East Brisbane Bowling Club

The East Brisbane Bowling Club (former) 1905 – 2009 – 38 Lytton Road, East Brisbane

In the early 1900s three sporting clubs were established in picturesque Mowbray Park overlooking the river. The first was the East Brisbane Bowling Club which opened in 1905, closely followed by the Croquet Club and a tennis club. Sadly the only one still functioning today (2020) is the Croquet Club.

Lawn bowlers at the East Brisbane Bowling Club 1906. (SLQ 69554)

. Members of the Brisbane Club playing at the East Brisbane greens in 1919.(Queenslander Pictorial Supplement, 6 September 1919)
W. Fraser, greenkeeper at East Brisbane Bowls Club on 17 December 1940, offering a smile as part of the war time smile quest.(copied and digitised from an image appearing in The Courier Mail 18 December 1940, held in the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)
Members of East Brisbane Bowling Club in 1914. (supplied)

The East Brisbane Bowling Club was officially opened on 23 September 1905 on the western corner of Mowbray Park on land granted by the South Brisbane Council. At the time there were only three other Bowling clubs in Brisbane. The first president was Alderman G H Blocksidge, former mayor of South Brisbane in 1903. According to The Queenslander of 30 September 1905 the total cost was £475 with the pavilion costing £110 and the green £365.

Lawn bowls with the two-storey clubhouse in the background. The upper storey has a wide verandah. (SLQ 109585)

The club soon became popular and had a large membership over the years, with ladies permitted to participate on very special social occasions such as carnivals.

East Brisbane Bowling Club Golden Jubilee Game 1955. (BCC-B120-81225).

Things went well until the late 1990s when popularity of bowls started to wane and members became older. In 1998 the club premises became the home of Backbone youth group.

With rapidly declining memberships, running the club became a problem. By 2009 there were only ten members all aged 79 – 88 who were unable to continue running the club on their own. Hopes of survival were raised when a ‘white knight’ business man Alan Rose took over the club with the aim of turning it into a ‘ barefoot bowls’ club with top class restaurant and function facilities. The ten members were still able to play on Wednesdays. Unfortunately the arrangement did not work out and the club eventually closed at the end of that year.

Bus stop sign outside the East Brisbane Bowls Club in 2012. (supplid)

The youth group Backbone continues to thrive on the premises, but it too is currently under threat of closure due to foreshadowed cuts in government funding.

The empty greens today. (supplied)