From Bauxite Bulletin Edition No. 408 1 November 1974
Lawn bowls is a popular game played by more than 30,000 Queenslanders. In 1967 Comalco, realizing the need for sporting relaxation for its workers, started moves for a bowling green in Weipa. The first President of the newly formed club was Ron Lyons and the man entrusted with the job of laying the green was Jim Martin, who for several years before had been greenkeeper at the Edmonton Bowls Club. Work started on the foundations in December 1967 and the first game of bowls was played in May 1968. The green laid by Jim and his workers has, over the years, been acknowledged as having one of the best playing surfaces in the north.
Club Championships started in 1969 with John Harrison winning the A Grade and Allan McBow the B Grade singles to become the club’s first Championship holders. As with most newly formed clubs, things progressed slowly at first, but as the number of members grew the standard of the game in the club improved and today the club can justly say it can hold its own with any club in the north.
The club has been instrumental in getting many new and young people to take up playing the game and over the latter few years would be one of the fastest growing clubs in Queensland. As the club grew the members became anxious to show the skills of the game outside of Weipa and a step toward the future in this regard was to become affiliated with the F.N.Q.D.B.A. (Far North Queensland District Bowls Association) in the Cairns District.
Further steps for games outside Weipa saw in 1973 the club visit Gove, our sister mining town across the Gulf, to play that centre for an annual Shield. So keen were the members that over half of the sixty-six who nominated had to be refused. This Shield was convincingly won by Weipa, who have since defended it again in 1974 with a bigger winning margin. Nev Brown, President of the club and currently in his fourth term, did the club proud in Brisbane in 1973 when he and Des Duller got to the semi finals of the State Pairs. Nev was later selected for the Queensland State trials. Nev’s effort assured that the Weipa Bowls Club was known all over Queensland.
Each year as seen another first for the club in one form or another and in 1974 the club played in its first F.N.Q. Championship when nine players travelled at their own expense to Cairns for the Franszman Shield. Here the club suffered it first loss, but were not disgraced for the team that beat them went on to win the Shield. Bush Pilot Airways each year bring 28 bowlers from Cairns and district to Weipa for the Bush Pilots Shield and the club has held the Shield ever since it was first played.
The club has had many willing workers over the years, but none have stuck longer and worked harder than the associates of the club, and they can take a lot of the praise for any success that comes to the club. Peter McLeod, the club’s first life member, was a tower of strength to the club in its early years. Today the club would boast one of the best treasurer’s of any club in Queensland with John Philp and the club rewarded John by making him a life member this year.
What does 1975 hold for the Weipa Bowls Club? Certainly the standard of the game here can only improve, but the thing all members await 1975 anxiously for is the completion of their two new greens and club house. Due to the great effort and help from Stuart Brooks and understanding from Comalco, this by mid-1975 can only become a reality and not a dream.
From one green started in 1967 to two greens in 1975, from a few members to two hundred members, from playing only in Weipa to being able to travel to outside centres and command respect, all adds up to 8 years of continued progress by the Weipa Bowls Club.
The Club was originally where the new sporting centre was built opposite the Hibberd Centre.
The building was called the WRC - Weipa Recreation Centre. - There was a tennis court next to the bowling green and a small town library on the end of the building.
Weipa Bowls Club at its present location was built by voluntary labour by the members with the generous assistance of Mr Stuart Brooks and Comalco and was officially opened by the president of FNQDBA Mr J Pratts on Saturday 11 June 1976.
Donations & Sponsorship
From Marine Rescue Journal Qtr April 2014. Excerpt from Weipa Marine Rescue Queensland.
As Weipa VMR moves into 2014 and we look back at last year and how we have managed to keep the ship afloat for another year it comes down to the Weipa Bowls Club. This club has supported our unit for the past decade with donations and allowing crews to run weekly raffles at the club on a Friday night. It is a club that is made up of a lot of boaties and looking around the bar we have pulled a number of them in over the years. As most would be well aware the annual pittance from the state government does not provide sufficient funds to operate a vessel and base in this day and age. Our unit is indebted to this club for its continuing support of the town’s marine rescue capabilities. If you’re visiting Weipa call in and support us by supporting the club.
Eight years on and the Weipa Bowls Club continues to support Marine Rescue Queensland, through donations and supporting their weekly raffles held at the club each Friday night.
Bauxite Classic – held on the first 2 full weekends in August, the ladies event on the first weekend, followed by the men’s the following weekend. Commenced in 2001, and held every year since, except for 2020 due to Covid-19. Major sponsor is Goodline, the event draws bowlers from Victoria, New South Wales, and all over Queensland.