufficient interest was aroused to hold a general meeting on 30th October. 1940. at which a resolution was carried to form the Drouin Bowling Club.

Various sites were suggested. including a site west of the Post Office, but finally the present location was approved and the late James Carmichael of Morwell was awarded the contract to lay down a four rink green. The first sod was turned on 17th December. 1940, and the green was ready for autumn sowing.

The usual difficulties were experienced through wind blowing the seed far and wide, and the prolific growth of weeds. Onion weed was a particular pest and one weekend saw many citizens portly and slim alike, pulling out the weeds by hand. The golf club having gone into recess at that time enabled the purchase of a building for a club house, which provided shelter during rain, but little more.

Affiliation was made with the (then) Victorian Bowling Association and Central Gippsland Bowling Club.

The green was opened for play on 15th November 1941 by the late Col. R. C. Ryan M.H.R. in the presence of representatives of the V.B.A. and district clubs. Throughout the early stages of the club a great deal of help was received from V.B.A. officials and others too numerous to mention but exemplifying the spirit of our great game. The cost of the green was financed by bank overdraft guaranteed by 10 members at £50 each.

The club entered pennant teams in 1941-42 then pennant was suspended until the end of the war.

The formation of the Mid Gippsland Bowling Association after the war was an important and progressive move and a major part in this development was played by Drouin delegates. Mr W L Kraft was elected president of the new Association.

Within a very short time a further two links were laid down and here again a tremendous amount of voluntary effort by members was provided. We required about 1200 yards of filling and were fortunate enough to obtain this at reasonable cost. In the meantime the surrounds had been planted with trees and shrubs donated by members. The next forward move was in 1947 when overhead lighting was installed. Again the club benefited from a great deal of voluntary labour and purchasing skill in a period when supplies were hard to obtain.

The cramped club house facilities were improved in 1950 by the addition of 15 feet to the original building. The work being done by members in a voluntary capacity. At the 1951 annual meeting the committee was instructed to “examine the possibility of lady members and to proceed if it were considered advisable”. Two months later the committee approved the general conditions for admission od Associates and after 10 years of exclusive possession made way to allow the women to participate.

In 1957 a further addition to the club house doubled the space available. After that a second green was needed so the blackberry patch on the eastern side was cleared once again by voluntary effort of members. This “Allison Steer Memorial Green” was officially opened by the Honourable JC Belfour MLA on 28th September 1968. More extensions to the clubhouse now include a new kitchen, bar lounge, board meeting room, storeroom, bar and cool room. Today we have a modern, air-conditioned and licensed club, with both greens completely re-turfed in the past two years at the cost of approximately $28 000 partly funded by members debentures.

Pennant flags are hard to come by with Drouin one having been successful on only two occasions in Division 1 1983-84 and 1985-86 four times in Division 3 1974-75, 1978-79 and 1984-85 and in Division 5 in 1984-85.

In a history of this nature it is impossible to mention every event of importance and this record is by no means complete. Space does not permit the names of all who have given their time, talents and money to the club. Many of them have passed on, others have left the district but their memorial is with us here today in the club they have helped developed.