Club & Bowls History

Club Badge

The Bassendean Bowling Club adopted the Broun Family's Coat of Arms as its club badge in order to pay its respects to Mr Peter Broun, the first colonial Secretary of WA, who founded Bassendean in 1829. 

The Coat of Arms heraldic description is, "A Lion rampant holding in his dexter paw a fleur-de-lis." which is substituted by a kitty in the Bassendean Bowling Club badge. 

Established 1934

The Bassendean Bowling Club was formed in 1934. 

Theirs was the first section completed on the Bassendean Improvement Committee (BIC) Reserve. The following are the minutes of the meeting, convened by Mr R. A. McDonald, Chairman of the Bassendean Roads Board, of gentlemen interested in the formation of a bowling club, held at the Bassendean Town Hall, on October 15th 1934.

OPENING: Mr McDonald, in opening the meeting, expressed his pleasure at the attendance and welcomed the presence of Mr G. Clarke. The object of the meeting is to discuss the proposal to form a bowling club in the district. He outlined the Bassendean Roads Board's proposal in connection with the preparing and lease of the green and intimated that the gardener (Mr Harber) advised that the green would be ready by the end of November. There would also be a lighting scheme by the end of December. Mr G. Clarke was then called on by Mr McDonald. Mr Clarke thanked the convenor for the invitation and urged those present to form a club, and that he would render any assistance he could.

FUNCTION: There followed a general discussion of the proposal. It was moved by Mr Styles and seconded by Mr Bowen, that a bowling club be formed in Bassendean. Carried.

SECRETARY: Mr Loveridge and Mr Warren moved that Mr Harber be acting Secretary. Carried.

RULES: That a committee of five be appointed to draft rules and by-laws.

COMMITTEE: Messrs Loveridge, Miller, Bowen, Styles and Nadebaum.

MEETINGS: The Committee to meet on Monday October 22nd and report to a meeting on Monday October 29th in the Town Hall.

OFFICERS: These are held over until the rules are drafted. Vote of thanks to Mr McDonald. A.E. Nadebaum George Harber CHAIRMAN ACTING SECRETARY There were thirty-one foundation members. By the second meeting, plans for the pavillion/club room were called for. Additionally, there was a motion that the club affiliate with the Royal Western Australian Bowling Association (R.W.A.B.A.). For full members, subscription fees were set at 1.5.0. pounds.In their early months, the club sent out a plea to other clubs to give or loan them bowls. Fortunately, the North Perth and Mt Lawley Clubs responded.By April 1935, club rooms had been gained and they were operational by July. However the official opening was on November 9th, 1936 and in the presence of the then, Lieutenant-Governor Sir James Mitchell, and other distinguished visitors.In 1935, the club also made an entry in the Glick Trophy for the first time. In October of that year, the club entered the R.W.A.B.A. pennant competition. In November, the Bassendean Ladies Croquet Club was allowed the use of the club rooms and in particular the kitchen, an arrangement which was very amicable and lasted many years.In 1939-40 Bassendean won their first pennant in Division 7 and followed this up in 1941-42 by winning the pennant in Division 5. Through the war years the club was quite sound and financially strong.In March 1945, the Bassendean Roads Board asked the Bowling Club for representation on the War Loan Committee. In April that year, a minor milestone was passed, when ladies were permitted to bowl at the club in mixed fours, however, they were still not permitted to join.By the late forties the club had gained a second green and membership had reached 80. In 1952, a motion was passed 5-3 to allow ladies to join the club. They formed the Bassendean Ladies Bowling Association (club) of which there were eight foundation members. During this period E. Ford won the 1948-49 State Championship Singles and in 1952-53 Bassendean won the mid-week division 5 pennant.Indeed the fifties were good years for the club. Membership increased with the advent of women into the club, the club won the division 3 pennant in 1954-55 and both the division 2 and 3 pennants in 1957-58. During this period, social activities picked up and many committees were formed. Coinciding with this, was the granting of a Liquor Licence in 1956.The Bowling Club has not always been on its present site. Before 1961 it had been situated closer to the Tennis Club, however, in 1960, the President Mr Goggin announced plans to construct a new club-house, which was completed by November 1961 (to coincide with the start of the new bowls season). Where the fifties were a very good decade the sixties were less so with only one pennant won, division 3 in 1962-63. In addition the club faced financial concerns coupled with worries regarding the rearrangement of the greens. The green problems came to a head in 1965, when they were deemed not good enough for pennants and the game transferred, this resulted in the greenkeeper resigning and a subsequent rise in the quality of the greens. Grumblings continued in the sixties, one incident involved Eric Nielsen, who was called to front the committee regarding an extremely offensive letter he had written which was accompanied by a trophy he had won earlier that year... Nielsen's resignation was accepted unanimously. Another incident involved a visitor who after a particularly good club dance in 1969, accidently drove his car onto a green. The visitor sent a cheque for $20 to cover damages... since there were none his money was returned and he was invited to join the club. 

History of Lawn Bowls (excerpt from Fred Fern)

19th July 1588, Plymouth Bowling Green, Captain Thomas Flemming rushes onto the green to advise Sir Francis Drake that the Spanish Armada had been sighted off the lizard. His response has gone down in history, “There is plenty of time to win the game and thrash the Spaniards too.” However it was much earlier, in fact in 1299 that the Southampton Bowls Club green was reputed to have been laid. Chesterfield Bowling Club claims that their rink was laid in 1294 and, certainly in the early part of the 14th Century (1315-1330), Edward III banned the playing of bowls so that, “The Bowmen of England, would practice their archery.” In fact it seems that bowls was not always the gentle art we now know. In its early years, in fact, the game was prohibited with very severe penalties, levied by Magistrates, for those who broke the prohibition.There is no real evidence as to the style of the game, though during the reign of Richard II, it was called “gettre de pere” which translates in Norman French to “throwing a stone”. There is not much doubts that the original bowls were made of stone, probably the roundest possible one, without bias. Sometime after 1409, bowls of wood appeared, mainly made of Boxwood, Holly, Yew and Oak.According to annecdotal evidence, the introduction of bias to the design of bowls seems to have been by accident. It is said that in 1522, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, whose bowl split in two, rushed into his house, and took the spherical knob from the bannister post on his staircase, to replace his damaged bowl. The flat cut on the knob caused it to roll with a bias and allowed the Duke to curve his bowl around others. He passed this knowledge onto his friends and over time biased bowls came into being.Later bias was produced by placing lead or metal weights in the bowls, this practice has long been ceased, and is now against the rules. Bias is given to bowls entirely as a result of the shape of the bowl.Prior to 1871, the bias of a bowl was not stipulated, tested or in fact the same from bowl to bowl. In 1871 Taylors of Glasgow constructed the first “testing table.” The idea was to allow the company to produced matched bowls from the factory, rather than wait for customers vague descriptions of their requirements. Taylors went on to create a scale for bias, 1 (weakest) through 5 (strongest). In 1893 the Scottish bowls association made 3 their standard. Finally in 1928 the International Bowls Board laid down the standards and specifications which with a few ammendments are still the standards today.


The object of the game of bowls is to roll your bowls closer to the Jack (white ball) than your opposition. A set of bowls consists of four bowls. Lawn bowls is traditionally played on a green 40 m X 31 m. The green is divided into spaces called ‘rinks’, in which you play. On average there are 7 rinks on each green. (7 games can be played on the one green at a time) Firstly the ‘Jack’ is rolled up the green by one of the players. Once the Jack has come to rest at the other end of the green, each player consecutively takes turns in trying to roll their bowls as close as possible to the jack. Once all the bowls have been bowled, the player/team with the closest bowl to the Jack scores however many they have inside their opponents closest bowl. This is called an ‘end’. Once you have given the score for that ‘end’, the Jack is rolled back the other way and another end is then played.A game can consist of 10 to 35 ends, or can be played to a predetermined score. The games can be played as singles, pairs, triples and fours.