Club History

“Let they who drink the water
remember those that dug the well.”

In 1961 Black Head, Hallidays Point was essentially a small, strikingly beautiful seaside village consisting of approximately 65 dwellings, less than half of which were permanently occupied. The adult population in permanent residence was somewhere between 50 and 60. At this time several locals decided that Black Head needed its own club – it was too far to be frequently travelling to Tuncurry, Forster or Taree.

On 21st October 1961 a meeting was held to explore the possibility of forming a Bowling Club. Nine men attended and a decision was made that a club be formed and named Black Head Bowling Club. Among those attending this meeting were Lindsay West, John Startin, Doug Startin, Alex Skeet, Vince Hay and Les Oakley. The names of the remaining three are unfortunately not known. John Startin was elected as first President. Critics suggested that the original pioneers of the club, mostly men no longer in their youth, were attempting something doomed to failure. The critics were proved wrong. Two sites were considered. The present site was felt by many to be too steep and a second site, near the lagoon, was considered. A vote was taken and the present site won. As is so evident today the choice of site was magnificent with its wonderful ocean views.

Negotiations began on 25th October 1961 with the NSW Department of Lands, through Shire of Manning, for a lease of Crown Land. Two years later a Special Lease in Perpetuity was granted at an annual rental of £90.0.0 per annum. Now the hard work had to be done. Surveying of the site was carried out free of charge by Stewart McGlashin. Levelling was a massive job and much of this was done by bulldozer with Vince May and Wylie Parker donating their services. Working alongside them were John Startin, Gordon Wilson, Sid Radford, Bob Stewart, Lindsay West, Les Oakley, Alex Skeet, Doug Startin, Ray Allen, Tom Crane, Tom Lynch, Ray Trotter and many more.

Money was now necessary for green and club house construction and the ladies of the village began playing their very important roles. A ladies Auxiliary Committee was formed and it would be fair to say that without their help, the club could not have succeeded. They conducted Hoy parties at the Surf Club and ran street stalls locally and in Taree. All cooking, jams, pickles, cakes, etc. were donated. Raffles were conducted, running over many months. Some of the ladies involved in these fund raising activities were Rene Brann, Elvie Godwin, Thelma Winson, Mable Eastman, Aileen Crane, Mable West, Beth Harazi, Rene Meads, Ruby Startin, Doreen Stewart, Eve Reeve, Jenny Worth, Amy Lynch and many more. Further funds were raised by gift and debenture with many members and non-members donating free labour.

Despite all of this higher levels of capital were still required to bring the green and club house construction to acceptable standards. A committee member prepared a submission to the clubs bankers seeking a loan of $12,000 against security over the Lease in Perpetuity together with guarantees totalling $6,000. Approval for this loan was obtained on 10th September 1968; almost seven years after the first meeting in 1961.

The green construction continued during this period being mostly done by manual labour. It was constructed of a layer of large stones that formed the drainage system followed by a covering of fine gravel and lastly, top soil. Grass shoots were planted by volunteers who later took turns to mow.

Plans for the proposed clubhouse were drawn up by Gordon Wilson and Vic Godwin. Vic Godwin’s design was eventually accepted and the contract for building was given to Woodward and Dunn of Taree. Electrical wiring was done free of charge by Alex Skeet. On 30th December 1968 the committee held its first meeting in the now completed Clubhouse and the green which had been wholly completes was nearing readiness to play.

An approach was made to the Licensing Court in Taree on 8th January 1969 for a Certificate of Registration under the NSW Liquor Act. During the early part of these proceedings it became evident that due to impediments and omissions in the clubs very early records, the requirements to prove membership to the courts satisfaction would not be possible. The court granted approval for the club to withdraw from its application. Following the advice of the clubs solicitors the club disbanded on 1st February 1969.

On the same day a new club was formed, taking over assets and liabilities of the disbanded body. A new approach to the Licensing Court was planned and on 26th November 1969 the application was heard. Magistrate J.L. Fitzmaurice, in his decision, gave unqualified approval for the club to receive its Certificate of Registration under the NSW Liquor Act. Through all this the clubs solicitors Cleaves & Cleaves were an enormous help and their assistance was paramount in the clubs formation.

Foundation members of the reformed club were; W.R. Allan, J.M. Cleaves, W.I. Cleaves, T.H. Crane, C.H. Eastman, W. Fairbairn, W.J. Gleeson, K.G. Godwin, W.S. Grice, K. Hathorn, H.W. Johnstone, J.M. Logue, T. Lynch, J.R. Maitland, J.F. Marshall, H.C. Meads, A.F. Moncrieff, W.H.S. McGlashan, H.S. Neal, G. Riddell, R. Single, A.M. Skeet, D.J. Startin, J.W. Startin, R.H. Stewart, F.H. Summerville, R.N. Trotter, H.J. Wallis, C.J. Walman, F.W. Wynter. Office Bearers elected were: President R.N. Trotter Secretary F.W. Wynter Treasurer G. RiddellVice President C.R. Eastman.

Now that Black Head Bowling Club was licensed, volunteers manned the bar. Prominent among these were Dal and Eva Reeves who generously gave of their time. Many other unnamed gave freely and later Jim Horne donated much time voluntarily to the club as barman. His wife Sheila assisted and acted in many capacities over many years.Meanwhile Vic and Elvie Godwin kept themselves very busy bringing rocks from the beach and creating the surrounds and gardens much as they are today. Bob Stewart and Dick Eastman travelled to Cessnock and purchased the clubs first poker machines which were installed for New Years Eve 1969.

The first large flagpole was donated by Fred Walker of Newcastle while the Fishing Club supplied four smaller ones. A competition was run to design a club badge. This was won by Dick Eastman and the design was used up until the mid 1990’s when it was changed to the eagle, many of which can be seen hovering over the point adjacent to the club. Black Head Bowling Club was officially opened on 8th June 1975 by the then President of the Royal New South Wales Bowling Association, Mr. Don Isaacs. At this time there was only one green. The second being opened in 1980.

The Ladies Auxiliary of Black Head Bowling Club had contributed so much during the formation the club. On 18th December 1968 the auxiliary received a letter from the Men’s Bowling Club inviting them to form a Women’s Bowling Club the auxiliary responded by calling a meeting to form the new club.Office bearers were elected with Rene Brann elected President, Mabel Eastman – Secretary, Thelma Wilson – Treasurer. Vice Presidents were Elvie Godwin and Doreen Stewart. The club had 31 foundation members.Application was made to NSWWBA for permission to form the new club on 17th January 1969. A letter was received on 10th April 1969 saying affiliation had been granted.

Note: Many thanks to Neil Meath who, through his own research endeavours, provided the above history.

Original Clubhouse in 1997

Clubhouse in June 2010

Club Flagpole

Blackhead Bowling Club

Main Street,
Hallidays Point, NSW 2430
Telephone: 02 6559 2923

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