Club History. Part 3.

This brief history of the St. Albans-Merivale Bowling Club is covered under these sections.
*  The First Years
*   Hard Times
*   Women’s Section
*   The Golden Years
*   Amalgamation

MuzzaWeb is indebted to Phil O’Malley in allowing his publication, “Hawkesbury Green” to be used as a source of information.



Women’s Section:  1948 – 1996
Following the war the greatest problem faced by the St. Albans Bowling Club was how to increase the club’s membership.

1946:   The croquet section had departed leaving for the first time in its history a club without any women members. For almost 50 years the bowling section had been male only but the executive realized the advantages of having women members.

Women Join the Club:
* During the early 1930s Chch. Women’s Bowling Centre wrote asking St. Albans to admit women members. The depression prevented that.
* 1947. A special meeting was called to discuss the admission of women members. Passed with one dissenting vote.
* 1948. The annual report stated that the idea be abandoned due to lack of support.
* Later a subcommittee was set up recruit women members.
* 1948, Oct. 7, first women member admitted.
Recommendations:      Passed AGM May, 1949.
* Annual subscription £3 reducible to £2.10.0 if paid by Dec. 1
* Maximum members be 32.
* Play on greens Monday to Saturday subject to the decision of the executive on the availability of the greens.
* No voting rights.
* Form their own committee to control games and arrange matches.
1949   Nov. 2  First AGM of the women’s section held.
1950   Annual report records a membership of 19. [Men 98]   Women’s membership always had a ceiling   Preference was always given to wives of members.



Women’s section 1949 – 50





1950;   A Centennial Cup presented because of the highly satisfactory catering for the NZ Centennial Tournament by the St. Albans ladies



1950 First  women’s tournament



1953:   Mrs C. Mitchell won the champion of champion singles



Women’s section 1954



1955:   Centre Rosebowl won. Mesdames F. Renton, E. King, H. Harpur and I. Murray [skip] 1957:   Centre Rosebowl won. Mesdames F. Renton, E. King, H. Harpur and I. Murray [skip]


Rosebowl winners 1955 & 1957




1962:   First annual fixture with the Fendalton Ladies’ Club
1962;  Mesdames J. Ritchie, A. Rawlings, H. Harpur and G. Leith [skip] won the South Canterbury Fours
1966:   Championship singes won for the third successive time by Mrs. J. Ritchie
1967:   Mrs. E. King elected as a life member
1970:   Mrs. B. Steel was a Canterbury rep
1971:   Mrs. D. Hattaway and Mrs. S. Hartly became Canterbury reps
1 – 10 – 74:   25th anniversary held at the Redwood Hotel with 57 members attending.
The Golden Years:  1974 – 84.
This was a time when the women’s section reached a membership peak. Throughout this decade the membership averaged 90 and reached the maximum 100 during the 1983 – 4 season. Not only was it buoyant membership but it was “glory days” on the greens as well.
1974:   Miss V. Flood [skip] Mrs. C. Skinner,Mrs. R. Martin and Mr. L. Haberfield won the South Canterbury Biennial Fours
1975:   G. Gillespie, champion of champions first year player
1976:   V. Flood and R. Martin selected for Canterbury
1978:   G. Gillespie and V. Flood selected for Canterbury
1979:   G. Gillespie and C. Skinner selected for Canterbury
1882:   H. Howse [skip] G. Gillespie, P. Harper and H. Mullany won the champion of champions fours.


Champion of champion fours 1982




G. Gillespie won the champion of champions singles
1983:   V. Trustcott [skip] H. Howse, D. Rowlatt and G. Gillespie won the Centre Rosebowl
Significant Events:
1974:   Mrs. E. Hartmont elected as a life member
1880:   First time a mixed opening day was held.
1982:   Life members elected; Mrs. I. McIntosh and Mrs. D. Brosnan
1983:   Closing day, men made the afternoon tea. Equality stakes.
Steps towards Equality:  1985 – 95.
1985 – 95 saw membership drop and a marked slump in bowling successes. There were some successes though.
1989   Rowntree Cup won. The team won 8 games in a row, a unique achievement.
Canterbury reps included Joan Auton, Riwa Birnie, Gabriel Voogt, Mary Lu Patterson and Cath Tillman.
During this period women had limited success on the green but positive steps were made towards integration. Although denied voting rights they were becoming more proactive and sought to opportunities to advance their claim for equal rights. They had made donations and purchased debentures to assist the club in raising finance.
Although the battle for equal rights appeared lost men and women did work very well together in various projects.
1992   A combined committee in a membership drive.
1993   Joined building committee, fundraising committee and social committee.
By this stage many club members realized that the only way for the club to operate effectively was for men and women to work together as equals. At natinal level there was a strong shift towards amalgamation of men’s and women’s bowls at all levels.
The St. Albans Club was ready and waiting.