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The History and Evolution of Lawn Bowls in Queensland

From its origins as a sport for the upper class, lawn bowls has evolved into a sport that is accessible to people from all backgrounds. The sport continues to adapt to new technologies and changing demographics, while remaining true to its traditions and values. With its focus on skill, strategy and sportsmanship, lawn bowls is likely to continue to grow and evolve. We look into the history and evolution of the sport in Queensland.

Booroodabin Bowls Club

Affectionately known as “The Boo”, Booroodabin Bowls Club was established in 1888 and is Queensland’s oldest bowls club. It is located at 126 Breakfast Creek Road, Newstead. The forefathers of Booroodabin Bowls Club were not only gentlemen, they were genteel. The following extract from The Brisbane Courier has a colour and rhythm now long past.

…It is a cause of much gratification to me, on the eve of my departure from Queensland, to receive so cordial an address from the members of your club, and to recognise in it so sincere an expression of kindly feeling towards myself. I assure you that such feeling is heartily reciprocated, and that my association with the Booroodabin Bowling Club will always be a source of pleasurable reminiscence…

These were some of the words expressed in June 1901 by the departing Governor of Queensland and first Patron of the club, Lord Lamington.

Prestige and politics

In the closing years of the 19th Century and into the early years of the 20th, Booroodabin Bowls Club had a membership replete with politicians and businessmen who were known to use their time on the greens to forge more than just friendly rivalry. Many of their decisions of policy and commerce have woven the very fabric that is today’s Brisbane. Over time, lawn bowls became more accessible to people from all backgrounds.

Lord Lamington

Lord Lamington was the founding patron of the Booroodabin Bowls Club and went on to become Queensland Governor from 1896-1901. His name attaches to such Queensland state treasures as the Lamington National Park and Lamington Plateau. After serving as Governor of Queensland, Lord Lamington took up the post of Governor of Bombay and later served meritoriously in the 1914-1918 war.

Topless ladies

Booroodabin Bowls Club has had to forsake much of what was once at the core of a traditional lawn bowls club. There is some sadness with the passing of the years and with them the slowing down of a very proud game. There is, however, no sadness at the fading memories of the ‘topless years’ when topless ladies served at the bar three days a week. Testament to what desperate clubs will do to survive. The current membership, merely caretakers of the club, has embraced a new model of broader community engagement to ensure the club survives.

Social bowling

Booroodabin Bowls Club is known as one of Brisbane’s best barefoot bowling and event venues with over 26,000 social bowlers per year.

Synthetic greens

In the early 1900s, lawn bowls in Queensland underwent a major change with the introduction of synthetic greens. This new technology allowed for year-round play and improved the quality of the playing surface. It also led to the development of new techniques and styles of play as players had to adjust to the different characteristics of the synthetic greens.

The introduction of bias bowls

Lawn bowls continued to evolve throughout the 20th century, with changes in equipment and rules. In the 1960s, the use of bias bowls was introduced, which allowed for greater control of the bowl’s path. In the 1970s, the sport became more competitive with the establishment of State and national competitions. The development of indoor bowls in the 1980s further expanded the reach of the sport, allowing for play in all weather conditions.

Lawn bowls in Queensland today

Today, lawn bowls remains a popular sport in Queensland with over 17,000 registered players across the State. The sport continues to evolve, with ongoing improvements in technology and changes to the rules of play. In recent years, there has been a focus on making lawn bowls more accessible and appealing to a wide audience. This has led to the development of new formats of play, such as barefoot bowls and night bowls which have proven popular with younger players and social groups.

Looking for the best lawn bowls and accessories in Noosaville? Taylor Bowls is a one-stop bowls shop

Are you searching for the best lawn bowls in Queensland? Taylor Bowls is the place to go for helpful advice and the best bowls and accessories at the best prices. Taylor Bowls stock most bowls sizes and designs in store and what we don’t have we can order. Do you want to design your own Taylor SRV lawn bowls? You can select your preferred size, grip, colour and design.

We stock the latest lawn bowls, including Redline SR, Taylor GTR, Taylor SRV, Green Master, Vector VS and Junior Ace. Browse the entire range online.

Same day dispatch

Do you need bowls in a hurry? We offer same day dispatch via post. Large items are delivered by courier. Contact our friendly team at Taylor Bowls today. Visit our store at 5/95 Eumundi Road, Noosaville, or phone 07 5449 9011.

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