Jackaroo to make move north to Queensland

by Lachlan Williams

BCiB Australian Jackaroo Barrie Lester will bid farewell to his home state of Victoria as he joins a cast of Australian teammates on the Gold Coast.

Lester has signed on as Bowls Coordinator at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, a move he believes is best personally and professionally.

“With my skillset, I have always wanted to take on a role at a club to help it progress and grow. When the Burleigh job came up I looked at it knowing it’s a club with plenty of potential and would be a pretty good fit for me,” Lester said.

“I am starting to look beyond my bowling career – not that I will ever stop playing bowls – but just looking beyond the game itself and further into my career.

“My career is quite demanding in terms of time off and travel, so being based on the Gold Coast will make things easier in that regard.”

The 37-year-old was set to represent the Melbourne Bowls Club this summer, but will begin his new role at Burleigh Heads on November 4.

“I have never lived up there (Queensland) before but I think that type of lifestyle is something I will really enjoy,” Lester said.

“I will always have a soft spot for Melbourne though. The club has been really understanding and great for me.”

Lester brings plenty of experience with him to Burleigh Heads, having won two silver medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games among an array of successes from his 164 international caps.

He said he is excited by the opportunities to grow Burleigh Heads into a “destination venue”.

“I have goals for both on and off green success. I would love to double the amount of barefoot bowlers and have more of a corporate position on the Gold Coast,” he said.

“I’d also want to help transition the club into the premier league and be up in the conversation with the likes of Broadbeach and Club Helensvale.

“There is plenty of potential to grow which is really exciting.”

Lester is also in the running for the International Male Bowler of the Year, with the winner to be announced at the Bowls Australia’s 2019 Awards and Hall of Fame night.

The Jackaroo has played a crucial role for Victoria over many years. He said his memories representing the Big V will long be cherished but he would be up for representing his new state if he had the chance.

“I have worn a few different shirts over my career but only one state shirt. It has been an honour to represent Victoria and I am proud of what I have achieved in that time,” he said.

“If the opportunity presented itself, I would be proud to wear a Queensland shirt. Competing at a national level is always a special occasion.”

Lester said he is appreciative of the support he has received ahead of his move north.

“My friends, family, Bowls Victoria, the Melbourne Bowls Club have all been incredibly supportive and I am very grateful.

“I look forward to getting started at Burleigh and to whatever opportunities follow.”