HISTORY OF THE DURBANVILLE BOWLING CLUB
A meeting was held in the Council Chamber of the Durbanville Town Hall on Tuesday 8th April 1948. A sub-committee comprising Messrs Chenoweth, Hepworth, Munnik, Sutton, and Dr v.d Westhuizen was appointed to negotiate with the Municipality and the Gymkhana Club for land and assistance with the building and maintenance of a Bowling Green.
The Municipality was prepared to grant a piece of land for the green, but no further assistance. The Gymkhana Club ( later the Cape Turf Club) on the other hand was prepared to provide the necessary land and an interest free loan of £500 for the building and maintenance of the green. This offer from the Gymkhana Club was accepted and in September 1948 amid tremendous enthusiasm, work on the first bowling green at Durbanville commenced. The first president of the club was Mr Austin Sutton, a practising attorney of Cape Town, living in Durbanville. The first secretary was Mr Reg G. Hepworth, a resident of Durbanville.
A Nissen hut loaned by the Gymkhana Club served as the first clubhouse A Primus stove was used for tea-making and members had to bring their own cups and saucers. Some members even kept a ‘bottle’ in their lockers and after games members would sit around the tables sharing their drinks as the club only had a licence for the braai nights.
In 1950 the first proper clubhouse was built. Flood lights were erected and for many years the regular bowls/braai evening fund-raising functions became one of the highlights with bowlers coming from as far afield as Camps Bay and Somerset West. In 1968 in order to protect the interests of the bowling club and to provide for future extensions to the club, an exchange of land took place between the Municipality and the Turf Club and a lease agreement entered into between the Municipality and the Bowling Club. In 1970 a loan was obtained from the Municipality for extensions to the club house and a further loan obtained in 1974 from the Municipality for the provision of a second green. Land was available for a third green if and when required.
In 1979 a large modern clubhouse able to accommodate approximately 200 persons was built, and a club liquor licence was obtained. The club was designed by a club member, Chris Stimie, and built by the Municipality who, in addition to paying for the labour costs, made a grant of R8000-00 towards the cost of materials as well as providing a loan of R18 00.00. Voluntary contributions in cash and kind from members and well- wishers amounted to well over R4000-00. This new clubhouse was officially opened on 27 October 1979 by the Mayor of Durbanville, Mr C van Wyk Breda.The old club house was converted into store- rooms and accommodation for the green-keeper.
In 1983 the ladies bar was extended and once again the municipality provided the labour at its own cost and the club provided the materials. The funding of the club’s portion was by way of donations and debentures purchased by members. With the growth in people wanting to join the club a third green was established in 1989.
In 2004 the club sought to provide its own water supply by way of sinking a bore-hole buoyed by the fact that just on the east side of the boundary wall was a rich water supply used by the gymkana club. Professional advice was sought and after unsuccessfully drilling on the east side, a site on the Methodist Church side of the C-green was found, but the supply was insufficient to provide adequate continuous irrigation. The drill site was secured to be used at a later date if required.
A braai-room was provided in October 2007 with the primary purpose of providing a more congenial area where members could gather and enjoy a communal braai. In addition it was decided to allow it to be used as a designated smoking area. This project was made possible largely from donations obtained from and through members, with the club making up the shortfall from club funds. In 2015 the club received a grant from the Lotto to provide a toilet with wheelchair access. This required minor alterations to the ladies’ locker room and also provided the opportunity to upgrade the the toilet facilities in the ladies’ as well as the men’s locker room. The shortfall in the cost was made up by club funds.
For some time the clubhouse roof had been leaking which created problems in the winter, as well as embarrassment when tournaments were held, as containers had to be placed in strategic places to catch the water dripping into the clubhouse. After lengthy negotiations the City of Cape Town replaced the roof at its own cost in 2015.