Our Club has been going strong since 1866.
The City of Melbourne Bowls Club (CoMBC) was founded as the West Melbourne Bowling Club on 18 August 1866 at the Sabloniere Hotel, which stood on the corner of A’Beckett and Queen Streets, Melbourne until 1972. The bowling green was adjacent to the hotel.
The first lines of the minute book make clear that the origins of the club lay in the synergy between ‘several gentlemen’ and the publican, Charles Rupprecht:
West Melbourne Bowling Club
At the request of several gentlemen who are desirous of having the Bowling Green of the Sabloniere Hotel, Queen Street, reserved for their exclusive use on certain days each week the Proprietor has resolved on Establishing the above named Club…
The inaugural president was Sir Charles McMahon, a former Police Commissioner and Speaker of the Lower House.
The club moved to the Flagstaff Gardens in 1879.
In 1880, we were a foundation club when the Victorian Bowling Association (VBA) was formed. The inaugural president of the VBA was Cr Samuel Amess, one of our bowlers and a former club president, and former Lord Mayor of Melbourne.
The first VBA singles champion, G.W. Sims, was a member of the Club (and won a total of 19 championships in his time) and we have produced many state players since our inception.
The club changed its name to City Bowling Club in 1904 and to City of Melbourne Bowls Club in 1964.
In January 1994 fire destroyed a large part of our clubhouse, decimating our facilities, organisation and records. In keeping with tradition, the club regrouped and continued to operate and prosper, despite limited facilities.
Construction of the current building commenced in 2007 and, with thanks to the City of Melbourne Council and staff, the Club was able to move into its new premises in May 2009.
We continue to flourish and celebrated our 150th anniversary on 18 August 2016.