History of the First 30 Years:

Chapter 1

In The Beginning

The land now known as Burden Park was purchased by John Boehn in 1854. Little use was made of the land, so it became a scrub area.

In 1923, largely through the efforts of George Burden and Andrew Ericksen, Dandenong Shire Council’s attention was drawn to the fact that two enterprising gentlemen (unknown) had fenced some of the land and were using it for their own purposes. It was then Council decided to obtain control of the land by paying back rates. In 1928 court approval was given to Dandenong Council to acquire the land for use as a reserve. All trace of John Boehn and his descendants had disappeared many years before.

The area was named Burden Park Reserve after George Burden, who owned a store on the corner of Springvale Road and Balmoral Avenue and who had served as a North Ward Councilor for thirty-four years. The cost of the whole area was £2240.0.0 ($4480.00).

The Burden family, through current social member, Ron Burden, donated the wall table that houses the visitor’s book. Mrs. C. Hill of the menswear store in Balmoral Avenue and Mrs. J. Rollings, who does so much for the Historical Society, are sisters of Ron.

In 1949, the State Rivers Commission established a migrant camp on the northwest corner. The camp housed mainly Central European migrants who were engaged in the task of laying water services throughout the Springvale township area, which was beginning to grow. Near the camp, trenches about 12 feet wide and 12 feet deep were dug to accommodate the waste problem. The waste was not compacted as it is today and when the trenches were filled, they were covered with about two feet of soil. As a consequence, the land has been sinking ever since – nearly forty years – hence the problems we have had with No. 3 green and with the building along the southern wall. It is still possible to dig down three feet and bring up papers perfectly preserved.

It was not until 1958 that any serious attempt was made to utilize Burden Park as a recreational area. The Girl Guides used the area for their bush camping exercises, but little else was done. Springvale Council had been proclaimed by this time and they set aside one-half penny in the pound from the rates as a Sporting Club Development Fund and called meetings of interested people to form a bowling club and a tennis club. This meeting, instigated and chaired by the Shire President, Mr. Jack Edney, was held on Thursday, May 29th, 1959. Many will remember Jack Edney as a businessman in both Springvale and Noble Park.

As a great deal of interest was shown, it was decided to hold a further meeting. The first recorded minutes were from a meeting held in the President’s room on Thursday, 4th June 1959. There were eighteen persons present, two of whom are present members Willis Reeve and Jess Johaneon. This was to be the meeting that saw the Burden Park Bowling Club come into existence.

It was moved by Cr. N. Billing and seconded by Cr. F. Wachter “that a bowling club be formed”. Norm Billing became the Member of Parliament for Springvale and lived directly opposite the club in Heatherton Road.

It was moved by Cr. F. Wachter and seconded by Mr. Anstis that the club be known as “The Burden Park Bowling Club”.

At this meeting a provisional committee was formed to begin planning for the club. Members of the committee were:-

Mrs. Elliot, Mr. Harmer
Mr. Nash, Cr. F. Wachter
Mr. W. Reeve, Mr. Anstis
Cr. W Chadwick, Mr. D. Cunningham

Meetings were held in various halls in Springvale and Noble Park and in the homes of  Willis Reeve and Jean Johanson. Members of the committee visited homes throughout the district to obtain as many members as possible.

At a special meeting on December 4th, 1959, in the Mechanics Hall, Springvale the first Annual General Meeting was held, and office bearers elected.

President Mr. W. Chadwick
Snr. Vice President Mr. W. Reeve
Jnr, Vice President Mr. E. Elliot
Secretary Mr. S. Harmer
Treasurer Mr. J. Coldwell
Committee Cr. F. Wachter
Cr. W. Key
Mr. L. Hayes
Mr. R. Hetherington
Mrs D. Cunningham
Mr. Johns
Mr. V. Smith
Mr. A. Graves

This committee remained in office until June 1961 when the second Annual General Meeting was held. The committee under Bill Chadwick was soon hard at work. Fees were set and a compulsory debenture amount of ten pounds paid.

With the help of Mr. Colin Barlow, a local solicitor a constitution was drawn up and on his advice the club was formed as a company and registered with the Corporate Affairs Office on April 14th, 1960.

In December 1959 Mr. Egan Lee, the Shire Engineer, presented a site plan to the club which wan accepted ~ a hospital along the Olympic Avenue boundary was a feature of the plan.

The Burden Park Bowling Club was now under way, but the real work of greens, clubhouse and equipment was yet to come.

Of interest to all In that of the original members of the club of 1959, only three have had thirty years of unbroken membership George Law, Alma Saunders and Leila Gough.

Chapter 2

The Exciting 60’s

1960 saw the beginning of the real work of founding The Burden Park Bowling Club. President Bill Chadwick proved to be a dynamic leader, ably assisted by a hard-working committee. Three important sub-committees were elected.

I. FINANCE W. Chadwick, W. Kay and J. Coldwell, whose duties were to establish the financial requirements of all sub-committees and to find ways of obtaining the necessary finance.

2. GROUNDS W. Reeves, R. Nash and B. Elliot. Their brief was, “to obtain quotes for laying of greens, to organize working bees, to liaise with council in an effort to obtain assistance, to make recommendations for machinery, fences, water, paths, electric lights 

3. THE BUILDINGS Mr. Pomroy, Mr. Gunther and Mr. White. Ton greens, shelters, tool shed, and to have greens in a fit condition for play by” September 1960“. I must say this was a daunting assignment.heir task was to arrange temporary accommodation to arrange for toilets, to have water and electricity connected and to begin planning for permanent clubrooms. With planning Mr. Gunther provided capable help, as he was a prominent local builder.

The first task was to establish greens. In this area Springvale Council, through City Engineer Mr. Egan Lee, gave immense assistance making available machinery and trucks for the necessary preliminary work. Working bees were a continuing feature both through weekdays and weekends at the club and through the efforts of these diligent, voluntary workers, the greens quickly took shape.

It was decided in October 1960 to employ a full-time greenkeeper. Sam Hodgson had the job for a short time before Arthur Neilson took over, remaining in the job for some years. Bowlers of that era well remember the wonderful job that Arthur did on the greens, for during his time the surface was in excellent condition. Green Director was Harry Lawrence,but he resigned in 1961. 

Although the September 1960 deadline to have the greens completed was not met, he continued to give outstanding service in other areas. Ted Elliot took over as Green Director and continued the excellent job that had been done for play to commence on 20th January 1961, which of course was a magnificent effort by all concerned.

Due to the foresight of the Planning Committee, lights had been incorporated with the green construction and as a consequence night bowls became a very popular segment of the early program.

At the official opening of the greens on Saturday 23rd September 1961 over two hundred members and visitors were present and when Fred Allen, Vice-President of the R.V.B.A. officially opened the greens for the 1961/62 seasons the brief of the original Greens Committee with Green Director Harry Lawrence and Greenkeeper Arthur Neilson, had truly been successfully completed.

The buildings were, of course, a major concern. A tool shed was first priority, followed by a small, corrugated iron shed, painted green, which was utilized as the first clubrooms. It was situated where the Tournament Office now stands.

The first positive step was an authorization for the committee to borrow £3500.0.0 – a motion moved by Peter Wain.

In March 1962 Dick Kelson presented plans of the new clubhouse to a special meeting of general members. The plan again showed the foresight of our original planners for, as explained by Willis Reeves it was a large concept but one that would suit the needs of the club for many years to come.

Ossie Gunther, who was to build the clubrooms explained technical details to the members present.

Mr.N.Cummins, Manager of the Commonwealth Bank at Noble Park, summed up the finances required. He stated:

1. The club had 2,000 pounds

2. 1,000 pounds was available to be borrowed from the bank under a guarantee arrangement, The loan money was to be immediately available.

3. Further monies could be raised later to complete the clubhouse and furnishings.

On the motion of Frank Lowe, seconded by Don McLeod, the plans as presented were accepted and the financial arrangements approved. All was in readiness for Ossie Gunther to proceed with the building.

The official opening of the building took place on May 25th, 1963, and again Fred Allen of the R.V.B.A. performed the opening ceremony.

When completed the project cost 10,000 pounds, but 4,000 pounds was still owing. The guarantors were highly delighted when the debt to the bank was finally paid.

The officials of the club had changed from the inaugural officials.
They were:
President W.Chadwick
Vice Presidents S.Coote and E.Elliot
Secretary P.Wain
Treasurer N.Cummins
Committee H.Lawrence, C.Barnet, R.Kelson, R.Nash, F.Wachter, A.Graves, V.Smith and L.Hayes

It is of interest that Vic Smith was the grandfather of present member Mike Smith.

A highlight of the evening of the official opening was the bestowal of the club’s first life membership to Bill Chadwick, an honour richly deserved, for it was largely due to Bill’s energy and drive that so much had been achieved in the space of three years.

The stage had now been reached where the club had very satisfactory greens, a most functional clubhouse and was progressing very well.

From Dandenong Journal 25th May 1963

In the 1961/62 bowls season two pennant teams were entered, with the C2 team being successful in winning their section and the D4 team finishing second in their section. The first club championships were played in 1961/62 season and the winners were Bill Robertson (father of John, Jim and Margaret Clark) and Mrs. R. Long.

In 1963 life memberships were bestowed on Harry Lawrence and Reg Nash for their work for the new club.

In the middle of the sixties the club progressed steadily, this being a period of consolidation after the hectic initial years.

1967 was highlighted by two major setbacks. First, it was a year of drought and secondly, a serious disagreement with the ladies took place.

The drought caused grave concern. The poor pressure of water led to a request that the bowling club and tennis clubs have a separate water service, for both used large quantities of water at times. Members were levied $10.00 from which a tank was purchased. The tank stood for many years near the present lady’s room. Much discussion took place about a bore being a possibility, however the cost of this project was prohibitive. Luckily, rain fell in sufficient quantities to revive the greens, which though badly affected did, in time, completely recover.

The disagreement with the ladies was a most unfortunate occurrence and was brought about by a lack of communication between the two committees, a lack of common sense by both bodies and unwillingness by both to negotiate a reasonable settlement. When eventually a settlement was reached, over what was really a very minor matter of 40 cents a great deal of damage had been done, resulting in the resignation of some prominent members and, of course, a serious disruption to club progress.

In August 1969 life membership was awarded to Alan Graves, who for many years was a tower of strength in all fields of club endeavor. The award was well received by all members present.

The question of consumption of liquor on club premises had been hotly debated over a period of years. It was not until September 1969 that the club applied for and was granted a license, which allowed liquor to be consumed on the premises. Members who wished to have a drink brought their own bottles, which were stored in a refrigerator in the men’s room and drunk in the men’s room – a very poor system compared with what we have today.

And so, on this note, the sixties came to an end. It was a period when so much had been accomplished in the space of a few years and so much was promised for the future. But towards the end of this period, we saw a decline in membership, serious financial problems, a relatively poor club spirit, and a lack of new members joining and the need to re-establish Incentives.

Chapter 3

The 70’s – Stability Regained

At the end of the sixties and now the beginning of the seventies, the club was in a state of lethargy. Membership had fallen to below 90 men, new members were not joining in any great numbers, social bowls on Sundays were at a low level of interest (8 – 16 players being quite common) and club finances were not strong.

It wag suggested that the high joining fee of $30.00 deterred people from joining. A special general meeting was held on 24th February 1971 to debate the matter. After lengthy, and sometimes heated discussion, the motion to reduce the joining fee was lost on a technicality and a subsequent special meeting was held on 23rd July 1971 when the matter of joining fees was again discussed. This time it was decided to reduce the joining fee to $5.00. It may be coincidental, but from the time the joining fee was reduced new members began to be rolling in and by the end of the seventy’s membership had increased substantially and pennant teams a doubtful four in 1970, to eight in 1979.

Naturally the greatly increased membership had an effect on all spheres of club activity, including the number attending social bowls, all social events (tea nights with the Powell Family Orchestra became very popular) pennant teams etc.

It is my belief that the reduction of the joining fee was of utmost significance to the club’s progress.

In 1972 the Springvale City Council informed the club that we were to be connected to the sewerage system. Up till that time we had used a septic system. The news caused a great deal of consternation for we did not have the money needed. Discussions were held with officers of the Council and Sewerage Authority. It was discovered that the Bowling Club account included an amount owing by the Croquet Club. When the Croquet Club’s share was subtracted, we were able to proceed with the works which was done in the winter of 1973.

The ceiling of the clubrooms consists of acoustic tiles – polystyrene – nailed into position to battens. All uncompleted areas were, at this time, completed under the supervision of Alan Graves and Albert Eaves.

A most significant happening occurred at a special general meeting held on 15th March 1974 when a report, compiled by the Secretary, on the desirability of obtaining a full liquor license with all bar facilities, was tabled. After lengthy discussion the committee was empowered to proceed with planning.

It was decided that the bar project would be financed by member participation through the issue of’ debentures. To the credit of members, finance was never a serious problem.

The club was fortunate to learn that the Spring Valley Golf Club was to update their bar area. Through Jack Smale, President of the Golf Club, we were able to purchase a fully constructed bar for $250.00.

Jack used his truck, with cranes, to transport the bar to the club and place it in position. We were astounded to see how well the bar fitted the area to be used.

Williams Winter & Higgs were engaged to update the Constitution to conform to the requirements of the Liquor Control Commission. Their knowledge of the law pertaining to liquor licensing was invaluable and because of them we proceeded smoothly with a series of special meetings necessary to approve requirements.

The Constitution as amended, was formally approved by the members on 26th July 1974.

It was on 6th September 1974 that a motion by J.O’Bryan seconded by F.Williams formally decided to apply for a license and to affix the club seal to the application.

A bar committee had been formed at the Annual General Meeting on 31st May 1974, the inaugural members being F.Williams, J.O’Bryan, F.Burke, T.Haining, L.Dillon, A.Ewen and R.Kelson. This committee was given the ability to collect money from those who promised to take out debentures in order to obtain a working capital. Plans for the finished bar were drawn up and a cool room purchased.

Mr.Munro, Architect, was engaged to draw up complete plans of the clubrooms – a requirement of the Liquor Licensing Commission. By December the secretary reported:

1. Bar area completed

2. Floor covering completed

3. Cash register purchased

4. Alarm installed

5. The building inspected by the architect and a licensing inspector and passed by both

6. All necessary forms were completed and submitted

7. The hearing, before the commission, to be held on 12th December 1974.

Mr. Crampton, a prominent Queen’s Council had been engaged (he is now Judge Crampton) and I met with him on 11th December 1974 for about forty minutes. The next morning, I faced the Commission with great trepidation. Five commissioners sitting on a high platform in the court, all looking most ominous.

Mr. Crampton conducted the case and when my turn came to take the witness box, smoothed the way when questions came from the Commissioners. The result? A license was granted – a new era had begun for Burden Park.

I had, with Frank Williams, the honour and satisfaction of having the first beer poured.

The importance of the bar to our club over the ensuing years has been enormous. Not only did the bar repay debentures of $10,500 to cover all expenses pertaining to the establishment of the bar, but later covered repayment of the co-operative loan for the third green and also substantially assisted club finances.

Throughout the life of the bar, all work has been voluntary including the work of the ladies on Saturday afternoons – a tremendous effort by all concerned.

Sunday license – an application was made to serve liquor on Sundays between the official times of noon to 2.30pm and 4.30pm to 6.30pm. This license was approved and operated for a number of years. Present regulations allow the bar to operate from noon until 8.30pm.

The third of the major works of the seventies was the construction of the third green. The committee first made application to the council to lease the old tennis court land in 1973, but the application was refused.

After a meeting with north ward councilors in January 1974, a further application was made. In September 1974 Council informed the club that the lease of extra land had been approved and that a new lease would be drawn up. In April 1975 Rob McGowan moved that we proceed with the construction of the third green as soon as possible. The motion was carried.

Finance was a problem, but after much research and discussion the problem was overcome by the formation of a co-operative society. By this means members made a nominal contribution towards the purchase of shares (10% of value). The State Bank lent the necessary $12,000 to cover the cost of construction. The bar (who else!) covered the repayments to the bank. All was now in readiness.

Kingston Roadmaking were contracted to begin excavating and to consolidate the area. Club members carried out the green construction with some work such as concrete ditches let to tender. Soil cost $6.50 a cubic yard tested to the satisfaction of Maurie Flanagan, the greenkeeper. Harold Hill levelled the area.

Mr. N.Cunningham was engaged to seed the green and to carry out a final levelling. All work to complete the green was done during the winter months – care of new grass, rubber on ditches, rink markings, peg holes, etc., so all was in readiness for the opening of the 1977 season.

Bill Chadwick died in December 1974, leaving the club $1,000 in his will, plus $1,200 of debentures held. It was decided to honour the work of Bill Chadwick by naming the No.3 green the W.Chadwick Memorial Green“. The green was officially opened on Opening Night of the 1977/78 season.

Late in the 1970’s the State Government legalised Bingo. The stated aim was to help clubs who wished to help themselves gain financially. In November 1977 the appropriate forms were received, completed and returned and a license to operate was granted.

Bingo commenced on Thursday 23rd February 1978. Lindsay Dillon had constructed a blower machine that shot up a numbered table tennis ball. Jim Oakes donated the money to purchase an overhead projector on which called numbers were displayed. Each night after Bingo, about eight feet of film had to be cleaned of the pen markings, a job thoroughly enjoyed by Jack Credlin for a number of years.

Bingo progressed slowly, with profit on most nights less than $100 However, the money was carefully banked and in time was used to purchase pieces of equipment needed around the club.

In March 1981 the electronic equipment was purchased which made the organization of the game so much easier and certainly more professional. Over the years Bingo has become very successful and today all games are well attended, and the prize money is quite high. Many thousands of dollars have been made available towards club improvements. As with most club efforts, a small group of members carry most of the load.

Due to sinking foundations the south wall cracked badly. Council members visited the club and through their efforts, repairs were undertaken. At the same time the entrance foyer was re modelled with plans being drawn up by Lindsay Dillon, Council supervised the work, which was soon completed. Costs were added to our lease agreement, which was to expire in 1989.

Towards the end of the seventy’s money became more plentiful as the club climbed out of its recession. Six heaters were installed, and ceiling fans were increased in number – all designed for member comfort.

Ron Harding designed and made six shelters for the No.3 green at a cost of $1,080.

The 1970’s drew to a close with our club in a most healthy position. Membership was high, with eight pennant teams entered, our financial position was sound, our tournament days and social bowls were successful and our ladies section was operating most successfully and most co-operatively, which all pointed to an expectancy of sound achievements in the eighties.

Great credit must go to the Presidents of the seventies, Frank Williams, Les Hayes, John Robertson, Fred Palmer, Rob McGowan, Frank Roberts and Ron Harding – who all gave their all for the club during their term of office. It was they who cemented the club together and laid the foundations for future success.

Chapter 4

The 80’s

As stated in the last chapter, the club was now in a sound financial position.

The first major work undertaken was a major upgrade and extension to the clubhouse. Planning took a period of two years before work began. The Council has always been difficult with extensions to extra land areas but did grant a small extension enabling the lounge to be built near the bar and the committee room constructed.

The extensions included a new ladies’ rooms renovations and extension, to both toilet areas, some work in the kitchens the levelling off the floor area of the bar storeroom and the tournament rooms, an extra cool room and new carpet throughout. Total cost was $128,000, the money being raised by member debenture to be repaid by 1991. By April 1991 the club had repaid all monies owed.

Mr Dobson was awarded the contract and Bob Clements was appointed Works Manager. Finally, after many traumas, the work was completed. Curtains were made and installed by Mrs Ray Staggard and Mrs Joyce Chew. Before the opening, a large working bee, headed by Mike Mitchell and Tony Bourke, repainted the whole of the ceiling.

The President of the R.V.B.A. Mr David Parker, officially opened the extensions on the 18th of February 1984. Also, in attendance were V.L.B.A. Vice-President Mrs Beryl Bonniface and the Mayor of Springvale City, Mrs Jan Trezise. The committee at this time were: –
President B. Pegram
Vice-Presidents A. Bourke and D. Wyatt
Secretary R. Horner
Treasurer F. Palmer
Committee P. Williams, A. Laidler, F. Roberts, E. Waterworth, R. Harding, C. Chew, J. Credlin, F. Marston, R. McGowan, R. Clements and J. S. Robertson

It was at this time that we employed professional cleaners, Mr and Mrs Don Cuthbert were employed and have remained with the club ever since. Over the years they have done an excellent job.

The installation of air-conditioning to the clubrooms was a major achievement. Ern Jones was responsible for the planning and installation of the units. The construction of the covered verandah along the north side has been of great value, affording shade and protection from the weather. New lights were installed on green 1 at a cost of 7,000 and they proved most popular with players. In 1989 the front of the building was replaced with new panoramic windows and automatic doors at a total cost of $21,000. At this time the old carpet was replaced at a cost of $15,000.

Security has always been a problem in the area. In 1988 it was decided to have installed by Wormalds a sophisticated system which, under the control of Alan Laidler, has been of immense value as intrusion and vandalism has been minimal.

In 1984 it was decided that No. 3 green should be completely renovated. Mr. Broadway Snr was contracted to do the job at a cost of $12,400.00 and included pinning of sunken concrete areas, renewing of plinths, removing top and replacing with tested topsoil, seeding and levelling. The job was successfully completed but again parts of the green began to sink which, with some shoddy levelling made some rinks unplayable. This was unfortunate as the surface of most of the playing area played particularly well when playing north/south.

In 1989 it was decided to again recondition green three this time at a cost of $15,000. At time of writing the work had commenced and one can only hope that this time sinking will have stopped, and the surface will remain true.

Consideration was given to a synthetic surface. We believed that in the near future synthetic greens would become quite commons but at this time insufficient evidence was available as to the suitability of these surfaces. As the cost of one green was $100,00 it was decided to wait until more greens were laid and could be evaluated over a period of two or three years.

Our greens have played reasonably well over many years without being in top condition. In 1988 the committee gambled on employing Michael De Mattia as Greenkeeper, even though his apprenticeship had not been completed. Under Michael the greens improved to such a state that recognition was given by the R.V.B.A.

In March 1989 the finals of the Champion of Champions were played at our club over two days. On the second day A.B.C. television cameras were operating filming the games. The final was shown on national TV later that year. It was a most successful occasion for the players enjoyed the conditions, organisation was first class as was the meal provided by the ladies. We were overjoyed as this was the first occasion on which a major R.V.B.A. event had been staged at our club.

The R.V.B.A. showed their pleasure at the success of this event by allocating a test match series at our club. This was indeed an honour. Two test matches were played in December 1989 against a Tasmanian side. Again, Burden Park proved to all it was capable to conduct important events as well as anyone, and it was great to meet the top bowlers and the top officials of the R.V.B.A. and of Tasmania.

Burden Park has had a division 1 side since 1973 season. Although over the years the team has been able to finish in the top order, it could never finish on top and play off in finals. A change occurred in the 1988/89 season when the team did finish on top, but unfortunately Melbourne defeated Burden Park in the semi-final by just six shots.

In the 1989/90 season our division 1 side again finished on top, won the semi-final against Melbourne but just failed to win the big white flag against Werribee.

In Pennant Burden Park is undoubtedly a very strong club, being represented in Division 1, 2, 3, 4, two 5’s, 7 and 8, all well able to perform strongly.

A feature of the late eighties has been the introduction of accredited coaches. We have ten coaches, all qualified under guidelines as set out by the Australian Bowls Council. Through the efforts of these members, the standard of play of new members over recent years has been extremely high, which augers well for the future of the club.

We have been most fortunate to have had Fred Palmer as Treasurer from 1969 until 1986, broken in 1974 and 1975 when Fred was President. His was an outstanding contribution for In the early days of his term money wan extremely tight, but Fred was able to manage and by diligence ensure all books were accurate to the cent. A Super Veteran and Life Member, throughout the eighties Fred still retained an interest with the Bingo financial records and still enjoyed his bowls, including pennant. A tremendous club orientated member.

Rex Bone became Treasurer in 1987 and brought to the job a high degree of efficiency being a qualified accountant. Each sub-committee has its own treasurer all responsible to Rex for monthly financial reports. Any excess money is paid to the general account each month and the money invested by Rex. A sizeable amount is now invested, and the interest earned is a valuable asset of the club.

During this period the club was saddened by the deaths of three ex-Presidents – Rob McGowan, Frank Roberts and Ben Pegram.

W.R. McGowan was, without doubt, the outstanding personality of our club. A committee man for many years, Chairman of the Match Committee, President, R.V.B.A. delegate and our first R.V.B.A. Councillor. As an R.V.B.A. Councillor, he served on the Match Committee. Rob was a Division 1 Skip and played for Victoria No. 2 side. He was Club Champion four times. Particularly club minded, he attended all social functions. He was well known and respected wherever bowls was played. A Life Member of the club, he has been sadly missed.

Frank “Mac” Roberts was a tireless worker for the club. He served on the committee was Assistant Secretary and for years was Green Director where he worked very well with Greenkeeper Maurie Flanagan. He played Division 1 bowls and participated in all club social events. A sad loss to our club.

Bentley Pegram brought to the office of President great dignity. He was greatly respected by all members of the club. He attended all, social functions and was at all times a dedicated worker. Sadly missed.

This report has dealt mainly with the major happenings in each decade but has not dealt with the large number of members who have done so much to ensure the success of the club. They have worked in so many different ways – on various committees working bees on the greens, painting odd jobs, bar work, constructional work, catering and many other areas. Over thirty years the input of these, dedicated members have been of tremendous value.

During the eighties the club has had excellent guidance from Presidents, Ron Harding, Ben Pegram, Tony Bourke, Den Wyatt and Alan Laidler and through their efforts this club has become one of the most successful in the metropolitan area. It has been a remarkable achievement, for we begin the next thirty years strong in membership, strong financially, strong In commitment strong on the bowling green, with most functional clubrooms, very good greens and held in high regard by the bowling fraternity.

Chapter 5

Our Lady Members

Since the inception of the club in 1959, ladies have been an important component of club activities and have contributed a great deal to the progress that has been made.

I intend to mention a few of the personalities who have worked over the years. Perhaps, one day, one of our ladies will write a more detailed account of their activities over thirty years.

JESS JOHANSON was to the forefront when pre-formation meetings were held, many of the meetings being held in her home. Jess became the first President of the ladies and served for four years. She left the club for a short while in 1967 but returned and has been a stout supporter of all club activities ever since. Jess was made a Life Member. Although now a resident in the Springvale Nursing Home, she in still keenly interested in all club events.

LEILA GOUGH, an original member and although no longer bowls, regularly attends the club with her good friend Lil Caton. Both still enjoy a game of carpet bowls, and both are regular Bingo attenders.

ALMA SAUNDERS, an original member, active in club affairs until recently when she left the district. A Life Member.

JO TERRY became Secretary in 1969 and stayed in the job until 1985. Jo was most efficient in all that she did and worked tirelessly towards a better club. As I was Club Secretary at the time, I appreciated the work that Jo did and the work that we were able to do together to ensure that the club worked as a unit. I do take pride in the fact that club harmony is a fact and has been so for twenty years. When Jo retired from the job, she should have been proud to have accomplished so much and to know that the ladies section was in such a sound state. Made a Life Member.

BETTY PALMER served as Treasurer for twenty years, giving valuable service during this time. She was given Life Membership. Betty also ran the Wednesday Mixed Bowls. Who will ever forget her famous “yard stick” with which the daily winners were determined.

JAN BOURKE became Secretary after the retirement of Jo Terry. Jan has consolidated all the previous work done. Besides her outstanding secretarial skills Jan runs a “Lolly” stall which has raised a great deal of money – money which is used for special projects. Jan is very active in the Social Committee and is an accredited coach and a national umpire.

All of this work has been helped by a succession of considerate and helpful Presidents all of whom wore dedicated workers for the club, and all were successful with their endeavors.

Lady Presidents have been: –
Jean Johanson 4 years Una Ounningham 1 year
Margaret Pomroy 2 years Alma Saunders 2 years
Alma Brooks 2 years Laura Barkue 1 year
Mary Barnfather 2 years Hazel Collins 2 years
Win Swadling 2 years Rio Hickey year.
Beryl Edwards 2 years Norma Harding 2 years
Irene Dillon 1 year Alice Pogram 2 years
Jean Rickerby 2 years Kate Broxham 2 years
Peg Laidler current

The ladies have always been active on the Social Committee and over the years, many changes have taken place. I remember in the early seventies we all took frypans which were set up around the hall, Later, ladies made casseroles which were put together In the bain-marie. Alma Saunders was often in charge of the helpers serving. Members of that era will remember Powell’s Family Orchestra who supplied the music at a very cheap rate. Today’s meals are very different – a wide range of tempting salads is a feature of our meals, with entertainment ranging from dancing to live variety.

Catering has always been an important part of the bowls scene. During the time when Alice Williams was our Caterer, meals became a feature of Burden Park events. Angela Shoesmith, the present Caterer, and her willing helpers have carried on the tradition. Burden Park is renowned for the meals prepared.

On the greens our ladies have been successful. A team has represented the club in the A1 Section for years. They have yet to win the major flags but have been finalists. There are five pennant teams all capable of sound performance in their section, two who have been the most successful are: –

MAY HODGSON a renowned bowler for the club. Winner of the Master’s Fours at Burwood, and nine Club Championships. She was an A1 Skip for over twenty years. The club was saddened by her passing.

EUNICE HORNER – winner of the Burwood Masters Fours, Runner-up Metropolitan Champion of Champions, equal third Metropolitan Champion of Champions, four Club Championships, an A1 Skip for many years. Two periods of office as Selector, committee member for many years and renowned for her decorated Christmas cakes.  In total – twenty.

In conclusion 1 take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the ladies of our club. They are dedicated and co-operative members and contribute so much to the strength of the Burden Park Bowling Club.

Chapter 6

The Future

As we enter the nineties the club is in a very strong position. We have a large membership with a strong pennant base. Social bowling is well attended and successfully run. The committee structure is very strong, producing very good results. Finances are sound and particularly well managed. The club should continue to grow and develop and to adjust to the changes that will undoubtedly be part of the bowling scene.

The Australian Bowls Council appears to be interested only in the elite bowler. Recently laws have been changed, not to suit the thousands of club bowlers but to suit the top few. The A.B.C. encourages heavily sponsored tournaments coloured clothing to satisfy television, and now a points system that will ensure only the top may compete, Media coverage, as little as there is, again, is concerned only with the top players.

The R.V.B.A. has adopted the A.B.C. laws – the thousands of club bowlers have no say whether the changes are desired or not. Pennant is still of major concern in Victoria, although there in considerable Agitation from some of the top bowlers to shorten the season to enable more tournament play. There is also a desire by the R.V.B.A. to promote junior bowls. There is an R.V.B.A. officer in charge and some success has been accomplished. Bowls in schools – special tournaments are now common. The average age of bowlers in clubs is dropping and probably will continue to do so.

The professional bowler has emerged recently. The A.B.C. has recognised the fact that money, in large amounts, is available and have set conditions that enable money to be made without affecting status. The trend to tournaments with high prize money will tend to grow particularly in New South Wales.

Pokies in Victoria was an argument that raged for some time during the eighties with politicians of both sides saying, “No Pokies for Victoria”. I did not believe this would be the case and as we have moved into the nineties the first poker machine licenses have been granted and clubs will have to decide whether to install poker machines or not. It will be an interesting time.

Greens haven’t changed much over the years. Some clubs see synthetic greens as the answer and there is little doubt the number will increase. An interesting development with lawn greens has been the introduction of two grasses from Arizona U.S.A. Both could be the answer to our problems for they are reputed to be drought resistant and tough.

I have enjoyed writing this short history, memories have come flooding back, memories of events and of personalities that have been part of our club. To those members who have joined the club over more recent years, and those who will join the club in the future, I hope some insight into the work, the trials and tribulations of our pioneer members has been revealed and that the conditions you find at the club now have not come easily. They are in fact the result of the foresight, the diligence and the dedication of hundreds of club members over thirty years.

Ron Horner

1990-2022 to be added!