History of the Mt Pleasant Bowling Club

1944 - May 1st, 2012

In 1944 a small group met to discuss the feasibility of forming a Bowling Club. Mr Frank Gill became the first President and Mr Edgar the Vice President. In 1945 Mr Edgar died and Mr Milner took his place. The yacht club controlled most of Scott Park except for a Croquet Club, however the Council agreed to prepare a green.

 

The first A.G.M in September 1945 saw the Club affiliated with the Christchurch Bowling Centre and club colours were approved. The green, toilets and fencing were completed late 1946. The council charge was 812 pounds over 25 years at 3.50% interest.

 

In December 1946, the green was used for the first time. There were 34 members in 1948 and no ladies were allowed! In October that year with voluntary labour and an interest loan of 250 pounds, a pavilion was built, plus the purchase of tables and chairs etc. was made.

 

In 1953 an annual event with the Sheffield Bowling Club commenced and continued for many years. Frank Gill, Fred Short, C. Hunton and G. Congrieve were all the first elected life members in the 1950 period.

 

1960 was the year for the ladies and at last they were permitted to play. Kath Williamson, a legend of the Club, organised 6 foundation members, plus 5 more to form the ladies section at an annual subscription of 2 pounds 2 shillings. Kath was President for 6 years, Secretary for 11 and Treasurer for 2. She was also an outstanding bowler with C of C singles and pairs wins in her results.

 

Irving Sladen’s long service of 10 years as Treasurer, 4 as Secretary and 1 as President was also greatly appreciated. The first Christmas Party was in 1 tables, chairs and kitchen amenities.

 

1969 saw permanent concrete ditches built in, due to the centre having new depth regulation requirements, and the laborious task was completed satisfactorily. Hugh Morrison became Green Superintendent in 1970 and his lengthy, devoted term in charge provided a great surface and many compliments.

 

1971 the first bar was established and a profit of over $300 was recorded. The beer was purchased in half gallon flagons from the local hotel. A combined opening day with the ladies was held in 1972 including an invitation to the mayor and the local Member of Parliament.

 

More space for locker rooms was required so at a cost of $4800 these were built in 1975. To help cover costs the subs were increased to $25. This increase covered match fees as well.

 

Charlie Percy, the President at the time, introduced a Monday Triples Tournament in 1975 and this continued most successfully until the end in 2012. Mike Burns a Life Member and a great Club Member ran the Charlie Percy tournament over the latter years. In 1978 miniature cups were discontinued due to cost and they were replaced with certificates. This was to occur again in 2010.

 

It was a tragic year in 1978 with the passing of both Maurice McKendry [President] and Norm Muirson [Past President]. Acting President Joe Robertson died in 1979. Through the 1970/80 period members Norm Price, Warren Bennett, Hugh Morrison and Cliff Bond did a huge amount of work around the green and within the Club Rooms.

 

A motorised roller was purchased in 1983 at a cost of $2200.00. The reward for all that had taken place was that in 1985 the National Tournament was held at the club over 7 days. A great effort was made by all members and Mary McGregor a notable sportswoman had the gardens in tip top shape. The same year saw the ladies 25th Jubilee celebrated at the White Heron Hotel with a dinner and cocktail party.

 

In 1986 Bruce Mulholland and members installed an automatic watering system. Interest free debentures for 2 years were offered to members to help cover the costs.

 

In 1989 a very successful garage sale raised $2800 and these funds were put towards building extensions. Len Collett was the “king of the garage sales”, and more of these followed.

 

At the A.G.M of 1990 members were advised that a grant of $6000 had been received from the Lottery Board, so the proposed building project was confirmed. Gordon Honeybone a huge contributor to the Club was in charge, with Les Russell as the plumbing man and Jim Adorian as the electrician. Action was immediate at a final cost of $24,000. A great club rooms with new tables and chairs organised by the ladies.

 

So what next ? Drainage--Bruce Mulholland looked into the problem and in 1994 with funds raised the project was completed. Arthur Krivan and Peter Murdoch, both characters of the club, had been Presidents through this period and were great contributors. Hughie Connochie held the Treasurers position for a number of years and with his wife kept the gardens immaculate. The Ladies Section had a strong executive through this period with Mabel Sullivan as President for 2 years and Secretary for 7 years. Betty Hunter was Treasurer for 5 years, Mary McGregor and Fay Krivan were also both Presidents.

 

The highlight of the period was the 50th Jubilee and the most popular appointment was Esme and Norman Price being elected Women’s and Men’s Presidents respectively. The Ladies President in 1990/91 and Patron for many years after was Gina Adams. She was a great bowler and Club identity who had an iron grip on kitchen activities and organised some great Christmas entertainment. She is still our patron at the time of this article in 2014.

 

Marion Russell, with the support and involvement of her husband Les, was Ladies Treasurer in 1992/93 and 94. For the next 20 years she continued on Selection and Match Committees. June Langham, Di Manson, Marie Fleming all were great contributors to the Ladies Club for many years until the closure of the club in 2011. Club Secretary and Ladies Club Captain in the latter years was Margaret Scott who also did an excellent job. Margaret resigned from this position at the end of the season in 2013.

 

After the turn of the century the Club green was kept firstly by Keith Morgan and finally by Bruce Doak. “The best in town” was a remark which was regularly heard. And it was!!! Also, the grounds were immaculate due to the work done by John Laidlaw.

 

The Club was fortunate to have 3 Judges, Neil Hattaway, Michael Green and John Bisphan who all contributed in many ways to support the cause. Graham Lawn, a great club member with a strong financial history, along with Mike Burns, another long term member and umpire, began to look into possible opportunities to merge with another Club, putting much energy into this.

 

Sunday Tournaments, Social Evenings, Sponsored Events and incredible Christmas Parties made the Club the envy of many other clubs throughout the city, and having members who were behind the executive kept the Club in great heart.

 

In the latter period Sponsors were important and we were fortunate to have Ray White Prier Manson Real Estate, S.B.S Bank, Plumbing World, David Leckie Motors, Insulfoam Blocks and the Mad Butcher as our sponsors.

 

The September Earthquake of 2011 was a warning but nothing in our wildest dreams lead us to expect the damage and loss of life in February 2012. Our Club had severe damage to the rooms which was unrepairable and the Bowling Green being in such close proximity to the estuary was ripped apart and suffered from much liquifaction. A very sad sight. Insurance cover was on the Club Rooms but unfortunately not on the Green.

 

At the point of closure and when the amalgamation took place the membership was approximately 70 men and 42 ladies. I hope the above information is of benefit to the knowledge and history of the MOUNT PLEASANT BOWLING CLUB and personally I hope I have not offended anyone by missing out on their contribution to 68 wonderful years and at times a lot of hard work.

 

Russ Fergus

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Redcliffs Mt Pleasant Bowling Club & Function Centre, 9 James St, Redcliffs, Christchurch, 8081, New Zealand

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