Over the past five years the Bongaree Bowls Club has gone from running at a loss to having a special place on the Bowling calendar.
Chairman Barry France and Treasurer Marilyn Weston, who took over about five years ago, have helped to turn the club into a success. Now the once struggling local club is running at a profit and has teams from all over Queensland travelling to the island for their annual Men’s Invitational.
The club’s annual Men’s Invitational Carnival that is held on the 2nd weekend of June each year works as their major fundraiser and is a huge draw for the bowling community.
For the event 28 teams compete in Men’s fours, and so far they’ve filled the numbers every year.
Chairman Barry France said of the event “We’ve been running it for five years… we’ve got teams from South Lismore, Canungra, Oakey, Pittsworth, Wynnum, Holland Park, Pelican Waters, Kawana Waters, Bribie Island and Solander and we had six of our own club teams… A lot of visitors come to the island for the weekend but normally turn up Friday and go home Monday, and it’s a major event.
The Bongaree Bowls Club is known as the friendly club with only 20% of their members being competitive, they are more about the social element of Bowls. However, this doesn’t stop them from enjoying the friendly competition during the carnival.
Besides the carnival a key aspect of the club’s turnaround success has been the growth in their membership. A huge part of which Treasurer Marilyn Weston says is thanks to their partnership with the University of the Third Age (U3A).
“[We’re] just about to finish four years connection with U3A. When Barry and I were first on the board, a few of us had a meeting just trying to decide how we were going to increase our membership which will only increase our funds and we approached U3A about doing a training program as one of their subjects. At the beginning of each school semester, we do a six-week training course as a subject through U3A and it’s been extremely successful in us gaining new members.” Treasurer Marilyn Weston said.
Relying on sponsorships from local businesses, green fees and raffles for their income the club are happy to continue expanding and strongly encourage anyone interested in coming to learn, as it is free to learn.
The club with its community and social focus encourages members to form teams and allows members to play mixed every day—knowing that it’s important to not make members feel divided from each other. The club is active every week from Tuesday to Saturday.
For those interested in joining the Bongaree Bowls Club please direct your membership enquiries to Marilyn Weston who can be contacted on the following phone number: 0408 788 041