The story about this page:
This page has been 'on the go' for some time now, with many peoples' input. Last year we persuaded John Waller to pick up the mantle and lead the project. John is a stickler for accuracy (maybe that's why he is an Umpire?) and he has authored below the first edition - more is to follow. Thank you John. Also a big thanks to Nobby Clark and John McCormick.
Click on any of the images below to display them full size in a separate window.
1978 to 1983:
Ray Quinton suggested to a few of his mates that a lawn bowling club in West Melton would be a good idea. They all agreed and set the idea in motion.
On Friday 31/03/1978 at a meeting called by the West Melton Domain Board the West Melton Bowling club was formed. There were 16 members present and the meeting was chaired by Mr J. Jarman. The following points were made:
1. The club is to be for ladies and men.
2. Bowling Green to be sited in the south east corner of the domain.
3. Water to be taken from the water race on Rolleston road.
4. The following committee was elected to investigate all aspects of establishment of the green.
The officers and committee for subsequent meetings were: chairman, N. K. Calder; secretary, R.C.Hobern; committee, (Ladies) M. Quinton; F. Calder; I. Pearce; (Men) R. Quinton; H.J. Overton.
The committee met later and the secretary was asked to write to Christchurch Bowling centre and Malvern sub centre informing them that the club had been formed but would not be in operation for at least 2 years.
When we first contacted the Canterbury centre the club advised them that we intended to be an integrated club. This was in the days when such things were unheard of and the centre told us that if we did that we would be ineligible to enter any of their competitions etc etc, so bowing to the inevitable we formed a ladies’ and a men’s section. We were obviously ahead of the curve and would like to think the club has remained that way in being a progressive outfit.
Subsequent meetings were held at the committee members homes when discussions revolved mainly around fund raising ideas. These included auctions, progressive dinners, Bavarian evenings, Las Vegas evenings, discos for young people, arts and craft displays at the homes of West Melton residents and mannequin parades. A major contribution was from growing and selling potatoes. Arthur Pearce, Derek Wild, John and Peter Pearce were the farmers involved and Jim Jarman provided the land. Golf tournaments organized by Nobby Clark generated substantial funds. Firewood was another fund raising effort and all the club members were involved. If you had a chain saw you cut, if you didn’t you stacked the wood in one square metre crates. Howard Mitchell provided the wood. At the 19/02/1979 meeting it was decided that the subscription for foundation members should be $20.
In the preparation of the green, apart from the really heavy work requiring machinery, the rest of the work was done by the early members and the founding members who put in a lot of hard work to break in a farm paddock to the stage where the Cotula could be sown. Then the concrete surround of the green was built, again by the club’s members. The first AGM of the club was held on 06/04/1979. Discussions took place regarding whether to have a synthetic green or a weed green. Later in the year it was decided to have a Cotula green. By mid 1979 the number of committee members had grown to seventeen.
The first AGM (public meeting) of the WMBC held on 06/04/1979 in the lounge of the hall (West Melton Community Centre). Ray Quinton was appointed superintendent of works for construction of the green.
Nobby Clark and John McCormick provided information on the early years of the club’s formation not found in the minute books.
John McCormick: In the early years the management of the green was done by club members under the expert direction of Ray Quinton. Holes were drilled in the green and wires were stretched across. Soil was deposited and a large metal girder pulled over the wires to give a flat, even surface. Over the years we built shelters, seating, irrigation (replacing pipework and valves for flooding the green) all using members’ skills in metal work, carpentry, roofing, plumbing and pipe-fitting. Alterations to the building have also been undertaken by club members, new toilets and upgrading of the kitchen and the bar. In my early days the club bought in the beer in plastic riggers. The working bees were great for club unity and getting to know one another. Hard work and great fun.
Nobby Clark: It was lucky that most of the members were farmers who had access to some heavy machinery. Ray Quinton was in charge of the levels so you can be sure they were spot on. The original Cotula diocha came from a farm in Southland and Arthur Pearce and (I think) Norm Calder drove a truck down there in 1979/80. For some reason the green did not thrive so they had to make a second trip south for more diocha which grew successfully. The timber for the fence was donated by Mitchell Bros and Howard, Robin Hobern and I spent a busy Saturday dressing it. A small concrete building was erected for storage and I think also a small basic kitchen.
At the 29/06/1979 meeting M. Le Cren offered to set up a constitution for the club. Also it was decided to write to the Christchurch centre seeking a ruling on whether wheelchairs are allowed on the green. Also confirmed was the purchase of a mower. A letter to the Council stating that 10,000 gallons of water to be put on quickly were needed once a week and a letter to the Dallington and Halswell clubs seeking supplies of Cotula groovings. Concreting of the green surrounds was accomplished in November 1979. The Cotula was sown in April 1980.
The second AGM was held on 29/05/1980 also in the West Melton Community centre and a meeting was set for September 1980 to discuss the formation of a women’s club.
About this time approach was made to Templeton Hospital for WMBC to use their green for the 1981-1982 season. It was also resolved that the amended rules of the Burnside Bowling club be adopted for the following year. The first sowing of the green was unsuccessful so Norm Calder made the long trip to Orepuki early in 1981 to obtain more Cotula. This was successfully laid in March 1981. In July 1981 the club received a notice from Templeton Hospital that we would be welcome to use their green.
At a board meeting in August 1981 it was decided to buy and re-site a building for use as a pavilion with the addition of toilet facilities. About a year later the executive committee decided not to go ahead with the pavilion but to complete the existing building. The first building to be erected housed a storage room, toilets and the kitchen. The lounge and bar were added later.
Finally after a few problems with establishing the green it was ready for play. At a special executive committee meeting 6/11/1982 it was resolved that the domestic opening day be Sunday 14th November 1982.
At a special general meeting it was resolved that the club join with other West Melton groups including rugby club, tennis club, hockey club and scouts and guiding groups to build a community sport pavilion on the West Melton Domain.
At the executive committee meeting 2/12/1982 it was resolved that Sunday 20/02/1983 be the provisional date for the formal opening of the club. The opening was performed by the President of the Christchurch Bowling Centre, Bill Bodger, and Mrs Melva White, President of the Womens’ Centre.
At the executive meeting in 10/03/1983 it was noted that club membership had risen to 30. Also it was recorded that the opening day was a great success and a report on this was submitted by the secretary (click here to view).
I would like to thank Nobby Clark, Howard Mitchell, Helen Pearce, Derek Wild for providing information that helped me prepare the WMBC history and to Bill Wilson for his computer expertise in building the website.