The Beginning:

In 1879 a group of prominent Balmain locals who shared an interest in “the ancient game” met at the local School of Arts to propose the establishment of a bowling club in the district.  They subscribed to an initial capital fund of £1,000 with 40 shares at £25.  Thus, Balmain Bowling Club was formed and incorporated in 1880.

The inaugural opening of the Bowling Club on April 9th, 1881 was a grand affair. After the usual toasts and speeches, guests were invited to partake of refreshments and to join in the various amusements. The Balmain Coldstream Band added to the occasion playing stirring tunes throughout the afternoon. The proceedings were well attended by prominent members of the community as well as bowlers from other clubs. The guest of honour, John Young, formally opened the club. He retained a lifelong interest in bowling and went on to found the New South Wales Bowling Association of which he was president for twenty-six years.

The club still sits on its original site and the club’s first bowling green is still in use.  This green, is Australia’s oldest lawn bowling green still in use!  Now open to Barefoot Bowlers, playing on it, provides you with your own stake in Australian history.


Balmain Bowling Club is the oldest lawn bowling club in New South Wales and the third oldest in Australia.

The club is rich in history and visitors wishing to view our historic displays are welcome.  Be sure to ask to see Australia’s oldest Bowling Trophy awarded to Francis Austin in 1882.

John Young First and for twenty six years
President of the NSW Bowling Association.
The oldest Lawn Bowling Trophy in Australia.
Awarded to Francis Austin in March 1882.