The West Pymble Bicentennial Club Ltd was formerly known as the West Pymble Bowling Club Ltd. The new name was adopted at a Special General Meeting on 16th June 2013. WPBC members have also used various adopted monikers such as the Bowlo and the Bowling and Sports Club.
Established in 1960, the Club’s 50th Anniversary was in 2010.
West Pymble Bowling & Sports Club was established in 1960 as a neighbourhood bowling club. It has developed over the years into a community club providing a local meeting venue for various local groups, as well as being a premium site in the area to hold inexpensive functions.
The area now known as West Pymble was formed around Field of Mars Road near the Lane Cove River, and this main thoroughfare eventually turned into Ryde road; the bustling six lane highway we see today. The old Field of Mars road joined the Lane Cove settlement in the Gordon area to the Ryde settlement., and was used according to 1859 and pre 1900 maps, to lead to a ford across the river near the current De Burgh’s bridge.
Jonas Lofberg from Sweden was one of the first settlers in the West Pymble area. He was first mentioned in the 1859 records, as working the ‘Fairyland’ area on the west(Ryde) side of the river, and later moved to West Pymble to what is now known as the Bicentennial Park while farming pigs and running orchard crops.
Move now to 1945, when the area started to become a post war community, with limited services. The 1945 residents were numerous enough to form a Progress Association and they objected to the existing Incinerator and sewage depot in the present Park confines.
As the suburb grew with a lot of returned servicemen and women, a school was built in 1951, and with a lot of lobbying, a Community Hall was constructed in 1951. Real progress was happening.
The Community Hall was the birthplace of our Club as its genesis was as an indoor bowling club. The early Indoor Club went along happily for some time until the players felt the need for an outdoor venue to follow their sport. The first semi formal meeting of the West Pymble Community Centre Bowling Club on this subject took place at 19 Warrowa Avenue. on the 15th June, 1960 under the auspices of the Cutting brothers, and at this gathering, JA Cutting was elected President, M Smith Secretary/ Treasurer, and A Robb Club Captain. A copy of these first handwritten minutes are shown on the Club’s wall.
The first formal meeting followed soon after on 3rd August 960, and the members had not been idle in the meantime. The Council was requested, and agreed to supply bowling equipment worth £101.16.6, to be repaid at £15 per month. Not only that, the Club had identified and informed Council that the present site was a suitable place to build a club house and greens.
We were fortunate in having an ally on the elected Council in Alderman Reg Walker who agreed to become Patron in 1961. Reg was closely involved in the Club over many years, taking office and being an active bowler.
On the 25 September 1961 after much background activity, the Club under the Presidency of Mr. J Cutting, decided to break away from the indoor bowling venue and became the outdoor club we know today. The meeting on this date also voted to levy members for a 10 year loan of £20 each.The Women’s Club decided to stay on as the Indoor Club and moved later, and the Indoor Club continued on for another eight years being finally wound up on 14 February 1968.
The first extraordinary meeting was held on 11 December 1961. The affairs of the fledgling club improved considerably when on 26 February 1962, Millers Brewery agreed to become guarantor to the Commonwealth Bank for £17,600.
The Women’s Club decided to move to outdoor and held its inaugural meeting on 8 October 1962 when Mrs. June Cutting was elected President.
It must have been a time of great energy and excitement, when tenders were called to start work on the site. A submission from Bowling Greens Constructions Pty. Ltd. was accepted on 21/6/1962, to build one green, continue into earthworks for a second, and construct a retaining wall for the price of £10,943.0.0
The Club House was being constructed at the same time for a cost of £14,171.11.11 and was due for completion on 16/12/1963. The Liquor License had been applied for on May 1st, 1963, and the drought was broken when the first delivery from Millers arrived on the last day of 1963. Much celebration must have taken place as the first weeks takings over the bar were £140 and Poker machine revenue was £86.18.0
The big day finally arrived when the President of the Royal N.S.W. Bowling Association, Mr Albie Caines opened the first green on 13 June 1964. Quite a celebration with lots of people looking very smart in whites and blazers, but in the remarkable time of 11 months later the second green was also opened. This is shown in our records as the 22/5/1965, but local papers headlined the day as being 17 months after the first green opening.
In 1965, the men played their first Pennants season in grades five and seven. Also in that year, the Club produced a newsletter which appeared to come out monthly under the catchy title of ‘The Kookaburra Kall’.
There was a severe drought in 1966/67 (so what’s new in Sydney). So to secure a permanent water supply for the greens, a bore was sunk to 300 feet, but unfortunately it was dry. The retaining wall was a continuing source of worry, and remedial work was undertaken in 1968 and 1981 to pin it to stop its slow movement outwards.
Extensions and changes were fairly continuous with internal ones in 1968 and 69, with a major improvement in 1971 and 1978 being the enclosure of a verandah at the northern end to make the Ladies Room. One of our past members, Des Hanson constructed a brick barbeque building later and this became a major source of outdoor fellowship. It was formally dedicated to the memory of Gordon Salter, on Presidents Day 1977.
Time went on and there was a big celebratory week for the 21st anniversary, the week June 9 to 16 1985. A photo of that program is also on the wall at the clubhouse. Since then there have been continuing changes to the kitchen and interiors. The main highlight was our 2007 addition of the western roofed verandah, which allowed a relaxing view of the greens while sitting having a drink with friends. A great improvement made at this time was the installation of full length glass walls and doors along this side to give a view over the greens while sitting inside.
In the mid 2000s an outside caterer was employed to provide meals every Friday evening and for Club functions. This was an alternative to the monthly spit roasts or bought-in chicken and chips etc., which were previously enjoyed. As well, it allowed the release of many volunteers who had so generously given their time to prepare and serve countless salads, sandwiches and other meals over the years.
The 50th year of WPBC (1960 – 2010) was celebrated with a dinner held on October 9th 2010, to mark this milestone in our history. A glass of champagne was served on arrival as members and their guests viewed an exhibition outlining half a century of the Club’s history, followed by a three course meal.
At a planned Special General Meeting on the 16th of June 2013, members of the West Pymble Bowling Club Ltd confirmed a name change of the club to West Pymble Bicentennial Club Ltd.