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Camperdown Bowls club shares history

CAMPERDOWN Bowling Club has become the latest outfit to feature on the Corangamite Bowls Show.

Club president Matthew Brewer and fellow members Vicki Brebner and Maria Van Someren joined Winchelsea’s Rhys Jeffs to discuss the club’s history for the latest episode which aired on Wednesday night.

In an engaging discussion, Brebner spoke of the club’s early days, which date back to the 1890s.

“Our Camperdown Bowling Club was brought into existence in 1895,” she said.

“It was actually in the Queens Park opposite the railway station where it began.

“Eight years later in 1903 the club moved to the present site in Thornton Street where we. We (ladies) weren’t a part of it then, the ladies were first introduced as associates of the game in 1907 so it was only a man’s game.”

Brebner told the show Camperdown’s early history was plagued by misfortune and adversity.

The club was forced to rebuild three times during its first 90 years, with treasured records and memorabilia lost after fires tore through the clubrooms on more than one occasion.

“It was a real shame that most of our records were destroyed because we didn’t just have one fire, we had three,” Brebner said.

“The first fire was in 1934, the second was in 1941 and again in 1985 so we lost a lot of records, they just went up in smoke.

“We used to live over the road from the club and our clubhouse used to be between the two greens. I remember that when my mother and father were playing there was a massive fire that burnt the entire clubhouse down (1985) so everything in it went which was a real shame.”

Following the fire, the club was given a reprieve by Mobil, who operated a training centre with a kitchen, toilet and conference room on the same site as the club.

Further renovations of the site then followed over the next four decades.

“We bought that (building) and then when money became available in the late 80s we built a committee room, a bar and lounge and store room and that took us out to the footpath (of Thornton Street),” Brebner said.

“Moving on with the times in 2007 we replaced our grass greens with synthetic – we had to move forward because everyone was going to synthetic and it was hard to get greenkeepers in little clubs just to maintain your greens.

“I think it’s been a good move. We’ve got great greenkeepers and volunteers who do a great job in maintaining the greens.”

Brewer spoke of the COVID-19 situation, which he said “slowed us down quite a lot”.

“About the only positive we can get out of it at the moment is we are in the middle of doing club renovations,” he said.