The History of Marks Point Bowling Club on this their 50th Anniversary
On recollections by Life Member Alan Baxter plus some previous material used by Life Member Bill Harris from their 40th Anniversary.
The Wheels were put in motion in the 1940s from a local progress association meeting by the late members Jim Shannon & Dick Baxter initiated a grant of alnd from the then Hawkins Estate for the purposed of building a two green bowling club plus getting a grant of 400 pounds from The Joint Coal Board, as local support at the time could not get enough interested persons so the deal at the time then lapsed.
The wheels started turning again when the Scout Hall was moved from its former water front position (just a little recollection this was my home when I got married, Ron Woodbury was in the other side in the same block) to just east of the Greenkeepers shed was donated by local Bookmaker Mr Ted Bain,
This time Jim Shannon & Dick Baxter had some strong support from local Headmaster Jack Ferguson and Bill Harris. A meeting was called in February 1962 attracting 30 men and women. The meeting was inspired by the vice president of the N.D.B.A Mr Ken McLeod that a team was elected to gather all information required to form a Bowling Club. We should certainly thank that team for their effort in giving us OUR CLUB that we enjoy now. Recalling that team as I write these notes: Jim Shannon, Dick Baxter, Gordon Smith, Jack Ferguson, Frank Potts, Ron McPaul, Stan Reid, Bill Harris, Viv Pleash, Jack Clementson and Jim Hemmings, quickly following the men were our ladies, Flo Hennings, Penny Pleash, Jean Harris, Marie Rennie, Joan McPaul, Phobe Marks, Mrytle Attander, Syvlia Knight, Win Thornton, Bessie Baxter, June Hunter, Addie Henderson, Shirley Cain, Doreen Bell and of course Faye Barwise, Violet McRae, Rona Auberson, Beryl Herron.
MAY 9TH 1962 Yea the Day has arrived, the inaugural meeting of the Club was held with 27 people in attendance, The N.D.B.A. was represented by Mr Bart Richardson and Mr Frank Brent. The elected executive officers President Jack Ferguson – Secretary Bill Harris –Treasurer Jim Hennings approached Lake Macquarie Council regarding allocation of land for the establishment of land for the establishment of a club house and two Bowling Greens.
To fund the establishment of the first green the committee decided to float a debenture loan of 5000 pounds to cover construction costs.
Before construction started waste material was obtained from a local mine to elevate the playing surface a little over a metre above ground level to strop heavy rain flooding the playing surface. Cost of our first green was 3800 pounds and was built by Asphalt Constructions. The late Dick Baxter was the club’s representative to ensure that any of the agricultural pipes in the drainage system that were broken or damaged be replaced. Claude Rennie was our levelling man with the help of his Dumpy Level was our Surveyor ensuring a good level playing surface.
A temporary fence was built to keep animals out. Members were used to remove weeds from growing grass. Old Conveyor belt was obtained from a local mine (thank God we had mines then). Thanks to Belmont Macquarie Bowling Club for donating a Scott Bonner Bowling Green mower and permitting their Greenkeeper to twice a week cut our grass and keep a professional eye on the proceedings.
Now the 5000 pounds had been spent on the green the time had come to provide some sort of income, besides the Ladies selling their Cake, Jam & Pickle Stalls outside the Local Butchers shop, so the project was committed to building a Club House. There appeared no other avenue to raise money so another Debenture this time offering ½ percent above Bank Interest. This interest was calculated on a quarterly basis and allowed to compound until we could build Club and begin to trade to get the revenue to fulfil obligations. The plans were drawn up for the Club which ended where the Concertina doors are located.
To enable the building to begin extra money was needed after serveral banks turned the other way, it was then a little light appeared out of the C.B.A. Bank mainly because, we think the then Manager, lived at Marks Point, there were hard measures required by him first we had to have guarantors plus 12 – 16 new accounts to his bank , we were very appreciative to get guarantors from Belmont Bowling Club of 5 thousand pounds, Joint Coal Board One Thousand pounds, Thamas Mitchell Solicitor of One Thousand Pounds, N.D.B.A. of One Thousand pounds repayable with nominal interest. Lady Luck came our way for the new account when the girls of the Ladies Auxillary when they won the Opera House Lottery worth 1 hundred thousand pounds, so Jean Harris who had purchased the ticket quickly deposited the money with the C.B.A. and indicated the members to open up accounts were confirmed.
The drawings of Club were mainly prepared by our building committee finalised by architect for approval. Building commenced on 20th May 1964 2 years after our inaugural meeting.
A big thank you to those pioneering Men & Women who had the vision for the future of our Club.
Time had come in late 1963 in the now named Shannon Green our FIRST MIXED BOWLING BEGAN. The Scout Hall was used at this time for the usual cup of tea, with scones & cake cooked and supplied the Ladies. As Bill Harris stated in his 30th Anniversary letter a toilet break was required and the closet one was across the oval. What a sight to behold in those days, the ladies dresses were only 12” from the ground.
It is January 22nd 1965 when the keys were handed over and on 7th March 1965 the Certificate of Registration was obtained and started trading as a Licenced Club. The bar was names by Committee of the day Dick Baxter opened up at 3PM and stayed as bar tender until the Roaster Man took over. A local Machine agent came and offered 5 machines free for three months if after that time we purchased them, so the one armed bandits had arrived.
The Official opening of the Club House and green was held on 4th June 1966 attended by representatives from N.D.B.A., Joint Coal Board, Police, Bank, Shire President, Chief Engineer from Council, State Politician’s, President Ray Simmons (N.D.B.A.) performed the Official opening.
The Club’s emblem Badge was originated by running a competition with a 2 guineas prize which was submitted by at the time the Club’s bar attendant Mrs Barbara Baxter.
The Club’s original colours were Red & Blue.
The Club has had 3 Secretary Managers in its time (1) Mr Arthur Turnbull, followed by Mr Richard Bourke and of course followed by Mrs Narelle Lopez.
The Seventies and early eighties were the golden years of the club. It was during this time the Club was enlarged, additional green put in now called the Baxter Green after the late Dick Baxter for his tireless effort given plus flood lighting of both greens which in those days were regularly used for tournaments such as the Charlie Knight Singles, The Gordon Smith Pairs, and with all debentures paid off we were and truly on our way. Over the years the Bowling Club has had numerous successes both Ladies and Men with numerous pennant wins including both Men & Women State Flags. Clubs of a bigger size have not won anywhere what we have achieved. Both Men & Women have won numerous District Events.
With our 50th year upon us we are on the path to greater times in the future.
Thanks to all those timeless pioneers who gave us the opportunity.
If I have missed any person I apologise as this is all from memory.