The History of the Club as remembered by Les Grigson Inaugral and Life Member of the Club.
In the early 50s there was nothing sporting out here only sand drift and swamp with cattle roaming from Clontarf.
In 1957 the RSL decided Manning needed a sporting club, so the only sporting club they could think of was a bowling club. There is a picture on the wall in the club with a couple of the blokes who started if off.
The first meeting to form the club was in the St Peter’s Hall on Monday the 8th of April 1957 and they formed Manning Memorial Bowling Club. I was at the meeting, there were 18 elected to form the Committee. A President, and two Vice Presidents (as two blokes wanted to be vice president) a Secretary, Treasurer and 13 make up the rest of the committee and I was one of the 13 elected.
The club was started some time later and the clubhouse was about 5m by 5m (the area where the four pillars are in the club). The original area was all swamp and tea trees and the cattle used to roam through until we put the fence up. The back of that was a heap of sand where we used to shovel up the sand and loam for the greens
The first meeting was held in Noughtons Business Place in Melville Parade but that has since gone since the freeway went through. The rest of the meeting were held on the verandah of the primary school and it was bloody cold.
My job was to raise finance and I worked in town by selling tickets. Arthur Judge opened an open air theatre in Welwyn Avenue, where the garage used to be. I sold the tickets for Judgey and the Club would get 50%. Harold Munday (another long time member) lived opposite the theatre and he and his mates used to club up his tree to watch the movies.
We made 118 pound from our original raffle. Dutchy Holland’s daughter won second prize which was a set of bowls which Dutchy was still using when he finished bowls many years later. The tickets were one shilling each and a set of bowls then was 7 pound fifteen, I know because that what it cost me for my first set of bowls. I sold them to a lady in Applecross some years later for the same price.
We used Spearwood sand mixed with loam and some other stuff and the grass we got from Mends Street. We used to go down there every Sunday morning and spend all day pulling the couch grass out and then brought it back here and planted it in runners. We had to chop the runners so that it could be controlled. We had a lot of RSL workers who helped for months and months.
Fred Jones used to live on the corner and and he said he was a builder so he would put the greens down and A and B, but when we checked there was a seven inch drop across the greens. Press Brothers became interested and they built the clubhouse at cost, especially old Tom Press and he was always there.
The original club was like a postage stamp, 4 yards by 4 yards. The pillars in the club upt to where the machine is was the original clubhouse. The toilets were on the north side and the wall used for darts.
Where the power pole is between C green and D green was as big gum tree that the members chopped down by hand as there was no machinery available.
The water table was only 8 inches under the surface so we had to dig deeper to find water suitable for the greens.
Best bowler Les has seen at the club was Arthur Hall but he said that they tried to get Bert Sharp to come to the club but he wanted money so stayed at Vic Park.
The club started actual pennants with 2 fourth division teams that cleaned everyone up. Les, Dutchy Holland and Tom Pres were the selectors and there selection was unique. Three blokes worked at the PMG and weren’t bad blokes so they formed one team, another team was made up of members of the RSL, and another team all got on with each other so this 16 became one side and the second side were picked along similar lines.
Les was a Member of the Club since 1957. He was Secretary for 9 years, a selector and fund raiser during his years at Manning.