Faircote Bowling Club

A combination of the names of two neighbouring suburbs, Northcote and Fairfield, curiously the Faircote Bowling Club resided in the suburb of Thornbury.  Its home was in the John Cain Memorial Park, a sporting reserve that had previously been a council tip until it was filled, levelled and made available by Northcote City Council in the mid 1960’s. 

Faircote’s first meeting as a club was in May of 1966, under its inaugural president Mr A. Jones. The club was incorporated that year, having been founded in 1964. At the time of the first meeting the club could only boast blocks of empty land promised to it, on lease, by the council. By January of 1967, however, the first Bowling Green was ready. The club had its first bowling day on January 30th 1967. A clubhouse was built around the same time, and subsequent to this initial phase of construction, two further greens were built.

Faircote Bowling Club was unusual in that it had male and female members from its inception. Darebin’s other bowling clubs tended to have separate Men’s and Ladies’ clubs, and only in recent years have these clubs abandoned gender segregation in favour of a single club with Men and Ladies as members.

In the late 1990’s Faircote’s clubhouse was starting to show its 30 years of age and the club faced declining membership due to an increasingly ageing group of members. In 1999 an opportunity presented itself to merge with the Northcote Bowling Club, which, although Darebin’s oldest club, was also struggling with similar problems. The two clubs formed the Darebin City Bowling Club in 1999. With money from the sale of the Northcote Club’s land, as well as substantial government investment, the club now boast the State Bowls Centre as their headquarters, all on the same site occupied by Faircote Bowling Club for over 30 years.

The merger of Faircote and Northcote has been largely embraced and welcomed by the members of Faircote, with great pride felt around the club with its home being the venue for the Lawn Bowls events at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.

Information courtesy of Bonita O’Donnell, Secretary of the Board of Management, Darebin City Bowling Club. (9434-1473)

Faircote Bowling Club, 1st Annual Report, Season 1966-1967

The Victorian Ladies’ Bowling Association: a history from 1907 to the present.  Hawthorn (Vic.): Victorian Ladies Bowling Association, 2003.