Kingsbury Bowls Club

The club was formed in 1978 under the guidance of the R.V.B.A. It was local councillor Jack Slate, a member at Reservoir Bowling Club, as well as a member of the council of the R.V.B.A that the residents of Kingsbury lobbied and rallied behind as he pushed for the club’s formation with the R.V.B.A. Subsequently Slate became the club’s first president and first life member. Between 1978 and 1981, Kingsbury Bowls Club was without a home of its own, and the members played at Moreland, until they were able to secure a lease for some land at the Arch Gibson Reserve from the Preston City Council. On this site the club built its first clubhouse and its first green.

Initially the club had been divided into two along gender lines but they became incorporated as one with equal voting rights in 1981. A board of management of 11 people governs the club, with the three executive positions on the board voted on by all members. The club’s success has been driven by its dedicated members, like long-serving director chairman (and bar manager) Neil Heatley and Val Herman, treasurer for 15 years. The strength of its membership enabled the club to raise funds through specific fund raising events as well as club activities to build a new clubhouse.  The mayor of the City of Preston opened the building in 1991. The land for this new clubhouse, as well as an additional grass bowling green and a floodlit synthetic green, was leased from the City of Preston, while the land upon which the original clubhouse stands, was taken over by the council. In addition to raising the money for the clubhouse, members took a large and active role in the construction of the building.

When the club was formed the average age of its members was in the 40s. That average now stands in the 70s but the club is actively pursuing younger members with some success. The club’s colours and logo owe themselves to Bruce Kingsbury, after whom the area is named. The Victoria Cross winner was a resident of Preston West and the club wear blue and gold to honour his battalion, the 2nd 14th. The club’s emblem also features a Victoria Cross, and was designed by a local student after a competition run by the club. A bronze statue of Kingsbury, one of only three, was presented by the 2nd 14th battalion to Kingsbury Bowls Club and is a symbol of the club’s link to the war hero.

The club has hosted interstate test matches between Victoria and New South Wales. In February 2005 it was the host of the Trans-Tasman series between Australia and New Zealand and in March 2006 it will be one of the official practice venues for the Commonwealth Games.  Some 28 countries will utilise Kingsbury Bowls Club in preparation for the events at the Games.


Information courtesy of Neal Heatley, Director Chairman Kingsbury Bowls Club