The sport of bowls was first played in Australia by enthusiastic Englishmen who arrived in the colony bringing their bowls with them.

The first game on record was played in January 1845 between two English migrants, Fred Lipscombe and T. Burgess, on a green at Lipscombe’s Beach Tavern in Hobart.

Following English tradition, bowling greens were laid out adjacent to hotels.

The first official club opened at William Turner’s Bowling Green Hotel in Fitzroy Place, Hobart, in October 1846.

The first interclub competition began in 1867 between Melbourne, Fitzroy, Prahan, St Kilda, Ballarat, and West Melbourne clubs, who played under a new set of rules governing team competitions. Victoria won the first inter-colonial game against NSW in Sydney in April 1880.

That same year in May, the NSW Bowling Association was formed, and the Victorian Bowling Association two months later.

In 1911, Bowls Australia, originally known as the Australian Bowling Council, was formed at conference of state delegates in Melbourne, paving the way for standardisation of the rules and other aspects of the game.

The first Australian Championships under the new body were held in 1912, and the first Australian representative side played in New Zealand in 1914.

In 1928, the Australian Bowls Council became affiliated with the International Bowling Board, now known as World Bowls Inc.

Australian Representatives

Life members

1996 – Perry Norman Cunico

2004 – John Dobbie

2007 – Geoff Provest

2015 – Betty Collins OAM

2018 – Brian Marsland OAM


Presidents of Bowls Australia (following unification in 2001)

2002 – 2003: John McDougall OAM

2004 – 2005: Beryl Brennan

2006 – 2010: Brian Marsland OAM

2010 – 2012: Joe Aarons OAM

2012 – 2015: Des Skinner

2015 – 2017: Nigel Smith

2017 – current: Darryl Clout

Past Presidents of the Australian Bowls Council and Australian Women’s Bowling Council (prior to the formation of Bowls Australia)

Hall of Fame members

Pre ’49 General

Alfred Alley*, VIC

John Monro*, VIC

John Young*, NSW

Pre ’49 Athlete

Charles McNeill*, NSW

1950-74 General

W Jack Spear*, VIC

Keith Wilson*, VIC

Naomi Wolinksi*, NSW

1950-74 Athlete

Glyn Bosisto MBE*, VIC

Errol Bungey OAM, SA

John Dobbie*, VIC

Connie Hicks OAM*, WA

Dot Jenkinson*, VIC

Mary Ormsby OAM, SA

Barry Salter*, NSW

Donald Woolnough OAM*, VIC

1975-99 General

Catherine (Mimi) Frost OAM*, NSW

Charles Frost*, NSW

1975-99 Athlete

Cameron Curtis, NSW

Robbie Dobbins, QLD

Roma Dunn, WA

Audrey Hefford*, SA

Rex Johnston OAM, NSW

Dennis Katunarich, WA

Robert (Bob) King, NSW

Norma Massey OAM, VIC

Mavis Meadowcroft*, VIC

Robert Middleton OAM, VIC

Robert Parrella OAM, QLD

Keith Poole* MBE, QLD

Dorothy Roche OAM, NSW

Peter Rheuben*, NSW

Merle Richardson OAM, NSW

Alf Sandercock*, SA

Ian Schuback OAM, QLD

Daphne Shaw, NSW

John Snell OAM, VIC

Steve Srhoy, WA

Margaret Sumner OAM, VIC

Ken Williams OAM*, ACT

Ken Woods, ACT

Greeta Fahey, QLD

2000-10 General

Beryl Brennan, WA

Betty Collins OAM, VIC

Arnold O’Brien OAM, VIC

2000-10 Athlete

Lynsey Armitage, QLD

Steve Glasson OAM, NSW

Kelvin Kerkow OAM, QLD

Karen Murphy, NSW

Wayne Turley OAM, NSW

Leif Selby, NSW

Mark Casey, QLD


Glyn Bosisto MBE*, VIC

Rex Johnston OAM, NSW

Kelvin Kerkow OAM, QLD

* Deceased