Club History


75 years ago Banyo was very different to what one sees today - dairy cow’s grazed crops and pastures on the same land where the Club House and greens are located.  This had been part of the farm owned by Bob Henry, whose cow yard and milking bails once stood on the land now occupied by the smooth soft expanse of the Cec Cobb green.  Lands Department records show that the first survey of this area was conducted in 1863 and that shortly afterwards the land was auctioned. 

The Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, Bishop Tufnell, purchased an area roughly by Blinzinger Road, Tufnell Road, Elliott Road and extending to the site of the railway workshops.  The purchase price was about $5 a hectare. 
Part of this land eventually came into possession of the Henry family which established a dairy farm.  Paul Henry, son of Bob Henry who had owned the farm, recalled that the family home fronted onto Victoria Street (now Froude Street) above the yards and the cow bails.  The rest of the property was cultivated to provide fodder for the cows.

Paul Henry also recalled the seven-days-a-week early morning chore of rounding up the cows with the help of his cattle dog – for the cows then grazed almost anywhere in Banyo.  After the milking was completed, Bob Henry used to catch a train to his work at 6am, for the modest dairy could not sustain sufficient income for the family and an extra job was necessary.  With little prospect of rest, Bob Henry did the ploughing with draught horses at night or on weekends.  Eventually the Henrys built up a carrying business and the cows were sold to Agnes Stegman of Nudgee (with no regrets comments Paul Henry who was a teenager at the time).

Spurred on by the interest in tennis in the early 1930’s, the Henrys built a tennis court on the Gold Street frontage of the former cow yard area.  One of the early players was the late Charlie Livingstone, who was to become an enthusiastic bowler and later patron of the Banyo Bowls Club. 
As interest in tennis began to wane, Bob Henry sought to provide another service for sportsmen and set up a private 3 rinkbowling green.  This stimulated so much interest that a public meeting was held in the RSL Hall late in 1937 and it was agreed in principle to form a bowls club in the Banyo area.

On February 15, 1938, at a meeting in Bob Henry’s residence the club was formed.  With Mr Henry at that first meeting were Fred Shaw, Wally Moore, Jim Kelly, Geo Gynther, Bill Iredale, Tom Wilson, Geo Keliher and Herb Easton.  A little while later it was officially affiliated with the then Queensland Bowls Association on March 2, 1938.

75th Year of Affiliation of the Men's Division

Pictured are L to R Club Stalwart - George Tobler, Men’s President - Peter “Nugget” Neilsen, Men’s Patron - Jim Downey, Ladies President - Judy Ladds, Chairman of the Board - David “Sam” Patrick together at the Club on 2nd March 2013 to celebrate the 75th Year of affiliation of the Men’s Division with the Queensland Bowls Association.
(Photo courtesy Kim Flesser)

Fred Shaw was elected as the first club president, Jack McGruther as secretary, Wally Moore as treasurer and Bill Iredale as the Club’s delegate to the Queensland Bowling Association.  Bob Henry agree to rent his green to the club until such time as it could buy its own land.  Rental was $3 a week and the arrangement required Bob Henry to maintain the green.  The old cow bails were moved towardsFroude Street and served as the first clubhouse.

First Clubhouse
Tea, which came with home-made scones and sponge cakes, was served by Bob Henry’s wife, assisted by the wife of Walter Moore, a tailor of Nundah.  Thus was formed the club which was to see some hard and heartbreaking times before it grew to its present position of strength and financial prosperity.

Opening Day 1938

Opening Day 1938 - This picture was supplied by Ken Townsend whose family lived across the road in Gold Street.  Ken advised that the lady in the photograph is his mother Mary Townsend and she is holding his younger brother Ray.  Ray was born on the 6th November 1938 and was still living at the time he sent through the photos.  Mary is standing on the Gold Street footpath and the existing clubhouse would be to the right.

Ladies before gentlemen?

There has been some good natured discussion regarding who was first – the Ladies or the Men? At the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Club the then Ladies President, Joyce Maynard, wrote in her report the following. 

The Banyo Ladies Bowling Club was affiliated with the Queensland Ladies Bowling Association (QLBA) on 3rd March 1939.  The first President was Mrs Lily Wilson. 
Membership was small in those early days and for the first few years averaged between 12 and 20.  At the end of World War II the Club was in danger of disbanding due to very small attendance - fortunately this decision was never made.

Mrs Ann Cobb, a foundation member of the Ladies club was contacted on the occasion of the 50th and she remembered very clearly the time before affiliation with the QLBA and indicated that the first games on the green were organised by Mrs Helen Henry (Bob’s wife).  Later on, Ann recalled, some of the husbands joined them and in turn formed their own bowling group.  So we understand that the first players on the original greens were ladies. 

None-the-less, as outlined later by Life Member Alan Dellit, the Men’s Club were the Controlling Body and the Ladies were associate members as was the norm in all clubs at the time.  This continued for approximately the next 58 years until the Club was incorporated under the Corporations Act as a Community club.

Early Banyo Players

Wet bar turned the tide

The latter part of 1944 saw the mass resignation of 13 members from the Men’s Club to form a new club in the Kalinga area which was more convenient to them.  This caused fears that the club would have to disband and, but for the hard work of Cec Cobb, Wally Moore, Charlie Livingstone and Norm Schafer, who made personal approaches throughout the district, this fate for the club may well have occurred. 

In November 1944 in an effort to gain new members, a special meeting was called to discuss the possibility of opening a bar in the clubhouse.  After much discussion it was decided against. 
However at a special meeting on February 12, 1946, 2 decisions were made which were the beginning of Banyo Club’s new-found prosperity.  The first of these was the acceptance of Bob Henry’s offer to sell to the club the 8 allotments fronting Gold Street for approximately $1000 in today’s currency.  Debentures were issued with 5 members lending $200 each until the debenture issues were taken up. 

The second vital decision was that reversing the previous stand on the bar.  It was decided to apply for a licence to store liquor for member’s use. 
This entailed the purchase of an Army Hut from Shaw Park, Kalinga, and converting it into a clubhouse.  This was situated approximately where rinks 2 and 3 are now. 

In mid-1947 the green was extended to allow play both ways, and later that year a further 4 rinks were added on the Tom O’Shea frontage. 
In June 1948 it was decided to purchase a refrigerator cabinet for the bar at a cost of approximately $44 which was then modified to hold 2 x 5 gallon kegs.  Any surplus beer was stored in the cold room of the butchers shop next to the Old Post Office (near the cnr St Vincent’s Road and Kennaway Street).  An extension was put on the front of the clubhouse and made into the bar area and storeroom.  A soil shed was also built in 1948.

Street View

Photo courtesy of Ken Townsend – taken from the front yard of their family home in Gold Street – believed to be in the late 1940’s – note the unsealed road and the level of the bowling green – second Clubhouse with the extension on the front in the background.

Expansion in the 1950’s and 60’s

To improve facilities for members early in 1956 the club purchased a house in Victoria Street (Froude Street) from W. Barker and converted it to suit the new club house.

Second Clubhouse
This was situated where the kitchen, ladies room and part of the dining hall now stand.  This gave the club frontage to 2 streets for the first time and allowed the extension of the small green to full size.  This was carried out early in 1957 at a cost of $2000.  In February 1958 the club expanded further by purchasing the home of Mr K Jefferson which adjoined the clubhouse on the western side in Froude Street where the present bar is situated.

At a special meeting on January 10, 1959, it was agreed to purchase a second hand temprite from the Jubilee Hotel for $300.  Ambitious plans for a new clubhouse to incorporate both Froude Street properties were discussed at every meeting, and several special meetings throughout 1959, but finance was proving difficult to obtain and it was decided at a special meeting on January 23, 1960, to extend the existing bar and build a cold room at a cost of $1420.

This extension meant utilising the area used by the Ladies Club.  The Ladies agreed to use the old residence as a club house provided certain alterations and painting was carried out. In September 1962 the old club house being used by the Ladies was sold for $400 and a tender accepted to build an extension to the club house on this site for approx. $17,200.  This was to become the new bar area on ground level.

Third Clubhouse

The new club house was opened on May 25, 1963 and steps from the new bar were connected with the old club house.  In September 1964 the block opposite the clubhouse in Froude Street was purchased for $2600.

In February 1965 the club agreed to appoint a full-time stewardess and she became the first full-time employee apart from the greenkeepers.  In March 1965 tentative approaches were made to the bank with a view of building yet another clubhouse.  On November 7, 1966 a letter was received from the Commonwealth Bank, Clayfield. 

The letter advised that the bank had approved a loan of $20,000 from the Commonwealth savings Bank at 6.25% provided the club transfer its business to them and give them a mortgage over its property.  It also approved a further loan of $20,000 from the Commonwealth Trading Bank at 7.25% on provision of a second mortgage and a guarantee of $20,000 from selected members of the club.

A building committee was formed at this meeting and comprised Pat Lowry, Stan Coomber, Jack Keillor and Stew Shannon who were all involved in the building business.  This committee made numerous visits to other newer club houses to gather ideas and submit theirs to the architect.

By July 1967 a tender was accepted to build the new club house.  In August 1967 the old club house was cut in half and part of it moved across the road and installed in the car park allotment.  The other half was sold for removal.  Temporary water supply was installed and a Porta Gas stove provided for hot water and other uses.

A special meeting held on the 7th October 1967, agreed to borrow $6500 to purchase the original Henry residence where the car park now stands.  As the new building was being erected many minor problems presented themselves.

Threats of legal action by all parties abounded.  As a result the club had to pay for the lighting twice and a few finishing touches were not completed at the time.  However for the first time the club had its own brand new club house and was officially opened on June 8, 1968.

Fourth Clubhouse

Following this the Club purchased the property at 28 Froude Street in August, 1970, for $7,500. 
In July 1978 the present soil shed was built at a cost of $15,000.  A holding cold room was installed at the rear of the club in November 1968 – this burned down in 1982 and the existing storage area and cold room replaced in 1984.  At the same time the bar was rebuilt, new carpet and furniture was purchased, and the club area was improved by using an exposed beam to open the bar to the dining room area. 

Since then a number of capital improvements have occurred including:

  • air conditioning the club house
  • further upgrades to the bar
  • provision of additional toilets
  • upgrades to the kitchen
  • addition of folding doors between the dining hall and the bar
  • refurbishment of the dining hall
  • adding the large sail cloth to the rear of the building
  • purchase of poker machines.

To pay for some of these improvements the Club sold the property of 28 Froude Street.

The Way It Was 
(Extract from the Golden Jubilee Book - by Bob Henry) 

“Twas in the year of 36,
with the country in an awful fix,
That father dear said: “Look you here”
it’s a bowling green that we’ll build there,
Now a bowling green we had never seen, nor ever wanted to,
But learn we did, that to earn a quid,
You must try something new.

So out with the cows and out with the corn,
A bowling green was soon to be born,
And where those cows had recently lain,
We dug a ditch and fitted a drain,
The grass grew tall, and had to be mown,
For the cows had contributed before it was sown. 

And so it is with the passage of time,
And memories flood back, yours and mine,
We would not change things, not one jot,
For the pleasures they give mean such a lot
And we hope as you enjoy your leisure,
And success is yours in no small measure,
That maybe on that special day,
You’ll think of those who have passed away.

They started this club,
But could not foresee,
What a wonderful success it was going to be,
Now the Henry family wish you well,
And hope that your numbers continue to swell.