They began in a shed little bigger than a garage, but 125 years on Woonona Bowling Club are celebrating their status as the oldest bowls club in Illawarra and among the founding clubs in Australia.
Woonona resident William Rees returned from England in 1892 wanting to set up a bowls club and following a public meeting two years later the men's club was formed with 21 members.
The original clubhouse was just a 3m by 3.7m shed and games were first played on a grass tennis court adjacent to the present facility.
Two years after forming, the club acquired land and three rinks were constructed, heralding the first of many extensions and refurbishments to a club which now has three excellent greens and facilities to host the region's biggest tournaments.
From the humblest of beginnings in 1894, Woonona Men's Bowling Club now boasts 144 bowling members and takes pride of place among its community.
For generation upon generation the club has provided a sporting outlet, plus a venue to mix socially.
Few would argue Woonona BC hasn't left an indelible positive mark on the lives of many families. Noel Pitman was born just 100 metres from Woonona BC and joined the club in 1972; serving in a number of official roles.
''We've had great bowlers walk through this club and play for us but one of the things that stands out is we are a club for everyone, no matter what standard of bowler you are,'' Noel said.
''We're family-orientated and community based.''
Woonona Men's BC isn't short of top players and achievements as it turns the page on 125 years.
State selector and state bowler Frank Johnston was a legendary figure during the halcyon years of the 1960s and '70s.
Woonona reached the summit of club bowls in making the final of the State No 1 Pennants in 1970 and 1973, while in 1993 its No 5 Pennant team claimed the ultimate team prize; winning the State Pennant Flag.
Joining Frank Johnston among the elite bowlers to grace the clubhouse Honour Roll are Tom Brown, state bowler and winner of the Major Singles in 1973 and 1974, plus Albert 'Dooley' Lear who won four Woonona Major Singles titles between 1940 and 1950.
In recent years Barry Martin rewrote the record books as the only member to win five straight Major Singles between 2004-2008.
Martin is also one of the greatest players in six decades of the prestigious South Pacific Carnival, held annual after Christmas.
Woonona marked its 125th anniversary with three big days of bowls: a Ladies 2-Bowl Triples, followed by a Men's 3-Bowl Triples, plus a special President's Day.
The Woonona Women's Bowls Club is also Illawarra's oldest women's bowls club and this year proudly celebrated its 80th anniversary.
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