Life Member Stories

Deborah Capper

Deb CapperI began bowling 35 years ago at Manning when the club was very large. Because of work commitments in the earlier years I mainly played social bowls. I then began playing pennants and have played all divisions including Premier. I have played Tuesday, Friday night and Saturday Pennants.

I was brought up in the country and went to Primary School in Mollerin and then boarding school at St Mary’s Anglican boarding in West Perth and bussing it to Karrinyup to classes.

I began my working career as a Dental Assistant which I loved. After having my two sons I began doing bar and restaurant work and found hospitality to be very rewarding. I also did work in the office of a catering supply company for eight years. I then was a cold larder cook in a hospital and am ending my work career by doing bookwork from home.

Over the years I have been Tuesday selector, Saturday Selector, President, Ladies captain, paid and volunteer bar attendant and kitchen Co-ordinator.

I am also on the board of BWA and on the Club Development Committee. My tenure on these finishes this year after four years, and I will be standing down.

I enjoy being involved in the bowls community because it has people from all ages and walks in life playing or just enjoying being part of a club. The friendships you make are wonderful and some for life. To be able to give something back to the Bowls Community is part of being a part of that club to make it better for present and future members.

Cooking and sewing are my hobbies and a new found interest in art. I am sure people will be clambering for my paintings shortly (not). Between us John and I have five children, six grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

I am a very lucky woman. Thank you for being there for me.

Cheers Deb

Phil Gillespie

Phil GillespieI joined the Manning Memorial Bowling Club in November 1974 after leaving Gnowangerup and moving to Perth with my wife Sue. Having played bowls in the country for 5 years and now living in Salter Point it made sense to join Manning as it was very close. My first visit to the club was an experience I will never forget. I walked into the club on a Friday evening and I guess there was about 200 members in the club. Before I reached the bar I was asked the question by 4 or 5 people, what are you doing in our club. In those days the club was one of the larger bowling clubs with in excess of 500 male and female members. We later had a closed membership of 600.

Throughout the seventies and eighties the club fielded 12 pennant teams on a Saturday and 14 mid-week teams. The club regularly had 120 plus players involved in club championships.
The bar trading hours were 11am – 11pm daily with reduced hours on Sundays and with most members living locally the club was a hive of activity throughout the week. The club social committee as, it was then known, was very active with regular social functions, meals etc within the club.

I originally joined the general committee during the 1977/78 season and over the next twenty years or so acted on match, social, grounds and house committees. My first task as the newest committee member was to keep the 2 beer jugs full at all times during the meetings. Often with 18 members on committee meetings often went over 2 Mondays. I held the position of Vice President on 4 occasions between 1982 and 2011. I was also a pennant selector on two occasions for a total of 8 years.

I took over as President from 1993 to 1996. During this period the bar was remodelled, the first time in over 25 years, the chairs and tables in the lounge were replaced, our first
computer was purchased, a new office for the treasurer was erected and new pennant result boards installed.

After my term as President, I was asked to rewrite the original club constitution. I took on this task and after 12 months presented the upgraded constitution to members. Not only was it adopted by the Manning Bowling Club but Bowls WA requested to use it as a basis for new clubs starting off throughout WA. In those days only males were accepted as members with ladies as associate members paying half fees. Fortunately, this has now all changed.

During the late nineties the club began to decline both financial and numbers of pennant players. This was due mainly to an ageing membership and limited numbers of new members joining. Back then most bowlers lived in the area where they bowled. The club had lost all the higher grades with our top side 2nd division. The ladies were also struggling for the same reason. After a Saturday pennant game, the late Bill Pengilly said to me what are we going to do with our club. (His words were a bit more colourful than that). After some lengthy discussion Bill and myself decided we should put a proposal to the committee to investigate appointing a promotion/development person as several club were already doing this with success. The committee decided to appoint a sub-committee of three people to look into this and report back on a proposal. I was fortunate to be on this sub-committee.
The end result was the appointment of Peter Bowden as promotion/development for the club. This in due course changed the bowls status of both ladies’ and men’s bowls at Manning and we are still seeing the benefits to this day.

On the bowls front I was fortunate to represent Manning at the top level from 1976 – 1989 skippering our top side during that time. During 1987 I was selected in the State squad, represented the metropolitan side for three years with a big chance of a state blazer in sight until a loaded semi-trailer decided he needed all the road instead of sharing with me. The result of this put me out of bowls for 4 years but I am pleased to still be able to play although not at previous levels. Bowling achievements include runner up in the state triples, over 20 club championships at Manning including 2 club singles titles.

Most of the members we have nowadays have joined since 2000 but I am pleased to say that even though times and the club has changed in that time we still have one of the best, if not the best, bowling clubs in WA.

Les Grigson

LESThe 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.

Keith Freestone

KFreestoneKeith joined the Manning Memorial Bowling Club in 96

He has played pennants since but has reduced his commitment due to failing health. Keith has a goal to play again in 2013 to complete 50 years of playing.

He has been a Club Selector and on Grounds but is best know for his volunteer work with the gardens, especially the roses, since 1991. He has been involved in a lot of the external beautification of the club and hopes to continue volunteering for a few more years yet.

Keith has a keen interest in horse racing, AFL, cricket, touring, reading, music and of course gardening.

He is very interesting to chat to if you would like to know about some of the characters who have graced our club over the years.

Keith has experienced many highlights but considers the amalgamation of the men’s and ladies clubs as being one that stands out.

Keith is a very humble and quite man who does not like fuss but just gets in and does the job.  A deserved Life Member of our club.

Sadly Keith passed away in March 2015.

Barry Allen

Barry and his wife Lindsay left their Bruce Rock Farm in 1995, moving to Manning where he joined the Manning Bowling Club that same year. He became a very keen and competent bowler still playing pennants in 2012.

Moving to the big smoke could have been fraught. No sheep to check, no crop to sow, no machines to repair.  But no worries, Barry became a legend when the “Country Culture” kicked in. There were things to be done at the Club and volunteering became a daily activity. Barry was an important member of a team of volunteers who assisted David, our Greenkeeper, tending to the gardens and the bowling greens.

Barry’s specialities were daily raking of the ditches, maintaining the capping and plinths surrounding the greens, and his two rose gardens at the front of the Clubhouse.  There were very few mornings in a year that the white Subaru Ute “BK 172” did not turn up at the Club. Many members will remember him on his little stool with wheels, repainting the capping around each green. Without instruction Barry would carry out his daily duties, and near enough was not good enough. If it had to be done, it had to be done properly.

Barry Allen: Reliable? YES; Fair and honest?  YES; The perfect gentleman, respected by all? ABSOLUTELY. It is no wonder that Barry Allen was granted the honour of “Life Membership” of the Manning Eagles in 2009. He was also a Life Member of the Bruce Rock Cricket Club and a 50 year plus member of the WACA.

Robert Uppill

Rob_Uppill_30Robert joined Manning Memorial Bowling Club after moving into town from Tammin in 2001.  He is married to Lyn Uppill.

Robert has been Club President for 2 years during which time the decision to employ a club development officer commenced “Manning on the Move”.  He remains active in the club being the backup greenkeeper.  He has been Grounds Chairman, Greens Director and key holder/security for several years.

Rob started playing pennants in 2001 and was a member of the Thursday teams which saw Manning’s top team rise above 3rd division.  He has been a regular skipper in 3rd Division on Saturdays and has played in the 1st division on Thursdays.

Robert is a board member of the Manning Senior Citizens, volunteer bus driver and recently took over the duties of Committee Chairman working towards a men’s shed at the centre.

He enjoys caravanning especially with family and friends and has travelled extensively throughout WA and Australia.  He also enjoys a spot of fishing. He latest and greatest interest is being “Pop” to his granddaughters.

Rob attended a call out when two burglars broke into the rear door of the bar cool room. They were seen by neighbours running off with a few tinnies.  So damaged was the door that it could not shut fully, so the alarm switch on the door would not work..or so thought the two burglars!!.  “I roped the door shut from the inside, set the alarm and headed off home.  The crooks, thinking the alarm would not go off, returned with a ute.  They touched the door, the alarm went off and so did the villains.”

Rob’s highlight of his time at Manning was when one of the objectives of putting on Peter Bowden was achieved…Manning winning “Club of the Year”.  Other highlights were being granted Interstate events on our greens and being recognised as turf greens that set the standard for Perth.

Rob sums up ”With Manning on the move I am very pleased to see it being recognised as a friendly club, and a club that welcomes country bowlers”.

Darrell Andrews

DarrellDarrell joined Manning in 1980 and has since played pennants both Thursday and Saturday, and plays bowls with the Pakka Group and Saturday mixed events.  He is still playing at the age of 78 years.

From 1991-93 Darrell spent two years on the Management Committee as a member of the Match Committee.

In 2001 Darrell retired from commercial and domestic building and became a regular member of the working party at the club. He works on maintenance to the club house and help on the grounds when required.

In 2003 Darrell was elected to the Management Committee as House Chairman, a position he still holds.

Faye Doran

Fay DoranI became a member of the MMBC in 1988 when my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given three months to live. He was then Vice President of the Club. He lost a three year battle only five months after becoming President.

I vowed at that time I would do my best to become a worthy member and work hard to carry out some of his wishes for the Club.

In 1991 was elected Ladies Vice President and then President in the same year due to sad circumstances.

In my three years as Ladies President I became the Ladies Club Delegate and Ladies Committee Member and I continued on in these roles for 14 years. I became a National Umpire in 1990 – 2007.

In 1993 we were the host Club for the National Round Robin and following this the Australian National Carnival, three very busy weeks but great fun. We waited another 15 years before we had a National Sides Carnival again but this time I was the Club President!

The club was always busy with five lawn greens, so many organized games were played and the social activities were continuous.

There were over 250 lady bowlers, we had 12 pennant divisions and the men had over 400 members.

We had numerous visits from other countries over the years, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Scottish and British teams.

We also hosted the lnternations Day and Dinner, which was huge.

I also organised 5 Christmas in July luncheons and several fashion parades on the bowls clothes of today, tomorrow, and in space, weird but enjoyable.

The State President of the West Australian Ladies Bowls Association approached me when I was nearing the end of my 3 year term to see if I would like to become an Executive Member. I would still be able to play pennants and championship and club games and hold some positions when not on State duties.

In 1995 I became a member of WALBA.

For two years I was on the Rules Committee and then I was asked to stand for Vice President and then Deputy President.

I learnt so much about bowls and bowling people. I managed Junior, Senior and Development squads and visited so many country and city clubs, it was a wonderful experience.

When I became State Deputy President I became a National Delegate and a member of the Australian Womens Bowls Council which involved a lot more interstate travel for games, meetings and workshops on National and State Unification with the Australian Sports Commission.

Numerous contact with fellow delegates and with Bowls Australia board members and their committees and players. It was important to our State and Clubs to network.

I was appointed a National Selector and was lucky enough to travel to Manchester with the National Squad prior to the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, both the English and Welsh came to practice with us.

An incredible experience.

In 2001-2003 I was elected State President, I was still a National Delegate and member of A.W.B.C. but relinquished some positions both Club and National.

It was a busy two years, lots of travel and meetings but I am happy to say W.A. first introduced colour to our uniforms.

2004-2005 I became Club Vice President, Vice President Southern Region, Club Ladies Selector and member of Sub Committee to appoint Coach/Development Officer Peter Bowden. Good decision fellow Members! Peters input turned our Club around very quickly with many new members coming to the Club and his work ethic raised our standard of bowling, a sure road to success.

2005-2009 Club President.

I had so many things on my bucket list, refurbishment of the Club for the Clubs 50th Anniversary, new carpet, lights, painting, furniture, veranda overlooking an 8-rink synthetic green, new kitchen, new front doors and side doors all accomplished by so many wonderful people who chose to help us attain these goals for the Club.

I think the most exciting time in the 4 years in office was the Club winning the Club of the Year 3 times.

An emotional time was being presented with Life Membership of the Club in 2007.

A truly wonderful experience being a Bowler, you get to play a game you love, you meet so many incredible people, I am so glad I chose to be a bowler back in 1998.

After my retirement I took on the Club library for 7 years, something I started when I became Ladies President and when I took on other roles Win Meares my dear friend and mentor in the early days took over.

2009-2019 I was appointed Vice Patron of the Club.