GEELONG CEMENT BOWLS CLUB
In 1925 the Australian Portland Cement Company (later known as Geelong Cement Company) purchased the Paper Mill Hall in Autumn Street, Herne Hill for use by the workers as a Recreation Club.
The Bowls section was formed in 1926 on this site, which also included a Croquet Green and Tennis Court; however the site had a short life as it was burnt to the ground in May 1930.
Bowls continued, but meetings were held at the company in various departments.
In September 1935 the Company purchased two National Trust buildings for the sum of 2500 Pounds. One was the bluestone building, which housed the Geelong Orphanage Asylum from 1855, the other being the Common School built in 1865.
In 1940 the main Bowling Green was opened in McCurdy Road, Herne Hill, comprising of 9 rinks, and in the 1960’s a Croquet Green was converted into a Bowling Green, giving the club a further 5 rinks.
The Bowls Section was used as Clubrooms in the Common School until 1977.
The Old Orphanage houses a Museum that depicts the history of the Cement Company, along with other items of historical value.
In the early part of the 1960’s the Club relaxed the rule of Cement Workers only, and membership was open to all.
September 1961 saw the commencement of the Ladies Section, with a membership of 23 in the first year.
In 1977 the Jubilee Hall was opened. The building was financed by the Recreation Club and the Company. With this new facility Indoor Bowls was introduced, and has since made its presence felt in the district by producing the District Champion of Champions seven times. The ladies on four occasions, and the men on three.
In 1995 this building was extended to improve the kitchen, bar, and toilet facilities.
Over the years the Club has had many visits to Clubs such as Creswick, Lara, Ballarat, Altona, Timboon, and several years ago a group visited Candos in N.S.W.
A low point in the Clubs history was the decision by the owners of Geelong Cement Company to cease producing in Geelong in 2001 due to economic reasons, and to sell the plant to a developer for demolishing. This could have meant the end of the Bowls Club, however a small group of members calling itself K.C.B. (Keep Cement Bowling), backed by a determined Committee, worked extremely hard to form a strategy to purchase the Club. Many meetings with Politicians, Council, Company and the Developer, sometimes lasting into the small hours of the morning; however agreement was reached for the purchase of the current facility less the small green of 5 rinks. However we have been able to lease this green on a year-to-year basis.
The time frame of this lease is entirely dependent on the developer’s agenda.
Like most clubs our future will be determined by our recruitment of new members, and our ability to manage our business affairs to continue to keep the Club viable for our members.
With the cohesion of all members in embracing this strategy, the future of our Club looks very positive.
Life Members: Jack Beasley, George Gammon, Horrie Kayler-Thomson (dec), Jim Bernard (dec)
Joan Kayler-Thomson (dec), Bette Muffet (dec) Ken Allen (dec) Hilda Colbert Ron Dye Barbara Lewis Ian Norsworthy Mary Smith Joe Mellington Glad Mellington John Mellington Brian Biviano June Biviano Lloyd Matthews John Willis John Sawers