The Argus, Wednesday 28 December 1887
THE MELBOURNE BOWLING CLUBS NEW PAVILION.
The members of the Melbourne Bowling Club, which is the oldest bowling club in the colony, opened a new pavilion on their green at Windsor, yesterday, and celebrated the occasion by a luncheon, to which a number of the leading members of other clubs were invited .
The new pavilion is a substantial and also an ornamental brick structure and has been erected at a cost of about £1,000, to the design and under the superintendence of Mr, S. Willis, contractor, and vice president of the club, whoso services in connection with the building were gratuitous. The pavilion is a two story building, and so very commodious. It has on the ground floor a members room, 3ft long by 14ft wide spacious bar and a double skittle alley 35ft long by 20ft. wide. On the upper floor is a billiard room 36ft long by 27ft. wide (in which the club are about to place two new billiard tables) a committee room 14 ft square, a nlce card room, and a fine balcony 40ft. long by 8ft. wide, from which a full view is afforded of any bowling taking place’ on the green. The land on which the pavilion is erected is the freehold property of the club and so also is their green and the committee a short time ago decided to borrow the money to erect the pavilion, which they were easily enabled to do, as their land is worth at least five times more than the pavilion has cost. They expect to be able to pay off the debt easily in few years
The luncheon was served in good style by Mr C D Straker in the billiard room, and the members and guests numbering altogether about 5O, sat down to it at 2 o clock in the afternoon. Mr W Siddeley, the president of the club, occupied the chair, with Mr. Thomas Bailey (one of the first presidents of the club) on his right, and Mr. John Blyth, a visitor from the Brighton club, on his left.
After the usual loyal and patriotic toasts had been proposed and duly honoured, Ihe Chairman proposed ‘”Our Visitors” and in doing so asked permission to say a few words with reference to the new pavilion Their club was the oldest bowling club in the colony and to many of the old members it had been almost a matter of regret that circumstances had called for the removal of the old pavilion and the erection of the new one. At the same time it had been felt that the change was necessary and one of the reasons was the desire of soma of the members for the erection of a good skittle alley. It was also considered that, in addition to skittles, which provide a good healthy game in winter there should be a billiard room and the room in which they were now assembled would soon be furnished with two first class billiard tables. In addition to those things and their bowling green, they had on their land some splendid lawn tennis courts and a quoit ground, and one of the rooms m the new pavilion could be used as a card room if it were required for that purpose. There would therefore be a variety of modes of enjoyment provided on the grounds and in the pavilion for the members and their friends who might visit them. As to the toast, he might say that he and his fellow members were much gratified that so many visitors from other clubs were present to assist in celebrating the opening of the pavilion. The members of the club would always be delighted to see any of their friends on the green or in the pavilion, and would endeavour to pay them a right hearty welcome on all occasions.
Mr R. Bodington, of the Victoria Club, responded to the to toast. He stated that he was very glad to be able to congratulate the club on the possession of such a fine building as the new pavilion, and that he hoped other clubs would follow the example which had now been set them, and erect similar pavilions. Mr John Blyth of the Brighton club also responded to the toast and thanked the club for the pleasant entertainment they had given to the visitors.
Dr W H Embling proposed “Success to the New Pavilion” and coupled the toast with the name of Mr S Willis the architect and erector of the building He stated that the idea of having a new pavillion emanated principally from Mr Willis, and that when it was pointed out to that gentleman that the club had no money for such a purpose, he replied that money was not wanted, but only paper, and the club could easily give plenty of that (Laughter) Mr Willis advice was taken the paper was given, and the club had now a line pavilion and grounds and ample means of amusement.
Mr S Willis, who was received with cheers said he did not deserve the credit which had been given him. He had, however, been a member of the club for a good number of years, and had used his best endeavours to get the new pavilion erected. It would, he believed, be a credit to the club, and he hoped they would long be spared to use it and entertain their visitors in it. Before concluding he desired to state that he had been very much assisted in his work by his friend and fellow member, Mr George Thompson.
Mr George Thompson, who was called upon to speak, stated that the debt which had been contracted was only a small matter for such an important club and he felt sure there would be no debt existing on the club after about four or five years had passed. Several other toasts were proposed and responded to. The pavilion and green were visited during the afternoon by a good number of the lady relatives and friends of the members, and the ladies were entertained at tea and refreshments during the afternoon in the billiard room.
When the proceedings at the luncheon were over, scratch teams of bowlers were formed from the members and the visitors, and a very pleasant afternoon was spent by them on the green.
The old wooden pavilion which was referred to by the chairman in his remarks, has been removed bodily to the lawn tennis courts, and placed there as a ladies pavilion. A new wooden pavilion has also been erected by the lawn tennis courts for the use of the gentlemen lawn tennis players.