Wayne Turley reflects on royal 2006 Commonwealth Games experience

by Domenic Favata

For Wayne Turley OAM, the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games was a royal experience, in more ways than one.

The Bowls Australia Hall of Fame member famously won gold in the men’s triples alongside Mark Casey OAM and Bill Cornehls, thus making a significant contribution to what was Australia’s most successful Games at the time.

Not only did Turley enjoy some memorable moments on the green but he also did off it, with a bizarre brush with royalty among his highlights.

In speaking with Clive Adams as part of ‘Legends Under Lights’, Turley spoke of his and Casey’s encounter with Queen Elizabeth II ahead of their first match on the opening day of the Games.

“Case [Mark Casey] and I went across to the dining hall and got something to eat,” Turley said.

“As we came out, we had to cross the road in the village to get back to the room and we were running a little behind schedule for the bus.

“They had blocked off the whole road and we asked ‘what’s going on?’ and they said ‘the Queen is coming through’.

“I said, ‘we’ve got a game to get to… Can you tell her to hurry up?’

“So we were just standing there waiting with some other athletes… Then, as she [the Queen] was coming through, she walked straight over to Mark and myself.

“She said, ‘what sport are you participating in?’ and I said, ‘lawn bowls’.

“To which she said, ‘I love my lawn bowls, unfortunately, I can’t make it out to watch you this afternoon but good luck and have a great event’.”

Watch Wayne Turley’s full interview below, as part of our ‘Legends Under Lights’ series, proudly presented by Legacy Sport Lighting.

Turley’s chance encounter with the Queen was perhaps an omen of positive things to come, with the 132-capped international going on to forge a successful Games thereafter in what was just his second capped event after making his Australian debut in 2005.

“It was just an amazing experience to see your family and friends [in the stands],” Turley said.

“The home crowd and the support in Australia was just brilliant.

“There were a lot of hard yards put in; once the team was selected, we basically spent every second week at Darebin.

“We had a playbook so we knew every rink, forehand and backhand, medium and longs, every single rink across the four greens.

“It was something I’ll never forget.”

Turley was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division, for service to lawn bowls, as part of the Australian Day 2017 honours list.

He now calls Tweed Heads home, where he is the Bowls Manager at the home of the Australian Indoor Championships.