Mixing it with the best
The old saying of “better late than never” is a perfect way to sum up the meandering sports life of State-level bowler Linda Warburton.
Linda, who hails from Australind, picked up lawn bowls at the age of 46 at the insistence of her husband’s family, the Warburtons – a weighty name in the halls of the Brunswick Bowling Club.
“I guess you could say I married into bowls,” she said.
Linda reluctantly accepted an invitation from her mother-in-law, Elsie, to play in an event but had concerns over the uniforms being long dresses and petticoats.
Fortunately the dress code had been modernised, which Linda said was probably the catalyst for her joining the club.
“I can’t say I loved it and I didn’t play for a couple of weeks after that initial time,” Linda said. “But then I actually thought ‘I think I do quite like this game’ so I went back and I sort of took to it like a duck to water.”
Linda played at Brunswick for six years before being asked to join the Bowls WA Women’s Premier League in Perth – and she said no.
She was asked again the following year and decided to give it a shot, commuting to Perth weekly during pennants season to play for Mosman Park.
It wasn’t long before Linda was representing State squads and now at the age of 63 she has placed second in WA for every bowls format including a win in the triples.
As far as big events go, Linda said the proudest moment of her bowls career came last year when she and her partner Lisa Featherby won the Moama Classic Pairs in NSW.
“Lisa and I won that event and there were some of the best bowlers from around Australia playing, it’s a very prestigious women’s event,” she said.
However, Linda went through a whole list of sports in her early life before settling on bowls and admitted to not being particularly good at any of them.
Raised on the family dairy farm in Roelands, Linda said there was not much time for sport while her parents ran the Seven Hills Farm, next door to the former Roelands Mission.
“We had a great childhood living on the farm, we had a lot of freedom that you wouldn’t see much of these days,” she said.
After attending Roelands Primary School, Roelands High School then Bunbury Senior High School, Linda met her future husband Ross through Junior Farmers, now known as Rural Youth WA.
They married when Linda was 21 and had their first son Craig the day after Ross’ beloved Harvey-Brunswick lost the grand final to Busselton.
“We all went back to the footy club and I realised it was time to go and give birth so off we went,” Linda said.
Ross would go on to become a life member of the club after playing 160 league games and even served as president with Linda as secretary for five years.
Linda eventually followed up on her goal of teaching, studying at Edith Cowan University Bunbury before becoming an art teacher at Adam Road and Parkfield primary schools. But that was just one of the many hats Linda wore. She also took up pottery as a hobby and even opened a craft shop in Brunswick called Lindels Crafts.
She volunteered with Harvey Meals on Wheels for a few years, coached and umpired when her children were playing basketball and served as Brunswick Agricultural Society treasurer for five years.
Raised on a dairy farm in Roelands and dabbling in all manner of sports, Linda Warburton found her calling when she picked up lawn balls at 46.