Pic @ The Boo (bowls club)
Pic @ The Boo (bowls club)

‘Death’s door’: Qld’s oldest bowls club may not survive

QUEENSLAND'S oldest bowls club survived both world wars and the Spanish flu, but COVID-19 has brought the Brisbane institution to "death's door" with management launching a desperate fundraiser to try to stay afloat.

Booroodabin Bowls Club, affectionately known as The Boo, opened 132 years ago and was this week inducted into Clubs Queensland Hall of Fame.

The club was once a white collar establishment where politicians and titans of industry would do deals over a game of bowls.

Queensland's first governor, Lord Lamington, was the founding patron and on the club's grand opening in April 1889 The Brisbane Courier reported the total cost of making the green had been £310 with the turf obtained from the river bank near Newstead.

Booroodabin Bowling Club in Newstead
Booroodabin Bowling Club in Newstead

In recent decades, The Boo has become a family-friendly social club, with 30,000 people on the single green each year.

It won the Clubs Queensland award for best dining in a small venue in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

"We've taken the club out of bankruptcy and into a very profitable business that serves the entire community now, rather than just a select few," General Manager Daryl Sheriff said.

However, mounting bills since the forced closure of pubs and club in March has pushed The Boo to the brink of permanent closure.

Michael Yates, 37, Mansfield, and Heidi Cooper, 52, Albany Creek, playing barefoot bowls at The Boo, Booroodabin Lawn Bowls Club, Newstead. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Michael Yates, 37, Mansfield, and Heidi Cooper, 52, Albany Creek, playing barefoot bowls at The Boo, Booroodabin Lawn Bowls Club, Newstead. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

"Costs don't stop just because the customers stop," Mr Sheriff said.

"We're at death's door, there's no two ways about it."

Mr Sheriff said The Boo was "absolutely essential" to Brisbane but the state government had turned its back on the historic establishment.

The club applied for the state's governments $250,000 loan but was rejected as the scheme was oversubscribed.

The Brisbane Courier coverage of the Booroodabin Bowls Club grand opening in 1989
The Brisbane Courier coverage of the Booroodabin Bowls Club grand opening in 1989

"The Boo has been woven into the very fabric of Brisbane society," Mr Sheriff said.

"Those captains of industry and politicians were over a game of bowls making decisions about what the very fabric and nature of Brisbane was going to look like, it's been that important … we just want the politicians of today to give us a bit of a chance."

Support The Boo: https://au.gofundme.com/f/save-the-oldest-bowls-club-in-qld

Originally published as 'Death's door': Queensland's oldest bowls club may not survive


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