Bowling club marks centenary
The club’s history
In April 1918, T Nixon advertised that a meeting of those interested in the formation of a bowling club in Castlecliff will be held in the “Tea Kiosk” in Castlecliff, on Saturday, April 11, at 7.30pm.
The meeting was well attended.
After several gentlemen had spoken, a motion was carried unanimously. Messrs G Meuli, T Nixon, E Ashwell, J Passmore, and T Whitton were elected as a committee, to report at the next meeting on availability of land, costings of laying out ground and the formation of a green.
Matipo Land Company Limited offered sections 1 to 4 Manuka St, at a cost of £50 per section. The land was purchased and is the current site of the bowling club.
Called Westbourne Bowling Club, it was formed on May 21, 1918, with a membership of 32. T Nixon was elected the first president, EH Ashwell vice president, while JH Passmore was appointed secretary. The committee comprised Messrs Dunkley, Coull, Whitton and Passmore. On December 16, Westbourne Bowling Club’s newly laid “A” green was formally opened for play. Local clubs were well represented, Gonville sending a strong contingent, and good wishes were received from Mount Eden, Calton, Patea, Marton, Otaki and Dannevirke clubs.
The original clubroom was an iron clad, one-room shed with brick flooring which was sited about the middle of the present club rooms.
On August 14, 1922, it was renamed Wanganui West Bowling Club.
On February 22, 1930, the admission of lady members was suggested for the following season, but this did not eventuate until April 1, 1935.
Even so, there were certain conditions imposed on the women’s club by the men.
1). Females required permission by the men for green usage. 2). Females off the green by 4.30pm. 3). Ladies’ day on the green, the time did not change. It was to give male members a chance to practise. 4). That they do not play on Saturdays or Sundays if the green is required by male members.
There were several other rulings including length of dress (below the knee) and stocking seams to be straight.
At Easter 1935 the ladies formed their own Castlecliff Women’s Bowling Club and, in October that year played their first tournament. In time it was noted that Castlecliff was the oldest women’s bowling club in the North Island. Castlecliff Women Foundation members worked hard to make women’s bowls a success and the club eventually attracted lady members from Gonville, Wanganui City and other suburbs. Given the grounding by Castlecliff women, women from other suburbs finally broke away and formed new women’s clubs and greens.
The next step was the formation of a Manawatu West Coast Centre, which covered Wanganui. Castlecliff ladies played a distinguished role in the organisation and in 1945 members decided to form their own Wanganui Women’s Bowling Centre. A foundation member, Mrs EP Allan of Castlecliff, became its first president.
On August 1, 1937 the umbrella club (men’s) changed its name to Castlecliff Bowling Club. Incorporated women’s and men’s clubs eventually amalgamated as Castlecliff Bowling Club Inc.
In 1961 two classrooms were purchased from Keith Street School and delivered on site for £600.
After upgrading of these classrooms, extensions were eventually added which were the lounge and bar. In 1973 the “B” green — an adjacent horse paddock — was developed. ■
Castlecliff Bowling Club president Jo Donghi at opening day of the season at Castlecliff Bowling Club, October 14, 2017.