Sandy Bay Bowling Club, 1907 (AOT, PH30/1/9497)

Bowls began in Tasmania, and Australia, with a game at the Beach Tavern, Sandy Bay, in 1845. Interest lapsed, however, and bowls was not recognised as a sport until the formation of the Launceston (1883) and Hobart (1891) bowling clubs. The 1900s saw many more clubs formed around the state. Bowls remained largely a man's game, women not being admitted to clubs until after the Second World War.

Bowls grew enormously in popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, with inter-club pennant rosters and interstate competitions (where generally, Tasmania has not shone), and by 1988 there were over 8000 registered players, though the number has declined since. Tom Eastall of the North-West Bowls Association was Australian champion in 1967, and since then, Leigh Bishop of Wynyard, Michael Hill of Burnie and Bev Oliver of Devonport, have represented Australia.

Further reading: D Young, Sporting Island, Hobart, 2005.

Alison Alexander and David Young