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Are bowling clubs disappearing from Australia?

Bowling clubs were once the heart of the community, but Sydney’s local bowlo is slowly dying out.

A new study from UNSW’s School of Built Environment finds that there are 128 Bowls clubs remaining in Sydney after 51 clubs have closed over the past decade.

In 1980 there were 210 throughout the capital.

No new bowling clubs have been established in Sydney between 2005 and 2020.

Professor Robert Freestone, co-author of the study, said: “They have life left, but as more is lost, it’s not just an important part of the cultural landscape, it’s important to many people. Another space is lost,” he said.

Lead author Lewis Heath worked at a bowling club in the eastern suburbs of Sydney while at school, which inspired his paper on the demise of bowling clubs in Australia.

talk New DailyMr Heath, now a city planner, said the bowling club was quintessentially Australian.

Curious about what the future holds for the institution and drawn from sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s Third Space concept, Heath examined the apparent demise of the Sydney Bowl.

For his research he looked only at Sydney and the classification of clubs was open to the public.

Australia’s symbolic ‘third space’

Australia’s first bowling club was the Melbourne Bowling Club, founded in 1864 and still in operation today. The oldest bowling club in New South Wales is the Balmain Bowling Club, which is still in operation.

Ironically, the Melbourne Bowling Club was the setting for a classic Australian film cracker jackIt’s a case of life in imitation of art, a lighthearted 2002 comedy revolving around the early demise of a struggling inner-city lawn bowl club.

After World War II, there was a bit of a “leisure boom,” and bowling became a popular pastime.

Bowling clubs were also vital to the communities they served.
“Third Space” is similar. According to Heath, the first space is home, the second space is the workplace, and the third space is where the community gathers.

“Every great community has a third place where people don’t have to make plans to meet someone there, just walk in and feel at home, see familiar faces, and interact with the local community.” There are a lot of Places,” said Heath.

Practicing social “barefoot bowls” makes the sport more accessible to younger audiences.

“So I think it’s very important that the community has a third space.”

Bowls Australia General Manager Chris Wallace said the Bowling Club is more than just a place to bowl.

“It’s a social space where many members of the community come together to have fun and celebrate events. Other social activities often take place at the bowling club,” he said. New Daily.

Why did Bouros disappear?

When Mr. Heath worked in Bouro, he did not see the greens full of people, but several retirees out during the day.

According to Heath, people have less time these days and playing grass bowls has generally become a longer leisure activity.

There are several reasons why bowling clubs are slowly disappearing, he said.

There used to be a lot of clubs and that may have been the reason why so many closed.

After the post-war leisure boom, many clubs sprung up around Sydney, sometimes even in the same suburbs.

“So there were a lot of bowling clubs everywhere. [government] It’s an incentive for communities to build bowling clubs,” said Heath.

“As the years went by, that kind of leisure… I think the population had less leisure time and the bowling club couldn’t survive.”

But the club’s decline seems to be unique to Sydney, Wallace said.

“Nationally, the sport has grown from 500 clubs in 1940 to 2200 clubs.

In the 2000s,” Wallace said.

“It was the fastest growing sport in the country for 80 years.”

Wallace said the culling of some of Sydney’s clubs had to happen, and that Concord had several clubs within two kilometers of each other.

Lawn Bowls was the fastest growing sport in the country for 80 years. Photo: AAP

The evolution of bowling in Australia

“For each club that closes, we’re opening green spaces elsewhere, including at the Retirement Lifestyle Village,” Wallace said.

Developers feel a strong need to install bowling greens in retiree villages, he said, and many people who live there are asking for greens to be installed.

In 1980, there were only 40 retirement villages with bowling alleys; today, 290 villages have bowling alleys.

But retirees aren’t the only ones bowling. Wallace said the national trend is for people in their 20s and his 30s to play more bowls than ever before.

Bowls Australia also runs programs in schools across Australia, introducing approximately 25,000 children to the sport.

The game itself was also made more formal by offering a barefoot bowl.

He said it may not be formal or traditional, but many clubs are doing “great business”, drawing people to the green for the barefoot bowl.

However, even if people have never actually dabbled in the sport, it is highly likely that they have been to bowling clubs for drinks and activities.

bowls australia latest annual report 630,700 Australians will regularly participate in the sport from 2020 to 2021, an increase of 1.9%.

https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/state/nsw/sydney/2022/11/29/bowling-clubs-sydney-community/ Are bowling clubs disappearing from Australia?

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