It is at once sobering and exciting that we have entered a new year and left what might be described as a year best forgotten behind.
While 2020 was full of surprises, and not all of them pleasant, we in Central Queensland have been more fortunate than in some parts of the country. At Rockhampton Bowls Club we managed to continue with our bowling, engage in competition and enjoy our fellow bowlers’ company.
We also held a number of functions for guests and conducted our end of year activities without too much disruption.
Our annual Christmas Party and trophy presentation night went well with members enjoying the music, meal and fellow members’ company accompanied by drinks and good conversation. There was a similar number of guests as last year and most looked as though they were in the Christmas spirit. Tables looked festive and the meal was delicious. There were prizes and surprises galore and it was great to see many of our life members and their spouses and our Central Queensland men’s and ladies’ organisations representatives and sponsors enjoying the night.
I was really pleased with our projected pictures of the past and current year on our screen, courtesy of Phil Robinson and Eric Barber.
Our Champion Singles winners were Clem Magee (men’s) and Marion Dobbs (ladies). Congratulations to you both!
Our recent Kington/Warwick Day afternoon, with a delicious afternoon tea arranged by Debbie Simpson and other members, was the last on a busy program and a fitting end to the year. It was on this afternoon that I was reminded how we are nowhere near out of the woods with the scourge of COVID 19 and that we must continue to be vigilant by keeping our social distance, washing and sanitising hands, signing in and out with accurate details and handling food within the appropriate COVID 19 rules.
Already, the programs for our Central Queensland District organisations are set and Jeff Slater, June Shelton and the selectors will be turning their attention to competition for the year.
Our members are encouraged to pay their membership fees, which were set at the AGM, on time to permit participation in the various competitions organised.
Our AGM went fairly smoothly with discussions regarding office holders’ reports and the conduct of events etc. A new committee was elected which included: Chairman Bev Johnston; Secretary Phil Robinson and Treasurer Lyn Houlihan. All these nominees were elected unopposed.
Vice Chairman is Bruce Ballentine and Assistant Treasurer is Syd O’Sing. Bob McGowan and Michael Hagen were appointed to the committee. Jeff Slater was elected President of the Men’s Bowls Sub-Committee (as well as greenkeeper) and Joan Wilson President of the Lady’s Bowls Sub-Committee. This left one committee position unfilled, which was later filled at the following December general meeting by Clyde Jackson.
In non-committee positions, we are fortunate to have Moyna Richardson once again taking on the organisation of juniors. Moyna asked that we purchase two new sets of junior size 00 bowls to add to our resources due to CQDMBA requiring their loaned sets to be returned.
Jim Norris was appointed providore, while Debbie Simpson took on the position of catering manager and cleaner.
Bill Richardson will take care of Containers for Change once again while Bev Johnston will do the volunteer manager job again. The position of bar manager was held over pending Geoff Cranston’s consideration, perhaps once again taking up this responsibility.
One of the immediate issues we have in 2021 is finding a functions manager to attend to function enquiries, making bookings and liaising with the volunteer manager so we can continue with our awesome BBQs. These functions provide us with additional income from our facilities. By confining the job to taking bookings and following up with those enquiries, what we really need is a ‘people person’ who can make sure guests get what they want to make their functions enjoyable.
The functions manager does not need to be at every function but can volunteer to help if they wish. Please consider if you could be that special person. I hope to see our band of volunteers grow this year so that the willing workers are not overburdened by being called on too frequently.
Membership fees were held at the same level as in 2020 and some discussion took place regarding updating our Constitution, Rules, and SOPs. This was a task which we just did not get to in 2020 with the many issues we confronted and so we do hope to do better in 2021.
Of course there are the ongoing maintenance issues which arise consistently and each one must be addressed to keep the club running smoothly. I already have a formidable list and so it goes each year.
I am told from a reliable source that Bowler’s Paradise will be at Diggers Bowls Club on 26 January selling bowling paraphernalia. Just call by to view their stock.
I have been reminded lately by a few of our long-time members that some of the protocols and traditions have been neglected when conducting events. This is, no doubt, a result of having some new members on committees and fewer long-serving members’ input.
While it is hoped that new committee members will familiarise themselves with these things, there will be changes that come with the times. As it was pointed out recently, the people with whom we are dealing, such as our sponsors, are also from a different era and their requirements are changing. With some forethought and helpful input from long-serving members I am sure we can fulfil our obligations to sponsors and keep traditions alive.
2021 is going to be a big year for Rockhampton Bowls Club. The building committee will be looking for support and help and it is hoped the upstairs bar project will get under way early in the year. Our ladies will require new storage facilities and this will be a priority.
Our sport of bowls is one which can be played by people in their latter years with great success and enjoyment but if it is to continue as an activity into the future we must encourage younger members and that sometimes means moving out of our comfort zone and doing things differently.
I do wish each and every member had a pleasant Christmas and that 2021 is a healthy and prosperous year for all.
Despite the many issues caused by the worldwide pandemic we seem to have somehow still managed to maintain some normalcy in our lives.
Playing lawn bowls is just one aspect of our day-to-day lives which continues to bring pleasure, exercise and leisure time with a bit of healthy competition thrown in for good measure.
Our bowls committees should be congratulated for pressing on with competitions and events when it would have been easier to just play socially.
To have the club function as it does takes input from many members. Check the noticeboard for a list of some of the jobs/positions and the people currently responsible in 2020.
AGM set for Sunday, 13 December
Of course, with year’s end comes the club’s Annual General Meeting at 9am on Sunday, 13 December.
As with any business corporation, the AGM gives members an opportunity to question and hear from the Management Committee and then to nominate and possibly elect new/existing committee members to continue the work of running the club.
Also on the noticeboard and on our website you will find nomination forms for this purpose and I encourage every member to think about what they or someone else could do to lighten the load for others.
Nominate members or have others nominate you for one of the many positions.
Already, Marion, our Functions Manager, has taken bookings for nearly every weekend up to Christmas and the need for volunteer workers is urgent. If you can help, please put your name on the functions board or let me know and we can find a job, date and time to suit.
There has been much discussion around the club about the planned renovations upstairs and some members are disappointed by the decisions taken, claiming a lack of consultation.
Constructive concerns welcome
I would like to remind members that everyone has always had a right to voice their opinion and bring their constructive concerns to the committee as changes may be made as the project progresses.
The new bar area (including cold room) is the first stage of a long-term planned upgrade of the upstairs auditorium. Peter Tyler has produced his impression of the main room to show members on screen.
Modernisation of upstairs, which offers a unique and desirable position overlooking our floodlit green and the Fitzroy River, will provide an attractive air-conditioned area for our members during bowling days and an alternative commercial venue for groups, large or small, by utilising mobile partitions/screens and a folding dividing door.
First and foremost, the renovations are designed for the benefit of all members, creating a modern space for afternoon tea during our regular bowls events and other club-related functions.
But the reality is that the club will not survive long-term on bowls alone. By creating a modern space for functions we can offer members of our community a desirable venue for birthday parties, wedding receptions, seminars etc which will generate much-needed revenue for the club.
The new bar area will be in the existing ladies lounge area and my hope is that we can refurbish what was the front verandah (now enclosed with glass doors/windows) and fit it with comfortable reclining chairs and coffee tables, utilising mobile screens or greenery so those who wish to relax, rest and perhaps view bowls, can sit and enjoy coffee or tea.
The balustrade, which was obviously on the original verandah, may be replaced with a modern see-through safety barrier.
A utility room at the northern end of the building will be refurbished and new storage cupboards can be built.
The bar installation means that some honour boards will have to be moved but they will be displayed elsewhere in the auditorium.
The basic drawing of the plan has been displayed previously on our noticeboards for members to view and discuss.
In my opinion, once the grant application, made early in 2020, was approved from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund for a new cold room we were committed to the refurbishment.
This prompted the committee to pursue an additional grant from the Rockhampton Regional Council, which was partially successful, to the value of $15,000. This will mainly cover the cost of the new bar.
We have also been successful in receiving some smaller grants for COVID recovery, repairs etc. For ‘Not for Profit Organisations’ it is a fact that grants are an essential source of funding and should not be lightly refused once approved.
The club has almost $50,000 in its bank account from approved grants.
I encourage members to look to the future and envisage how much more appealing our venue will be after the refurbishment. Two previous building committee members, Peter Tyler and Bernie Gottke, were invited to have input as they were initially involved in the planning.
The formal plan will be produced and displayed soon and any requisite documents lodged with council.
Plans for our annual Christmas break-up and presentation night on Friday, 11 December will begin in earnest shortly and details will be advised as soon as possible.
As we move into the last quarter of 2020, I can’t deny that this year is one of the most difficult, disrupted and challenging years I have experienced in recent times.
The responsibility of the chairman’s position, together with a lot of help from others to negotiate the club through the restrictions related to COVID-19, has taken some toll but has been interesting and I have learned quite a bit about the club and the club membership.
Overall the experience has been rewarding.
We are seeing interest building in our functions. Volunteers are reminded that at the end of a function it is important to empty the bins of rubbish into the skips and take empty drink containers down to the back room for Bill Richardson to sort and take to recycling.
It makes Bill’s job a bit easier.
Don’t forget that if you have drink containers which you would normally throw in your yellow lid bin, the club would benefit if you drop them off at the club when coming to bowls.
It was suggested to me that if any retired members have small bowls, 00, 0 or 1 sizes, they no longer require, perhaps they might consider donating them to the club. We are determined to encourage young people to experience lawn bowling, including junior, school age children.
We have some school groups coming in October and November and Moyna Richardson and her willing band of helpers are keen to give all children a good bowling experience.
The fact remains we are overwhelmingly an older age demographic. Accordingly, we mostly struggle with modern communication technology but I am heartened by those over the age of 65 who willingly strive to learn about and use modern iPhones, iPads and computers.
Rod ‘Kiwi’ Gardiner has been applying his knowledge to upgrading our website which was recently converted to WordPress by ADZ Power. I encourage you to go online to check this promotional vehicle.
Our Facebook site is also in the rebuilding phase and support will be forthcoming from our major sponsor, The Capricornian, which has, in part, offered some sponsorship particularly to raise RBC’s profile online.
If you think there is something that could improve our online presence do contact Kiwi and let him know.
As I often say when addressing our members on play days, as a community organisation we need to appreciate that to enable the cub to not only survive, but prosper, we depend on our local business community just as these businesses depend on us.
You will notice some new billboards on our side fence which local businesses pay us to display and we can do our bit by visiting these businesses if we require goods or services they supply and give them the opportunity to compete for our business.
It is helpful if you let those businesses know that you are a member of RBC and so appreciate their support for our club.
We are also very fortunate to have a supportive Rockhampton Regional Council which generously has allocated grant monies to us and are keen to provide advice and assistance when needed.
With a reduced number of bowls play days in 2020, our games directors are doing their best to fit in as many events, competitions and social days as possible.
It is so good to see so many of our members and visiting players out on the green.
With all that has happened in 2020, it is difficult to believe that spring is here and the year is more than half over.
Some might say it cannot end soon enough but we really do have to accept that our altered way of life is most likely going to be with us for some time. Now is a good time to review all we need to do to keep ourselves and others safe and keep doing it.
The good news is that bowling in all its forms is gaining momentum and our club has seen our competitions underway. Both men’s and ladies pennants have been played and BPL and Jack Attack either underway or completed.
Our social play on Tuesdays and Sundays is proving as popular as ever and it would be great if a few more men and women would consider playing on Saturdays as well.
To be able to enjoy playing bowls and to encourage new and younger bowlers we need a well maintained clubhouse and facilities. Your management committee and a band of willing club member volunteers have been working to attend to maintenance, ensuring the club operates under the COVID Safe rules, providing facilities and services to attract groups for functions and to conduct events such as Jack Attack and the BPL.
Recently we were advised that we had been successful in gaining a grant from Rockhampton Regional Council’s Community Assistance Program to go towards the renovation of our upstairs function area.
The club has been very fortunate and this grant is in addition to that received from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund.
We have also received two smaller grants, one to enable the club to restock after the COVID lockdown and another to put towards the plumbing work done on our underfloor sewerage and drainage work.
We have had some advice from an architect and our building sub-committee is considering the best options for Stage One components of the upstairs renovations so we can get started as soon as possible.
The region’s new newspaper began circulation last week and the club has had a visit from Liam Emerton, the sports editor. Liam is not only interested in our planned renovation work and the Rockhampton Regional Council grant but also the history and operation of our club.
The weekly sports page will include results and future competition fixtures and so is sure to be popular with all of us starved for local news … something to enjoy with our morning cuppa!
The club has now received a couple of payments from our Containers for Change drive. Bill Richardson is doing a great job delivering the bottles and cans and he also waters the plants at the club. I reckon Bill might be a candidate for volunteer of the month if we had such an award. Of course he would have to compete against some pretty impressive work being done by Ross Sanders on our northern external stairs.
While I am speaking of volunteers, we would welcome your help with the many tasks needed to keep our club running smoothly.
As we move towards some warmer months and our weatherproof roof comes into its own, I hope you take every opportunity to enjoy your club facilities and the company of other members.