Just four short years following the conclusion of the First World War, and the small Glen Eden Bowling Club was established in the year 1922, on land gifted by the late Geo. Hoskings, a local school master, for the princely sum of ten shillings ($1.00), a generous gift when one considers the value of this property today. Research has uncovered the original documents listing the names of the original Trustees; Messers Croucher, Finch, Kirkpatric, Porteous, and Waldron. Ironically the stamp duty on this transaction was thirty shillings ($1-10) triple the purchase price.
In this historic year, the first Bowl ever delivered commenced it’s journey up the rink, and all these years later they are still proudly rolling on through second millenium. The the modern Bowls have changed little in comparison to that first wooden bowl’s appearance, despite the many modifications and use of composite materials. Wipe away the dust from the earliest rule books only to find the principals and spirit of the game remain the same, a game simple to understand, yet most difficult to master.
Young men returned from the Great War of 1914-18 and then the Second World War, filling the membership ranks, graced the honours board, toiled at working bees, into retirement, and some to sadly pass on.
All these men who gave the best years in their youth to the defence of their country, and upon their return gave freely of their time and labour to the improvement of this Club
The club records recall vividly the tragic night in 1948 when the clubrooms were destroyed by fire, and how a new building arose from the ashes like a Phoenix bird of ancient mythology, whose likeness was the inspiration for our Club badge.
Our records also recall the colourful characters, both past and present, many unknown to todays members, but all part of the Club’s folklore. Old timer Bill McCombie whose failing strength compelled him to deliver the Bowl two handed, never further than two thirds up, the rink; consequently opposition teams were never permitted to deliver a jack any further than this.
In years long past, the Fire Station was situated behind the hill overlooking that which is now our B” green, and 25% of our members were firemen; on occasions, should the siren sound during a match in progress, the men would rush from the green leaving the tournament in chaos.
In those early days with no bar facilities, liquor was kept in the old ”Locker System” by members as to their personal requirements, and during the fire that raised our clubhouse, the Fire Chief is said to have instructed his men to play their hoses on his locker which contained his beer supply. Fact or tiction? We’ll never know!
There was the ”No Gambling Rule” that was never applied and during the winter months schools of poker and slippery sam operating throughout Saturday and Sunday evenings into the early hours, using metal washers to the value of one shilling (10c) to circumvent the law; some Wives whose husbands were losing much of their hard earned cash, laid complaints to the local police in attempting to curtail these games.
History recalls the strange relationship of the Brackenbridge brothers, incompatible in every way; lived together, cooked and ate separately, refused to play in the same team, yet worked closely on the Club’s executive for its well being: ”Pancho” Gordon, comedian and artist; ”Bulldog” Drummond, whose main claim to fame at working bees was buttering the scones. John (Dunny Brush) Williams, because of a distintive hair style. Jack (Hapuka) Duncan, always yapping. Rolly Holmes, always first in for free drinks (we’ve got some today). Bill Norris, suspended 3 months for ”decking” the president; (would this happen today?) and down through the years The ”Nannas”, ”Turbos”, ”Tegels”, ”Rowdy”, ”Starry”, ”The Gate”, ”One Eye”, ”Peg Leg”, The Jeweller”, ”Nugget”, ”Snoz”, ”Stalker”, ”The Hood”, ”Handbag”, ”B.J.”, and the one and only “E.T.”
Our records document the pomp and ceremony of opening days of the 1930’s when the full New Lynn Boys Brass band performed for the members pleasure; a far cry from the bands of today. Compares the costings then and now: Opening Day 1965 expense: Drinks twenty five pounds ($50) Food : five pounds ($10). Today’s budget for opening day celebrations approx. $???. These figures further underline the Club’s reputation for hospitality.
The 1990’s saw a resurgence of the club’s strength through the influx of it’s younger members, whose developing skills elevated the Clubs status to heights never before attained. It’s conservative nature took some little time to recover from the shock at the introduction of coloured uniforms, but eventually embraced this innovation, whereby its bright red shirts became the most recognised and respected on the City’s greens.
Whilst some clubs are bonded together by ethnic or professional similarities, the Glen Eden Bowling Club’s underlying strength is the very diverse backgrounds of it’s members.
The Club recognises the efforts and sacrifice of time put in by our champions; it applauds the time and efforts also of our hard working members, both past and present, who have literally built this club, many unknown to today’s members, who under the leadership of Geo. Herring rebuilt the Club in the aftermath of the terrible fire; time freely given by Bill Munroe, Charlie Holton, Jack Wood, Geo. Gilbert, Fred Yates, Jack Drummond, in re-establishing the Club, with a building only 25% the floor area of our present clubrooms. Further extensions were carried out in 1962, as building progressed both outward and upward, and it was not until the 60’s that a Bar Licence was granted and our archaic ”Locker System” abolished.
In 1967 as a new half-green was formed which became the basis for our ”B” green; it remained that way until 1972 whereby it was enlarged to its present size. This enterprlse consisted of re-routing the course of a stream to accommodate the earthworks required for the greens construction; a considerable undertaking. The lounge and cool room were added in 1974 providing a level of comfort undreamed of by our earliest members.
1978 saw re-building of the second story, a major project requiring a considerable commitment and effort from many members. Then in 1983 there was the addition of locker rooms and office section, as we see them today. Much photographic evidence is retained showing the personnel involved during this re-building phase, and the magnitude of this work can easily be seen, along with the unselfish contribution made by many members.
1990 and a complete re-build of the bar was accomplished, (perhaps the most utilised facility in the Club).
1996 both A and B greens were dug up, re-drained, and re-layed, a major undertaking, during which time over sixty members, (most of whom were over Sixty years of age) gave so much of their time and diminishing energy to this project.
Later was the installations of an independent water supply to offset any detrimental effect brought about by drought conditions, since the installation of a bore and storage tank, a modern lighting system allowing evening tournaments thereby providing members with extended usage of their greens. The provision of sun shelters improved the comfort of members during the heat of the mid-summer season.
2004 saw the club amalgamate with the Glen Eden Women’s Bowling Club.
In 2007/08 “A” green was transformed by the addition of a synthetic surface, allowing for all weather play.
Thanks to R. Gash, ]. Williams, Bill Norris, N. Chiles, S.B. Gregory for historical input.
Chronological list of facts and figures
1922 – The Men’s Bowling Club was formed on land gifted by Geo Hosking for 10 shilling
1948 – The clubrooms were destroyed by fire. Some members left and set up Oratia Bowling Club. The remaining 8 members with George Gilbert as president voted to keep the club going
1957 – Membership closed at 96 – waiting list numbered 6. Additional Land purchased for 67 pound 4 shillings and 6 pence
1958 – Addition of kitchenette and storeroom upstairs
1960 – Subs were £7.10 (15.20). New small lounge built for £611 ($1222)
1961 – New 4 inch water main £245 ($490), building alterations, plus new carpet and lino.
1963 – Alterations to the toilet and replacement of the floor in the old lounge.
1964 – Toilet wing and soil shed built and car park formed
1966 – 100 members, first cool room and bar installed, with glass washer £500 ($1000). The pavilion was redecorated, seats created around the green
1968 – Lost “A” green due to use of contaminated chemicals.
1969 – New half size “B” green was established at the cost of 1000 pounds
1970 – Club’s first Auckland open win in the Xmas Fours
1972 – Full “B” green formed and first jubilee tournament held
1974 – 145 Members. Extension of lounge, new bar and cool-room, two new slate pool tables were purchased for $700 each.
1975 – New greenkeeper and soil shed was built and a concrete path poured around A green. First Auckland Bowling Centre President from the club: J.Drummond
1978 – Complete rebuilding and extension of upstairs area with new kitchen.
$25.000 mortgage, $12.500 term deposit and $1.000 loan from western indoor.
1982 – Automatic watering system ($7000)
1983 – Membership 209, new locker room, toilets and offices built
1985 – Purchase of land adjacent to drive ($40000)
1988 – Restart in Auckland Interclub Competition
1990 – New bar and loading bay ($156,000), cool-room ($29,000) were completed
in time for opening day.
1991/92 – Planned “A” green, by May 1992 all money borrowed for bar extensions was totally repaid.
1993/94 – Purchased land from Council (Dunhill)
1996 – Re-drained, relaying of “A” and “B” green (Cotula, Dioca)
1997 – Installation of flood lights
2001 – The factory land next door was acquired for $171,000
2003 – Air conditioners installed
2004 – This year saw the amalgamation with the Glen Eden Ladies club and a membership of 270
2005 – A new terrace was added providing a great area for smokers and lovely outdoor area.
2006 – A roof was erected over the terrace and outdoor heaters purchased. Work begins on the change of “A” Green to an artificial surface.
2007 – Buildings at Women’s Bowling Club sold to Ministry of Education for a Day Care. Sale price $145,000.
2007/08 – Installation of artificial surface on “A” green completed
2013 – Land to the south of Waikumete stream sold to Council for $20,000.
2015 – Re-roofing of out buildings – $10,000
2016 – Upgrading of switch circuit boards, shifting of mains to allow for kitchen addition.($14000)
2019 – Replaced the air conditioners with funding from The Trusts