Camberwell Central Bowls Club was incorporated in 1996. This suggests a very young club, but the reality is that the current club was created from the contributions of two other clubs: the City of Camberwell and South Camberwell. Below are extracts from “The First One Hundred Years of the Royal Victorian Bowls Association 1880-1980”, compiled by John Henshaw and published by R.V.B.A. in 1979. These provide the briefest of thumbnails of our two original clubs and their members
Founded on November 18, 1923. President was Cr. H. Rooks, secretary H. Hall. Nine men met at the private bowling green of Mr John Payne and decided to form a club. Camberwell Council granted land at the corner of Bowen and Trumper Streets, a green was laid and the pavilion opened on December 13, 1924. The greens were lit by electricity in 1926 and in 1965 a second green was established. Peak membership was reached in 1968 when there were 238 members, including ladies. Both Jack Spear and his father W.P. Spear played with the City of Camberwell. W.P. Spear and Frank Dobbie won State pairs in 1931 and Frank Dobbie was Australian singles champion in 1927 and 1931. A team skipped by A. Hurse won State fours in 1933. B and C fours were won in 1940 and 1950; and four division pennants were won in 1940, 1950 and 1952.
An approach was made to City of Camberwell, committee discussions were held and broader meetings were arranged in which members of both clubs were able to express their views. It was stressed that a new club would form at the Bowen Street premises and that it would not be a merger or takeover. Agreement in principle was nearly unanimous and in January 1996, a motion to form the Club was put to the memberships and duly passed. Then the hard work of integrating two clubs, each with proud histories, commenced. Therein lies our current problem. The necessities of creating a new beginning allowed records of the past to be lost or even jettisoned. Fast forward nineteen years to 2015 and we now wish to document our club histories from its origins in 1923 and 1950 respectively. To this end, the General Committee has decided to set up a Club History Project Team.