1966 - Cockburn Bowling Club Formed

The history of the Cockburn Bowling and Recreational Club can be traced back to 1964 and to four men, Mr D. O’Brien, Mr A. Pedersen, Mr J. Marshall, and Mr J. Baker. These men, all actively involved in other Sporting and Community Associations, discussed the prospect of forming a club and after considerable ground-work called the first meeting on 22nd May 1964 in the Cockburn Memorial Hall, corner of Carrington Street and Rockingham Road in Hamilton Hill. 

Fourteen people attended this meeting, those present   being   Messrs. A.  Pedersen, S.K Elliman, F. W. Street, D. O’Brien, J. Marshall, Vice Presidents:  Mr A. Dowse and Mr B. Straughair, J. Baker, H. R. Tanner, H. Nineham, S. H. Vann, S.  Kent, D.  Miguel, J. Ireland, and Mesdames D. Every and E. J. Vann. 

Mr A. Pedersen chaired the meeting and Mr D.  O’Brien acted as Secretary and it was unanimously   decided that the “Cockburn District Bowling Club “be formed. 

The Secretary was instructed to order 1,000 dodgers to advertise a Meeting for the Election of Officers on 8th June 1964 in the Spearwood Agricultural Hall which was located on the land now occupied by the City of Cockburn Administration buildings. 

Discussion was held regarding a possible site for the club. The first site suggested was in Blackwood Avenue, Hamilton Hill, but the Shire Council of the day vetoed that location and said it should be in the Spearwood area. The obvious choice then, was part of the 12 acres given to the Cockburn Shire Council by the Spearwood District Fruit Growers and Market Gardeners Association to build a Civic Centre and provide amenities for the citizens of the Shire. 

It was in fact a condition for the donation of the land by the Fruit Growers and Market Gardeners Association that a Bowling and Recreational club be established on the land subject to the Spearwood Rovers Soccer Club agreeing to relocate to the adjacent land (at present the Council Carpark). 

Forty-four people, including nine ladies, attended the meeting held on 8th June 1964. The Minutes of the previous meeting were read by the Acting Chairman, Mr Alf Pedersen, and he together with Mr Des O’Brien, outlined the purpose of the meeting and gave a comprehensive report on information gained when they had met with the President and Secretary of the Fremantle Bowling Club. 

The Election of Office Bearers then took place: 

     President: Secretary: Mr S. Elliman 

     Secretary: No nominations. Mr O’Brien offered to be Acting Secretary 

     Vice Presidents:  Mr A. Dowse and Mr B. Straughair 

     Treasurer: Mr R. Tanner 

     Committee: Messrs. A. Beale, A. Pedersen, F. Street, H. Nineham, J. Marshall and M. Srdarov 

The books were opened for Foundation Members, the fee was originally set at five guineas, Ladies 50% of the Male rate. The fee was subsequently changed to two guineas for all Members on 10th August 1964 due to a lack of support. 

The Club began negotiations with the Cockburn Shire Council for the lease of the land in the Agricultural Hall Sporting Complex and for the lease of the Hall at a peppercorn rent with the right to sublet.   

A deputation attended the Shire Council and the Club was made caretaker of the Spearwood Agricultural hall for two shillings per year. A suitable area of land was to be made available for a Club House and four greens. 

 At this stage the President of the Spearwood Soccer Club, Mr J. Marshall with his Secretary Mr A. Beale (note that both were on the Committee of the Bowling Club) informed the Bowling club that the Soccer Club was willing to have their playing area moved from the south eastern corner of the complex to the north eastern corner to provide an area where a Club House and greens could be constructed with a minimum of earthworks. 

By the end of 1964 a Solicitor had been consulted re incorporation of the Club and various activities were being held in the Agricultural Hall. These included fund-raising events, dances, games nights and indoor bowls played on a Feltex mat purchased at threepence per yard. The inaugural winners of the singles championships were Tony Srhoy and Heather Harrison with the runners-up being Les Holloway and Sylvia Taylor. 

Foundation Members recall many happy times at the Spearwood Agricultural Hall while they were working and planning to establish the new Club House and Greens 1964/ 66 

Incorporation of the Cockburn Bowling and Recreational Club was completed by March 1965 and quotes had been obtained for the formation of the Greens at a cost of (£2000) Two thousand pounds and for the building of a Club House at a cost of (£18,000) Eighteen thousand pounds. 

A loan of (£20,000) Twenty thousand pounds was negotiated with the Cockburn Shire Council and with this money the site was prepared, earthworks completed, and the grassing of the Greens was expected by May 1965. ‘A’ and ‘B’ Greens were prepared by volunteers and special mention must be made of the work carried out on these Greens by the Club’s inaugural President, Mr Stan Elliman. 

 In October 1965 tenders were called for the construction of the Club House, the successful builder being L.S Basire & Co. 

 On 15th April 1966 the Club applied at the Western Australian Licensing Court for a Provisional Certificate of Club Registration. 

After much heartbreak and prolonged legal proceedings, the Club was formally granted its license 

On 29th April 1966 the Cockburn Ladies Bowling Club were formed, and the election of Office Bearers took place: 

     President: Mrs. L. Vann 

     Vice Presidents: Mesdames J. Street and B. Marshall 

     Secretary: Mrs C. Respini 

     Treasurer: Mrs H. Harrison 

     Committee: Mesdames B. Payne, A. Cain, T. Bertucci, E. Baughen, S. Taylor and N. Billingham 

On 21st May 1966 the Club’s first annual dinner and dance in the form of a buffet dinner at a cost of $3.50 per person was held in the Memorial Hall, corner of Carrington Street and Rockingham Road in Hamilton Hill. 

The first separately recorded meeting of this newly formed Committee was on the 1st June 1966, when a draft set of rules was presented. 

On   10th June 1966 membership fees were revised to male $12.00, associate $5.00 with nomination fee $6.00.  

The official opening of the Club House and Greens took place on 14th October 1967 and the Spearwood Agricultural Hall was subsequently demolished to make way or the Cockburn Administration Centre.  

In 1967 the Club’s first Bar Manager, Mr Frank Respini, opened the bar with prices being a jug of Beer 85 cents, a middy 10 cents and a glass 9 cents.  

The 1966/67 season saw the Cockburn men play their first Pennant Competition Game. 

This was to be the beginning of an era of success that was never ever envisaged and one that would culminate 25 years later with an Australasian record.  

 A donation of $1,050.00 was made by the Yugoslav Immigrants Association (YIA) Branch (NAPREDNI)1   which was used for bar furnishings. Miro Srdarov donated the Club Flagpole and George Dobra donated the furniture for the Visitors’ Room.  

The Spearwood District Market Gardeners and Fruit Growers Association finally wound up their Association and handed over approximately $3,000.00 to the Bowling Club towards the building of a retaining wall. 

Negotiations with the Metropolitan Transport Trust to obtain old trolley bus poles to· use as light standards were successful and on 11th January 1969 the first night bowls were played. 

Cockburn had their Bowling Club, but about this time it had become apparent that the Club had no way of repaying the loan to the Council. In the Minutes there are references to meetings with the Shire and talk of requests to have the repayments of the loan deferred. 

In an endeavour to resolve the repayment problems a special Ratepayers Meeting was called. The Ratepayers present (most of them bowlers) voted that the Council take over the servicing of the Loan. As a result of this decision the Council imposed an Annual Rental of 1.4% of gross income calculated yearly from the Club’s Financial Report. 

Extensions & Bar prices increased

Extensions to the hall were made in 1973 by pushing out the south side wall, thereby making the former veranda part of the Hall. 

The Secretary’s office was removed, and the Visitors Room became the Secretary’s office. 

A front porch to enclose the front entrance of the Club was also erected in 1973. 

Bar prices were increased on 1st April 1975 to jugs $1.20, middy 28 cents and glass 18 cents.  

On 19th July 1975 a dinner for Foundation Members was held in the Club rooms providing an insight into the progress of the Club since its humble beginning. 

In 1978 when the Cockburn Town Council was completing its Civic Centre and parking area on the high land adjoining and north of the Bowling Club, an exchange of land took place between the Council and the Club.  

This gave the Club more land on the northern side of ‘A’ and ‘B’ Greens adjoining the Council car park and it was obvious that a retaining wall would be needed and in this regard a brick stepped retaining wall designed to also serve as a viewing stand for bowling events was built. 

In 1980 the Committee of the day decided that in the interests of the Club’s future, major extensions to the Club were required at an estimated cost of $70,000 (Seventy thousand dollars). These extensions created a lounge area plus separate areas for pool and dart players. 

Following application to the Council, the Club was subsequently advised that a self-supporting loan would have to be taken out between the Club and the R & I Bank through the Cockburn City Council. 

On 26th May 1980 a loan of $60,000 (Sixty Thousand Dollars) repayable over 15 years at $4,499.77 every six months was secured. As a shortfall of some $10,000 existed between the estimate for the extensions and furnishings a champagne breakfast in the form of a ‘Loan-A-Thon’ was held. Through the generosity of the members an amount of $14,000 – in varying amounts – was loaned to the Club on an ‘interest free’ basis. 

The extensions were officially opened by His Worship the Mayor, Mr Don Miguel on the 18th October 1981, on the same day two Greens were dedicated. 

‘A’ Green was dedicated to Mr Eugene Edwardes who had been Shire Clerk at the time the Club was formed.   His assistance and advice, particularly in the construction of the carpark and entrance road to the Club, had proved invaluable to the Committees of the Club who had worked to get the Club established. ‘B’ Green was dedicated to Mr Alf Dowse, Foundation Member, Life Member and Green­ Keeper.  

Alf first assisted on the Greens in 1965 and after suffering a heart attack in 1966 was back working full time as the Club’s Green­ keeper in 1968. Much of the work done in the very early days was voluntary, and then later an amount of $1.00 per hour was paid, gradually increasing until a regular wage could be afforded.  

The Greens, with Alf in charge, were excellent, a credit to his workmanship and knowledge. 

In 1982 a Memorial Garden at the entrance to the Club was established, dedicated to Mr Jack Marshall, Co-Founder and Life Member.  

Jack was a tireless worker for the Club and served in various capacities on the Committee. 

On 16th December 1984 extensions to the rear of the Club at a cost of $25,000 from accumulated Club funds took place. These included extending/enlarging the kitchen and Ladies locker room and providing a much-needed committee room. 

In 1986 the barbecue area upgrade was completed with the provision of a roof and brick paving at minimal cost. Acknowledgement is made of the work of Mr Jack Srhoy and his helpers on this project and of Jack’s overall contribution to the Club particularly with the design and installation of the Club’s Honour Boards. 

The Cockburn Bowling and Recreational Club boasted a Clubhouse and facilities equal to any within Western Australia at the time, this would not have been possible without the many, voluntary hours contributed by the various Members of the Club and the high standard of administration within the Club since its inception. 

Recognition is made of the contribution of Mr. Fred Street who completed 24 years of service in various capacities on Executive and Committee. 

The Club owes a debt of gratitude to the Bowling ladies who have been a tower of strength in all aspects, including fund raising and the thousands of dollars contributed over the years which greatly assisted the committee in providing furnishings, fittings, and many and varied bowling green projects.

Once the decision had been made to form the Club, thoughts turned to bowling and in 1965 ‘A’ and ‘B’ greens were completed and in play. Few, if any, had played before but what was lacking in skill and experience was made up for with enthusiasm and in first 1966/67 season, the first pennant game was played. 

Playing in 6th division in 1967/68 Cockburn won their first pennant and in 1973/74 were undefeated in winning the 1st Division pennant. Since entering 1st Division, 13 out of a possible 17 top grade pennants have been won including 5 successive years 1985/86 to 1989/90 resulting in an Australasian record.   

Many other pennants and promotions have been won both in Saturday and Mid-week competitions, making the Club’s achievements the envy of all.                                                              

Special mention is made of Peter Sardelic participation in playing in 32 winning pennant teams. 

Two notable team achievements stand out, a Cockburn four comprising Les Holloway, John Ravlich, Peter Sardelic and Milan Bacich won the “Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Cup” in 1977 and in 1979 the “Australian Fours Championships” was won by Doug Carmody, Tony Srhoy, Les Holloway and Steve Srhoy. 

Many individuals have excelled at the highest level resulting in an impressive list of State team representatives, State and Championship titles and Club singles winners. Three members have had the distinction of Australian representation – Ron Taylor 1979, Steve Srhoy 1982, 1983 and 1990, Peter Sardelic 1985, and 1986 as a member of the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games team as skipper of the fours. 

The “Lindsay Rosenthal Medal” for Western Australia outstanding bowler of the year has produced 5 Cockburn winners – Steve Srhoy 1978, Les Holloway 1979 and 1980, Milan Bacich 1981 and Marko Krajancic 1987.  

In 1989, on the occasion of the Club’s 25th Anniversary, the Club saw fit to recognise the long and distinguished playing service of 7 members by presenting “Achievement Medals” to Milan Bacich, Peter Novak, Spiro Novak, John Ravlich, Peter Sardelic, Steve Srhoy and Tony Srhoy. 

In summary many members have brought distinction and recognition to the club both in major and minor events, making Cockburn one of the best known and respected clubs in Australia. 

Cockburn Bowling Club Undercover

As Leaseholder of a cutting-edge $9m+ facility, Cockburn Bowling and Recreational Club celebrated its 54th year in style moving from the Spearwood Club rooms to its new home located at Visko Park in Yangebup. 

The Cockburn CRC and Cockburn Bowling Club new facilities were officially opened on Saturday 1st September 2018 at 10:00 AM, the new club is located, corner of Beeliar Drive and Birchley Road. 

The facility was opened by Senator Slade Brockman (representing Sports Minister McVeigh) and the Mayor of the City of Cockburn Logan Howlett. 

The new 1,400sqm+club and recreation facility includes the following: 

  • Two x 10 rink sand filled synthetic bowling greens (one fully under cover with LED lighting) and the other green outdoor with LED lighting and spectator shelters. 
  • two soccer pitches with outdoor lighting (Futsal courts) 
  • four beach volleyball courts (available for community hire/ membership) 
  • Multi-purpose facility with kitchen, restaurant, function room for 367 patrons (available for community hire) 
  • Members bar area for 361 patrons, a TAB facility and direct access to the two new synthetic bowling greens (one under cover green), the members have their own entry lobby area. 
  • Commercial kitchen, cool room, and store 
  • Conference room and office facilities 
  • Change rooms and toilets 
  • Carpark – 150 car bays including accessible car bays 
  • Grassed area with playground 

 Special recognition and acknowledgement of the City of Cockburn and the Federal Government for providing $9.5M funding for the construction with over $4.5M sourced from the National Stronger Regions Fund grant from the Commonwealth Government for the construction of the new facilities. 

This venue provides first rate facilities for sport, recreation, and the community to take the Cockburn Bowling Club on its next exciting journey. 

 Mayor Howlett said a focus of Cockburn’s newest recreation facility was enabling families to increase their activity levels together close to home in a safe, welcoming social environment. 

“Being more physically active in our everyday lives doesn’t always have to be hard work. At Cockburn Bowling and Recreational Club Inc. there will be a focus on family-oriented games and competitions with an accent on fun and making new social connections,” Mayor Howlett said. 

“Belonging to a club and getting active is great for our physical health but is also an important part of staying mentally agile and involved in our community.”