The History of Club Cronulla
In 1919 Mr Fred Baker, a Cronulla resident, organised a meeting to form a Bowling Club in the area. Unfortunately, as sufficient water could not be found the project fell through and the sum of £600, which had been collected from local residents to form the Club, had to be returned. As Mr Baker left the district in 1920 and as local residents were still very keen to fulfil what Mr Baker initiated, local real estate agent Mr William Ross Souter was asked to carry on the project. Eventually in 1924, a good supply of fresh water was found in sufficient quantities to sustain a green. Records show that 10 residents held a meeting for the purpose of forming a bowling club for Cronulla and the final outcome is the thriving Club we know today.
With the formation of the Club, Mr W.R. Souter became the official Secretary, organiser and head of the embryonic Club and with the enthusiasm of all the original members who willingly lent a hand, the first green was laid and a small shed built.
The first election of officers was held in 1925 with Bill Hayes being elected as President, Bill Souter as Hon. Secretary and Ted Wilson as Hon. Treasurer. Ted remained a very active member until his passing in 1945 after 21 years service to the Club. Unfortunately, he was not made a Life Member. This honour was not awarded until 1947, when Bill Hayes, Bill Souter and Ted’s father, Frank received this distinction at the first Annual General Meeting.
The first Clubhouse was situated between the existing No.1 and the No.2 greens facing north at approximately Rink 12 of No.2 green. Entrance was by way of a driveway at the rear of the clubhouse off Wilbar Avenue. The early years were tough with no poker machines or bar, or as it was known then ‘Refreshment Room’ and it was suggested that shares be taken out by the Club’s members to the value of £20,000. This was to be divided into 4,000 shares of £5 each with Mr William Munn Abbott receiving Share Certificate No.1 on 5th May 1927. This share was donated back to the Club on his passing on 3rd June, 1946. In fact, in due course during these tough times, most members donated their shares back to the Club enabling the much needed progress.
The Sutherland Shire Council during circa 1937, removed the asphalt from Cronulla Street to concrete the road surface and the fill from this work was disposed of at the rear of the Clubhouse to form No.1 green.
On October 16th, 1938 the Cronulla Women’s Bowling Club was formed. By the late 1940’s, early 1950’s the Club had improved it’s financial position and on 31st October 1951, the Club purchased the property in Croydon Street, where the present Clubhouse stands, from Iris Edna Mingaye at a cost of £5,000.
1956 saw two more houses in Wilbar Avenue being purchased from the Water Board. The houses adjoining the Telstra building allowed the construction of a third green. This meant that the old clubhouse was to be removed and No. 2 green to be extended to it’s present size. The surrounds of No.3 green was sown and slowly, with great care and skilful attention, the turf multiplied enough to cover the whole of No.3 green. Thus was born our ‘Tiffy’.
Of course with the old clubhouse removed a new one was to be constructed to house the growing population of members. This time, and with the prior purchase of the land in Croydon Street, it was decided to build a two story clubhouse which still stands today. The state president of the Royal NSW Bowling Association, Mr Tom Shakesphere, opened the new clubhouse on 18th July 1959.