THE URANGAN BOWLS CLUB INC
HERVEY BAY QLD
Urangan Bowls Club as we know it today would be cause for many of the original members to be flush with pride. It was only just over 30 years ago that the first clubhouse and green was officially opened. Of course it didn’t happen over night and just as with other bowls clubs, many wonderfully dedicated people made it happen. A public meeting held in May 1974 decided that a new bowls club in Hervey Bay should be formed and so it did. The Urangan Bowls Club was founded in 1975 and built on land generously donated by the first president, Roy Robb.
The early years. Much was needed to be done before the first bowl could be rolled and the archives tell of the tireless efforts by many of the first club members who proved to be the backbone on which the Urangan Bowls Club success story was built. The first secretary, Rod Gilbert, had an enormous work load ensuring the proper RQBA affiliation measures were met, electricity connected ,road access made, town water connected and finance arranged. The original bank loan was short of the required amount so Rod started Bingo sessions on a Monday night in the Memorial Hall at Pialba which contributed around $10,000 towards the building costs. That was a fantastic effort in a period when bingo was held on most nights of the week in the same hall.
No poker machine profits in those days He also had the tricky task of obtaining a Liquor Licence while serving stubbies from a couple of fridges in the old soil shed. Anyone who has dealt with the Licensing Inspectors would appreciate what a feat that was in itself. Rod became the club’s first Licencee. Plans for the clubhouse were in progress while the finance was being arranged and a very proud President Roy Robb rolled the first bowl on opening day on 3rd December 1977.
While this was all happening Roy Robb convened a meeting of lady bowlers who formed the first Urangan Bowls Club Ladies Club in March 1977. Frances Larsen held the honour of being the club’s first Lady President. It wasn’t long before the new club needed more room to cater for the tremendous increase in new members so land for the second green was purchased and extensions to the clubhouse got underway. The installation of the second green was completed and officially opened during 1982. Vern Staib was President of the men’s club at this time and Maisie Briskie the Lady President. Another of our early workhorses, Ron (Skinny) Stanton was President when the clubhouse extensions were carried out and opened in 1983. The clubhouse was completed and officially opened in January 1986 with Fred Drew as President. The young club had arrived in style, stamping it’s mark on the bowling scene as both ladies and men took out serious competition titles in the Wide Bay district. The club facilities and greens soon gained the proud reputation of being among the finest in the region.
From strength to strength. There was no time to rest on the laurels and the club continued to gather momentum both in membership and achievements with a number of players going on to represent the district and compete in the Queensland State Championships. Both the ladies and men took out a number of district pennant titles over the years as evidenced by the pennant flags displayed in the clubhouse. Urangan again demonstrated leadership qualities when in 1995 the ladies and men’s clubs amalgamated to form a single entity known as Urangan Bowls Club Inc. This was to prove a sound business initiative with a Board of Management elected to run the business and financial affairs of the club while the ladies and men got on with conducting the bowls competitions but still having a designated place in the Board of Management.
The first Board of Management executive elected saw Roy Bowd as Chairman and Mary Bayfield as Deputy Chair. Changes aplenty. The club continued to experience solid growth financially during the period after amalgamation but there was still some radical changes to come. In year 2000 under the Chairmanship of Allan Harrold, it was decided that a state of the art covered bowls green should be built. Members traveled to Rockhampton to look at and play on one that was preferred if the proposal proceeded. While there were a few resisting this sort of change the overwhelming majority of members were keen to get the project started. Just as the original greens took a lot of planning so did such a project of this size and cost. A funding submission was meticulously prepared by Allan Harrold and sent to the Government for approval.
Everyone was dismayed when it was rejected but it was resubmitted in 2001 with approval granted for $300,000 toward the costs. The place came alive with all sorts of activities and interest in the new direction the club was about to embark upon. Benefits such as an all weather roof and a green of International standard was the icing on the cake. Other benefits such as protection from the ever increasing UV rays and heat as well as the elimination of chemicals and precious water to maintain the grass greens were being realized by members. The brilliant lighting ensured night play was no longer difficult and was not restricted to the summer months because of dew factors. Just as in the early years of the club, there was no shortage of volunteers willing to do whatever they could to ensure their new green went in as soon as possible.
Allan had suffered serious health problems as the project commenced and asked his Deputy Chairman, Russ Tremlin to oversee the construction and completion of the project. The project was completed in March 2002 and Allan was on the mend, so it was decided that the official opening would be held in June which allowed Allan to recoup sufficiently to officiate at the opening. It was a proud day for Allan and the Urangan members. Membership has continued to grow with over 300 in the men’s section, 200 in the ladies section and 300 social members.
The Junior Bowler Development Officer, Koos Uldriks has done a marvelous job and now has 20 juniors in his squad. Many of them are now competing with success in the senior bowls competition and has a couple who have made it in the State selection trials. Most days juniors can be seen practicing on the covered greens so it appears to have their approval as well.
Changes continue. Part of the original vision for the expansion was to see both greens eventually covered and synthetic greens laid. In only a few short years since the first covered green was built we now see the completion of the second synthetic green covered and lighting installed. This second stage has been driven by our current Board of Management with Dudley Humphris as Chairman.
Unfortunately Dudley and his Board have had to carry out the project without Government funding but again the members have rallied to make sure that the job was done. As Dudley rolls the first bowl down the green on official opening day he will feel justifiably proud of the achievements of what all Urangan Bowls Club members consider the best club in the district. As stated in the opening remarks, there would be a feeling of great pride and sense of achievement by the original founding members as the ever forward thinking and planning of their great Urangan Bowls Club marked yet another milestone in it’s proud but relatively short history.