Thursday, 22 November 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 46 - Random Fact

One of my bearded ancestors in the last #52Ancestors post, Alfred Percy Lord, joined the local bowling club when he retired to Manly.

In November 1905 Alfred was chosen to play in a private New South Wales team against South Australia in Adelaide. This team also played matches against Victoria. The Adelaide Advertister and newspapers from New South Wales and Melbourne reported the activities of this touring team.
Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser 8 Nov 1905
Alfred was not the only family member in this team - Harry Moses, the son of my great grandfather's brother, was also a member. Harry was well known in New South Wales as a cricketer and, as well as being a member of the New South Wales team, he played six games for Australia against England. Reports show that he was also a good lawn bowler and, after the tournaments against Victoria and South Australia in the Sydney team, he was selected in the official New South Wales team for another tournament.

Lawn bowls had been played in the colony from at least 1845 when advertisements appeared in newspapers advising of games in various locations. A number of hotels, including several Woolpack Inns, established bowling rinks. The first recognised bowls club in New South Wales was the Parramatta (Woolpack) Club which was established in 1869. Other clubs followed.

In May 1880 it was decided to form a bowling association and the first clubs to join were Parramatta, Annandale and Sydney (City). Other, but not all, clubs joined the New South Wales Bowling Association. The Victorian Bowling Association, with ten clubs, was also formed in 1880.

Inter-colonial matches between New South Wales and Victoria were quickly established. As other states also formed bowling associations inter-colonial matches between these states were also held. The first visit of a New South Wales side to New Zealand occurred in January 1900. In 1900 there were plans to establish the Australasian Bowling Association and in the following year the first accredited team of Australasian bowlers toured in the United Kingdom.

Newspaper reports discovered via Trove describe how the Sydney team travelled to Melbourne and then to Adelaide by train for the competitions. They played a number of matches in each city. Each match appears to have been played on five rinks with teams of four players on each side.
Evening Journal (Adelaide) 24 Nov 1905
The visiting players were well entertained during their visit to Melbourne and Adelaide as can be seen in the following newspaper report:
Critic (Adelaide) 22 Nov 1905
Generally a good time appears to have been had by all.

Alfred and Harry are from different branches of my family tree but they obviously knew each other through the game of lawn bowls.


Further reading:
History of Bowls in Australia

New South Wales Bowls to 1900

Centenary: the history of the Royal New South Wales Bowling Association 1880-1980.


  1. Enjoyed reading about the bowlers in your families and the history of the sport in Australia

  2. One of the really exciting things about family history research is that as well as learning about family members we can learn about a broader topic - in this case lawn bowls and its contribution to sport in Australia.