This is an abridged version.
A ‘comprehensive’ version is available through the Committee Member, Col

The North Albury Bowling Club (NABC) was originally the Albury Bowling Club; it changed its name in April 2007.

What started out as a meeting on 17 February 1905 to see if there was enough interest and numbers to form a club, became the inaugural meeting of the Albury Bowling Club. Mr. T. Griffith, a former Albury Mayor and local Parliamentarian, was elected chair of the meeting. Griffith was to be elected President at a subsequent meeting in April, along with the rest of the Executive and Committee. However, the Club didn’t have a bowling green or any facilities, so a Sub-Committee was appointed at this inaugural meeting with their priority being to find a piece land for a bowling green.

Within a month the Club was granted by the Albury Council a parcel of land within the Albury Botanic Gardens for a bowling green. And by March the following year a four-rink bowling green was constructed at a cost of around £300 ($45,765 in today’s dollars). The former Customs ‘Toll House’ which was originally located at the Albury end of Union Bridge over the Murray River was moved to the Botanic Gardens and after some re-modelling became the first Club-house. The formal opening of the bowling green occurred on 5 December 1906 by Club President Mr. T. Griffith.

In mid-1913 a new Club-house was constructed for £100 ($12,410) requiring the “Toll House” to be relocated and becoming the tool shed. And in mid-1915, a further two rinks were constructed at a cost of £120 ($12,552).

In October 1917 the bowling green were inundated with floodwaters from the Murray River (the Murray reaching its second highest level ever on record).

In October 1918 the Club affiliated with Victoria.

From around mid-1915 “cracks began to appear” in the relationship between some Club Members and the Council. It would appear from Club meeting Minutes that there were three issues: the Council wanting to annually increase the lease, the Council not contributing to the construction of the two new rinks and a disagreement between the Council’s Botanic Garden’s Curator and some Club Members as to who was actually responsible for what at the Bowling Green and the Botanic Gardens, the latter coming to a head at the 1915 AGM.

This uneasiness lingered in the background for a number of years, but at the 1920 September AGM when the Secretary of the day, Mr. N. Litchfield informed those present that the Council had decided to increase the annual lease again, to £110 (an increase of 37%), this was not well received and the Members became disgruntled. The issue festered for a few months. Then at a Club Committee meeting in April 1921, an informal discussion began regarding (quote) “the proposal of laying down a new green on land to be acquired”. Consequently, a Sub-committee was formed and given the task of finding a suitable parcel of land near central Albury for a new green.

The first site found, in Olive St near the Albury Public School, was suitable, however, in the interim, the owner sold off a portion thereby rendering the site too small. The Sub-Committee then found two other parcels of land; one in Macauley St between Wilson and Guinea Streets and the other at the rear of the Masonic Hall in Kiewa St (later to be known as the Olive St site). The latter site was the preferred option and the Club commenced negotiations to purchase it in August 1921.

However, in early-December 1921 the Committee changed its’ mind on the Olive St site following a site inspection, which found it not to be big enough and which would have drainage problems due to the cross-fall across the site if constructed. Consequently, they decided to purchase the Macauley St site instead. However, the Club had to pay the vendors of the Olive St site £50 plus legal costs (which amounted to £35) for withdrawing its offer on their site. Even whilst negotiations were underway with the purchase, a Construction Sub-Committee was appointed to oversee the construction of the new Macauley St bowling greens and work commenced just prior to Christmas of 1921. Part of the works included relocating the 1913 Club-house and Customs “Toll House” from the Botanic Gardens.

Fortunately, the Club had had the insight to find another site and construct a new bowling green because in April 1922 Council’s Gardens Committee recommended to Council to remove the bowling greens from the Botanic Gardens and bowling ceased at the end of the 1921/22 season on 27 May 1922.

On 14 October 1922 the President, Mr. J. Stephen opened the new green in Macauley St.

In September 1922 the Club affiliated with the Ovens and Murray Bowling Association as a ‘foundation’ member, and went onto win the first five years pennant premiership. Albury played in the O&M Bowling Association having considerable success until 1984.

In 1927 the first system of lights was installed for £128 ($10,530). These would be upgraded in late-1937 at a cost of £80 ($7,510) and again in June 1974 at a cost of $14,100.

In 1932 the Club commenced holding its first Easter Bowling Carnival boasting entries from players from throughout NSW, Victoria and Queensland. The Carnival commenced as a 3-day event but with increasing numbers over the years (up to 800 players), it became a 6-day event.  The event ran through to the mid-1990s, with Mr. Arthur Sargeant being the Easter Carnival Secretary from 1932 through to 1983.

In October 1936 a new £1,500 ($146,445) brick Club-house at the northern end of the greens was constructed and opened by the President, Mr. J. Arnold. A tablet was laid in the wall in memory of Messrs. T.H. Griffith and T. James, President and Secretary respectively of the Club when it was founded in 1905. The Club-house would be extended in 1955 costing approximately £8,000 ($279,000), again in 1962 costing £25,000*($733,300), and in 1986 at a cost of $115,000.

*This includes additional land purchased and major modifications to Council’s sewerage system.

In late-1941 the Bowling Club purchased the North Albury Tennis Club’s grounds which abutted the Bowling Club for future extensions to Green ‘B’ (at the southern end) for £862. The extensions were eventually completed in 1950 giving the Club an additional 11 rinks and taking it to a total of 20 rinks at Macauley Street.

In 1946 the Albury and District Bowling Association (A&DBA) was formed and affiliated with New South Wales; the Albury Bowling Club registered some 40 members with that Association. Also, in 1946, the Border Bowls Association (BBA) was formed and consisted of teams from towns both sides of the Border; Albury also registered a number of bowlers in this Association. From 1946 through to 1984 the Club was affiliated with both NSW and Victoria and played in A&DBA, the BBA and the Ovens and Murray Bowling Association; all with considerable success.

In 1954 the Club purchased its first poker machines and in early-1956 the Club applied for, and was granted a Liquor Licence.

The Albury Bowling Club was incorporated into a company on 14th September 1972 and was then known as “The Albury Bowling Club Limited”.

In 1984 the Albury Bowling Club left the Ovens and Murray Bowling Association and solely affiliated with NSW and the Albury and District Bowling Association (A&DBA). And at the end of the 1985/86 season Albury also left the Border Bowls Association.

In the early-1990s patronage began to drop off and income consequently dropped causing a continuing cash flow deficiency. From having an income of approximately $600,000 in 1988/89, it’s now only taking around $325,000 per annum. They are experiencing problems with a rising debt (hovering around $140,000 – reaching a maximum $167,300) and meeting bank repayments attracting 22.5% interest. They are employing a Secretary/Manager, two Greenkeepers, seven Bar stewards, and are having staffing problems and disappearing money and goods.

Ultimately in January 1993 a Special Meeting is convened of the Board (quote) “to discuss and obtain the point of view of the Board of Directors regarding the long-term view of selling and relocating the Albury Bowling Club.

A Special Meeting of the Board followed in early-March 1993 regarding the proposal of amalgamating the Bowling Club with the North Albury Sports Club Limited. Following the 1993 AGM in August the Members voted that the (Bowling Club) Board should pursue the amalgamation and this was approved at an extraordinary General Meeting on 28th February 1994. An Agreement between the two Clubs was signed on 11th March 1994 to: amalgamate the two Clubs, sell the Albury Bowling Club premises in Macauley Street, and build two Olympic sized Bowling Greens and extend the Lounge and Bar area at the North Albury Sports Club (at Bunton Park).

The Macauley St Greens and Club-house were sold in August 1994 with the final settlement occurring on 31st October for $650,000. (The site being redeveloped for the new Headquarters for the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation and private consulting rooms.)

The new extensions to the North Albury Sports Club were completed in March 1995 and were opened by Mr Tim Fischer M.P. Member for Farrah on the 15th May 1995, with the Bowling Club contributing $524,000 (the balance from the sale of Macauley Street after paying out its debts.)

Concurrently to the extensions to the NASC being completed, new bowling greens, including the two small brick buildings (Bowls Office/Locker Rooms and Greenkeeper’s Shed) on the south side of the new greens were constructed, and on 3rd March 1966, the greens were officially opened by Mr. Bill Trethowan OAM and President of R.N.S.W.B.A.

On 10 December 2000, the new greens were named and dedicated to two of the Club’s longest serving Life Members, Mr. Arthur Sargeant and Mr. Alexander Collins.

In 2005 the Club celebrated 100 years with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by Mr. John Archer, President of R.N.S.W.B.A. on 2nd October.

In early-2007 the Albury Bowling Club officially changed its name to North Albury Bowling Club which was deemed appropriate by the Members (and decided on by a unanimous vote), given its new home venue.

Following the North Albury Sports Club (NASC) going into ‘voluntary administration’ in September 2014, and the National Bank taking all of the Bowling Club’s funds (approximately $33,000) to repay creditors, the Bowling Club became ‘Incorporated’ on 25 September 2014 to avoid this happening again. Gradually the Club ‘clawed’ its way back financially to where it is today.

However, in February 2020 the NASC were forced to begin winding-down procedures due to on-going financial issues and in March finally disbanded. This left the three sporting bodies associated with the NASC (the Bowling Club, the Football and Netball Club and the Cricket Club) in limbo. As the NASC and the relevant sporting facilities are on Albury City Council land, the three sporting bodies approached the Council with a view to forming a ‘consolidated agreement’ to keeping the facilities functioning, which the Council was acceptable to. However, the three clubs could not come to an agreement, and so the Bowling Club developed its own ‘stand-alone’ proposal and re-submitted it to Council, which was accepted and a Non-exclusive Licence was signed on 25 September 2020. This was extended in October 2022 and again in December 2023; the latter for a further two years.