Before the Werribee Bowls Club ever existed on the Chirnside Park site, there was in fact a croquet club which was used for the first time on Saturday 14th March 1907. The croquet club was part of was a very active sports and social scene in the Shire of Werribee.
On 2nd January, 1922 Rev. W.H. Ash introduced a deputation of ladies, comprising the popular postmistress of the time Miss O’Brien as well as Mesdames O.S Wilson and F. Beamish asking the support of the association in forming a bowling green in the park. Miss O’Brien received a very liberal response from the residents of Werribee receiving promises of over thirty pounds that proved enough to establish a bowling green. Work began preparing the playing green adjoining the croquet lawn in early February 1922.
The Werribee Bowling Green was officially opened on 2nd March 1922 by the president of the Shire Cr P.R. Bayley who was also the president of the Club. In his address he pleasingly referred to the popularity of the pastime which until recent years had been looked upon as an old man’s game but he was glad to see that many of the young men were taking an active interest in it and in many instances were showing their superiority over their elders. It was a branch of sport in which not only men but women also could take part and he hoped that those ladies present would avail themselves of the opportunity to become members. It was also one of the many branches of sport into which gambling element never entered and he considered it should be commended and supported if only for this alone.
The first game played on the new bowling green was between Werribee and Eastern Park Geelong on 9th March 1922. The final scores were Geelong 41 and Werribee 38. This was an excellent debut from our local players in their initial match against a strong and experienced team.
On 29th July 1926, the Club President Mr. J.P. O’Toole presided at a special meeting to propose the erection of a large pavilion on the green. With voluntary labour and 37 pounds, work began almost immediately to be ready for the forthcoming bowling season.
The new pavilion was completed and officially opened on 23rd December 1937. Features of this new pavilion were its roominess, attractive fireplace and indirect lighting system…!
The Werribee Bowls Club Honour Board was unveiled on 21st December 1939 generously presented by the president Mr W. Carter and later in 1945 an additional green was constructed and handed over to the Club by Cr W. Carter who had borne all costs of the construction.
The Club’s first White Pennant (and the first conducted by RVBA) was won in 1961-62 season. The team included one of our own novice bowlers of 1960-61, no other than Jack Hosking who at that early stage was showing the potential of a champion. Jack won his first singles club championship in 1965-66 and went on to win the Victorian Champion of Champions title. He later won the Metropolitan and Victorian singles in 1975-76, the Richmond Union Master Singles in 1979-80 and the Australian Open Singles title in 1980-81 as well as many other Pairs and Fours competitions.
The Club’s third green was formed and sown in the 1963-64 season under the jurisdiction of a Greens Committee consisting of Ern Castagnone, Bill Garfield and Harry Griffith.
Our present clubhouse was completed during the 1978-79 season.
In 2003 the club entered into a merger agreement with the Werribee Sub-Branch of the RSL. Under this agreement the RSL managed the venue and allowed the bowling section to conduct the bowling operations. One significant addition to the Club during this time was the replacement of the No1 green with a synthetic turf that enables bowls to be played all year round.
Changing circumstances led to an amicable demerger in late 2011 supported almost unanimously by members of the Werribee RSL Sub-Branch and Werribee RSL Bowls members. A new entity known as Werribee Bowls Club Inc took over full responsibility for all bowls functions at Chirnside Park on 1st December 2011. With this change a small group of dedicated volunteers under the leadership of the late Rob Casey undertook a major refurbishment of the interior of the Clubhouse.
Today the Club boasts a membership of approx. 300 and has three greens; one synthetic and two grass with excellent facilities to accommodate all new and old bowlers alike.