The first page in the history of this club came about in 1933, when a notice was placed in “The Broadcaster”, a local newspaper, convening a public meeting (held in the Cannings Hall in Guildford Rd, where the ANZ Bank was situated) about exploring ways and means of forming a bowling club in the town.
S.B.Smith, a local businessman, was elected a chairman-a position he held until the formation of the club.
The Bowling Club Formation Committee approached the Granville Council, which controlled the area east of the railway line, several times- asking permission to build a bowling green in the south -western corner of Guildford Park for the use of Guildford’s citizens.
Eventually the consent for one green was granted and the sum of six hundred pounds was allocated for the project in the form of a loan, together with the authority to relocate the old weather board cottage in the park to serve as a club house.
When deciding on a badge for the club, a suggestion was made about approaching Guildford Bowling Club in England asking for permission to depict the Guildford Castle for this purpose. With authorization granted, the Guildford Castle became and still is our emblem.
In 1935 bowls began in Guildford, presided over by our initial president Mr S.B.Smith. It became the first bowling club established along the Liverpool line south of Strathfield.
The club began with about thirty-six members and it was a common occurrence to close the club and travel south to Campbelltown and Camden for a game of bowls, with reciprocal visits in turn by the clubs visited.
In the mid-40s, a second green was built, along with the greenkeepers’ shed at the eastern end. The next built amenity to the club was a recreational hall across the front of the club house.
In 1959/60, after much deliberation with the Council and Park Committee it was resolved to allocate extra parkland to the bowling club, enabling a new club house to be constructed. To compensate the Park Committee for this extra land, Guildford Bowling Club contributed to the covering of the large drainage canal which crosses the park, thus creating an additional area for other playing fields- all to satisfaction of other sporting bodies.
In 1961, the women’s club name was changed from Guildford-Fairfield WBC to Guildford Women’s Bowling Club.
1963 has seen the construction of the new club house and the opening ceremony was conducted by the president of the R.N.S.W.B.A. in June 1964. The old club house on the eastern side of the park was then presented to Guildford Wanderers Soccer Club for their use.
By the mid-1960s, club membership has risen to 407 men and 102 women bowlers; we also had three greens (two couch and one bent and couch).
The three greens have since been dedicated to long serving Committee members in recognition of their many years of devoted service to the club and members. Number one green was named “Fred Windred Green”, number two “Reg Pearce Green” (deceased) and number three “Vic Curtis Green”.
In 1978, purchase of the entire land (which GBC currently occupies) from the Lands Department was completed together with the acquisition of the cottage alongside the club.
Since those early days much work has been undertaken to improve club’s facilities, including the maintenance of the surrounds and the three greens- which have received many a compliment from the visiting bowlers. Our thanks go to all our past and current greenkeepers for keeping the grounds immaculate.
In 2007, the “Guildford Goannas” were born. The goanna logo was featured for the first time on the back of the Grade 4 players’ shirts when they won the Zone and State Flags. Thereafter the goanna was included on all our pennant shirts and “Go the Goannas” became the “war cry”. The design was done by then-members Ian and Jim Ogilvy.
The large encased real seven foot (2.2m) goanna displayed above the doors leading to the number two green was donated by club member Joe Halas.
Over the years GBC teams and individuals, both male and female, have had many a success on the greens and achievements of note have been:
In 2015 we could only field two teams in Pennants, a Grade 4 and a Grade 6. Regrettably both teams were defeated on an extra end for the Zone Pennants.
Guildford Bowling Club, like many smaller bowling clubs, has had an ongoing issue with the decreasing numbers of players. With the requirements of having four or more teams contesting pennants annually, we were only able to field two teams although with exceptional results. As we move forward with the amalgamation with Merrylands Bowling Club, we look forward to an increase of players and competition teams, and returning to the winners circle.
2016 has seen us again field only two Pennant teams- a Grade 3 and a Grade 6, with mixed results- Grade 3 winning all five of their games whilst Grade 6 started with two wins followed up with three consecutive losses. We are hoping to see that Goanna Grit shine for the Grade 6 in the second round.
On the home front, our Championships have commenced and while having few good games, we also had few upsets.