AGM Minutes 6 June 1884 – Portland Bowling Club

PORTLAND BOWLING CLUB’S ANNUAL DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES   AND SOCIAL RE UNION. The annual banquet and distribution of prizes took place at Mac’s Hotel on Mon day evening last. Admission was by ticket, and there were about twenty gentlemen present. We need not dwell upon the reflections set out, as Mr. Stewart’s capa bilities as a caterer are well known. Suffice it to say that full justice was done to the good things provided, and for some time there was very little conversation, the guest’s being too busy discussing the viands.

Mr. T. Must, as President of the club, occupied the head of the table, and opposite to him was Mr. J. Stewart, still rejoicing in his designation of ” Father of the “Portland Bowling Club” Everything, even eating, must come to an end, and the more substantial viands having been removed, and replaced by champagne, the   Chairman proposed the first toast of the evening-” The Queen.” The toast was drunk with much enthusiasm, and “The Queen, God bless her” echoed all over the room.

The Chairman then stated that the next thing on the programme was the presentation of five prizes to the lucky winners. There had been a sixth prize, but owing to the inclement weather it was found impossible to play it off before the season closed.   There had been almost three weeks of continuous rain towards the end of the season, and it was only by dint of great exertion that the last event for the Champion Medal had been completed.

There had been almost continuous play on the green from the 10th November until the end of May, and it now required a little care and attention. He could say for his own part that   bowling had been a great pleasure to him during the summer month, and he was sure all the members could say the same. (Hear, hear.)

In referring to the contest with the Maryborough team, the President went on to say that the match had proved most agreeable and exciting. He had been on the ground almost the whole time the match was in progress, although as a non-player, and all passed off without a hitch. There were various reasons that could be assigned as to why they were beaten, one being that some of their best players were away; another that one of their best players had played on the opposing side. However, with all these things taken into consideration they were not disgracefully beaten, and he hoped to see many more games played on the green, and also that the same unanimity and good feeling would prevail. (Cheers.)

The first prize he (the Chairman) would have the pleasure of presenting would be the Champion Medal to Mr. Charles. He went on to say, however, that there was a slight mistake. It was not the medal itself, but telegram to say that it would arrive by the morning’s post, that he would have the pleasure of handing to the champion who must consider the telegram as equal to the real thing. The next was a money prize presented by himself, and won by Mr. W. P. Anderson, which the recipient had placed to the credit of the funds of the club. The amount was small, but he was sure Mr. Anderson would receive it in the spirit in which it was given.

Mr. Stewart was then called upon to present to Mr. Ponsford, the prize given by himself, and which consisted of a handsome clock. The clock has been exhibited   in our publishing office window for some time past. In handing Mr. Ponsford the clock the Vice-President remarked that he expected to make a speech further on, so would just now content himself with saying that it was what he regarded as a popular win. (Cheers). Mr. Ponsford had been indefatigable in exertion to promote the welfare of the club, and had now met with the success he deserved. He would not bother the company with remarks about time and other things pertaining to a clock, but would only observe that like Mr. Ponsford himself it was very punctual. Another recommendation was that it would be sure to please the good wife as combining the ornamental with the useful. He   hoped that Mr. Ponsford would long live to see the time on its face. (Cheers).

Mr. W. P. Anderson was then called upon to hand over the Sussex prize to Mr. Chapman. The prize, a handsome silver mounted writing desk has also been on view in the town for some time past. Mr. Anderson, on behalf of the firm of Anderson and Stewart, had great pleasure in handing Mr. Chapman the trophy which was intended to be commemorative of the first direct shipment of wool by steamer from Portland to London. (Applause.) He would not detain the company, but hoped that before long Mr. Chapman would have a partner to share its conveniences with him. (Cheers).

The Chairman then stated that the next prize was a gold chain, the money to purchase which had been presented by Mr. H.   J. Wrixon. Mr. Wrixon had given a prize of three guineas, and the winner, Mr. J. R. Woods, had added something to it, and purchased the gold chain which he had much pleasure in handing over to Mr. Woods. (Applause). The Chairman then called upon Mr. Norris for a song, and that gentleman rendered   the “British Lion” in a spirited manner. After the applause had subsided the Chairman gave the toast of the prizetakers, Messrs. J. S. Charles, W. P. Anderson, J. Chapman, W. S. A. Ponsford and J. R. Woods. The toast was drunk with three times three and “They are Jolly Good Fellows.”

Mr. Charles’, in responding. stated that he had been for some weeks past concocted a most elaborate speech, and intended   to surprise them with a most brilliant flow of rhetoric, but for several reasons he did not think he would deliver it. His first reason was that there were his brother prizetakers to follow him, and they were better able to make a speech than he. (Cries of no. no, from the brother prize takers). Another reason was that he had not got the medal yet, and his burst of eloquence might be expended for nothing. Joking aside. however, he might say that he felt proud and happy to be in such a position as he was in that night-the holder of the champion medal. (Applause). He would not like to say, for all that, that he was the champion player; he knew several gentlemen present who could beat him. He had to work hard for his win against foemen in every way worthy of his steel. In regard to the bowling green, he could from his own experience say that it was an acquisition to the town and district as a place of recreation and amusement. It was a place where a man could meet and talk with his fellow townsmen, and exercise himself at the same time, and has also been an inducement to visitors. (Cheers.) He thanked them heartily for the way in which the toast of the prizetakers had been honoured. (Con tinted applause).

Mr. W. P. Anderson thanked the company for the heart manner in which the toast had been drunk, and stated he would not detain them as there were three other gentlemen anxious, to speak. (Applause.) Mr. Ponsford, in responding, thought that after .Mr. Charles’ oration he could not be expected to say much. , Mr. Stewart had stated that it was a pleasure to give the clock, but he was sure it did not exceed his pleasure in receiving it. Mr.   Stewart had been the life and blood of the club, and deserved their best thanks for the practical help he had given in presenting such valuable prizes. (Cheers.) He hoped the clock would continue to tick till it was antique. At this there was a shower or puns at the expense of the poor clock, and if it had any feeling it would assuredly have wished that its hands were large enough to cover its face. Mr. Ponsford then thanked the company, and sat   down amidst applause.

Mr. Chapman could, only join with the gentlemen who had spoken in thanking the donors of the prize, and the company for the hearty manner in which the toast had been drunk. He might say that in winning his prize he had had great luck, and he would impress that fact upon the minds of the handicappers for next season. In reference to what Mr. Anderson had said about a partner, that was a matter requiring judicious consideration. (Continued applause.)

Mr. Woods stated that he certainly had not expected to win a prize. He had not joined the club at its inauguration thinking it was a game he would not care for, but on the representations of the Secretary he had been induced to become a member, and he could say that it had proved most interesting to him, and he had always found good feeling to prevail on the ground. (Applause.) He hoped next season there would be as many prizes, and he would do his best to oust Mr. Charles from his position as champion. He would give a prize himself, and being a horse racing man he would like the prize to be after the style of the “Ladies’ Bracelet” at their race meeting, viz., that the prize should be suitable for a lady, and the competitors should be nominated by ladies. If   the committee saw fit to agree to those terms he would give a prize. (Applause.)

Mr. Charles was then called upon for a song, and gave ” Will-o’-the-Wisp” in a manner that brought down the house. Mr. L. Clarke then called upon the company to charge their glasses as he had a toast to propose. The toast was the ” prize-givers,” and he considered it a most important one. (Cheers). He considered them public benefactors, and the Bowling Club an important institution. Some per sons had said that bowls was a game for old fogies. Well, certainly he was an old fogy. but he found that younger men could take just as lively an interest in it as himself. (Cheers.) It came across his mind often as he trundled the bowls, what a   deep debt of gratitude they owed to Mr. Stewart in introducing and establishing in Portland the game of “Bowls, and he was sure everyone would drink the toast of the   prize givers right heartily. (Prolonged   applause). The toast was enthusiastically drunk with the usual adjuncts of “jolly good fellows. &c.”

The Chairman, as one of the prize-givers, in responding, sincerely thanked the company for the hearty manner in which the toast had been drunk. It afforded him much gratification to think that they had been so successful in establishing the club on a firm basis. Something had just occurred to him, and he thought it was his duty to mention it. It was remarked by some of the Maryborough team, that there was a slight lack of discipline on the part of the Portland players. Captains were appointed, and the interference of other persons caused great confusion. What made him mention the matter was that he heard it remarked that they would have beat the Maryborough team if they had maintained stricter discipline. By what he had seen of other clubs in the metropolis and elsewhere, he could say that the   play of their club would compare favourably with any of them. With all due   respect to other clubs, he felt assured he was not exaggerating when he stated that if they kept up their present stamina they would give other clubs who ventured to oppose them the go-by. (Applause.)

The Vice-President stated that twelve   months ago he had matters to a certain ex tent in his own hand, and had not inaptly been called the father of the club. On the present occasion, however, he could see that his family were out-growing him, and could get on without him. (Laughter). In referring to prizes given be might say that they were the life and soul of the club, and they could not get along without them, as they tended to excite emulation , and proficiency in the game would   follow as a matter of course. In giving prizes in the Melbourne club to which he belonged, the president and vice-president were expected to give one each. They had four fixed prizes; besides the two already spoken of there were the champion and prizetakers’ prizes. These were drawn and arranged for by the secretary, without the donors being spoken to at all on the subject. Besides these there were outside prizes given by liberal minded enthusiasts in the game. They had a fine clock, value 10 guineas given to them that season, to compete for which an entrance fee of 5s. was charged, thus netting a substantial sum to the credit of the funds of the club. Every member had entered into the contest   (Applause.)

Other clubs numbered more wealthy men among their members. Their president was the Mayor of Melbourne, a man who was not very wealthy, while the vice-president was a very wealthy man, but had the good taste never to give a better prize than his president. Thus if the president gave a prize worth 10 guineas they would expect one from the vice president of the value of about seven guineas. It was estimated that Dr. Beaney had spent no less than £1,500 in one year for bowling trophies. Another gentleman. Mr Nat Moss. president of the Bowling Association. had been in the habit of giving a prize value £25 to be competed for by all the clubs in Melbourne. Each club played the same as if they were playing for a prize belonging to their own club till it came to the last man, and he had to go to a strange green and play the last man of another club and so on. The gentleman who now held that championship, Mr. Sim, might justly reckon himself the champion of Victoria. Mr. Stewart then sat down amidst applause.

Mr. Atkinson requested the company to fill their glasses to drink the toast of the office-bearers. He need not tell them how they had performed their work. He had always enjoyed himself on the green, he would ask them to join heartily in the toast. The toast was heartily drunk with musical honours.  

Mr. Greer, in reply, said he hardly thought it fair that he should he singled out to reply on behalf of the office-bearers.   But be could say that they had always done their utmost to please everybody–a hard matter sometimes-and to protect the green, and he might remark that the green   had only teen closed against play for a week from the 10th November, 1883, to the 10th May. 1834, Sunday excepted. The President had remarked the want of discipline. All who had not obtained the laws of the game and these of the club would find a lot to learn in them, and they could have them from him for one shilling per   copy. He had received that night a donation of one guinea to the funds of the club from Mr. H. J. H. Campbell (cheers), And would be glad to receive many more donations to the funds of the club. After thanking the company for the manner in in which the toast was honoured, Mr. Greer sat down amidst applause.

Mr. Collier was then called upon for a song, and rendered the old favourite “Seeing Nelly Home,” the whole company joining in the chorus. Mr. Collier was loudly applauded.  

Dr. Brewer had a toast to propose, which he considered as one of the most important of the evening, viz., the” Press.” (Cheers.) They had not yet come to the end of their thanks. They owed a great debt of gratitude to the local press, which was always   ready to record items of news in reference to the bowling club, and had recorded all their doings. Step by step, up to the present. Everyone knew they could not do without the press. Next to the prayer” Give us our daily bread,” came” Give us our daily paper.” (Cheers). It was only the newspapers that kept the submarine cable to Europe going. At one time they had to wait nearly twelve months for a scrap of home news; now they would grumble if they did not get it every day. They could not possibly get along without the   press, and more especially the liberal minded press of the present day. They would always do good, and he hoped all would join him heartily in toasting the Press. (Continued applause.) Mr. E. Harvey, suitably responded on behalf of the Guardian, and Mr. Badnall did the same for the Mirror. The toast was drank with full musical honours.

Mr. Norris was again called upon and responded with a recitation in Scotch dialect, which fairly convulsed the company.  

The next toast was that of the Vice President, which was of course drunk with enthusiasm. Mr. Stewart, in replying stated that in responding to the toast they had succeeded in doing what he did not think it   was possible to do–completely unmanned him. He thought he had got over stage fright. And it took a good bit to put him out, but their ardour had completely knocked him over. He could not take too much credit to himself in the matter of establishing the Bowling Club. There had been a certain amount of selfishness in it, as he missed his game of bowls when he left Melbourne, in fact he could tell them that he missed it more than anything. But he had also thought that the very thing Portland wanted was a bowling club. He   would not again recount the difficulties of starting, of which there were a good many, but those who had worked with him now felt with himself highly gratified that their efforts had been crowned with success.

In referring to the match with Maryborough, he might say that he never expected they would win-on the contrary he thought they would get a disgraceful beating, which is generally the experience of young clubs. In referring to Mr. Must’s remarks, he must say that want of discipline was a very important consideration, and was the chief cause of a good many matches being lost.   For his part he always did what his captain told him, whether he thought he could see a better shot or no. If he thought the exigencies of the case demanded it he would play his first shot where his captain wanted it, and then if he saw that to get in on that hand was impossible, he would try his own shot. If he were captain of a rink, and asked a player to get a bowl in on the forehand and he failed, he would consider it his duty when his turn came, to try the shot, if things were just the same, and if he failed, he would consider himself in the wrong, and the party he had directed to try the shot would have a perfect right to tell him so. There had been a new rule made by the bowling association to the effect that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd players never leave the place where they are standing till they have all played their bowls, thus leaving the captains undisturbed. Mr. Stewart gave the members   some wholesome advice on the matter of discipline, which was loudly applauded.

There was one thing in connection with bowling in his experience, and that was that during the whole time he bat been connected with bowling he had never seen a bet laid, and strongly advised the Portland club men never to tolerate it. It could   not add any more zest to the game, as they had prizes for an incentive.

Mr. Stewart then went on to say that the Treasurer had handed him a statement of the financial position of the club, showing that the revenue for the past season was £67 3s.6d. and the expenditure £61 15s. 9d. He found they had gone back a few pounds when the interest due to the bank was added, and a subcommittee had been appointed to devise some means of getting rid of the debt. Their total liabilities were now £120, and to get rid of this there were various courses open. In the club to which he belonged the most common practice was to issue debentures, bearing interest at the rate of 7 per cent., and of which 10 per cent, were redeemed every year. Another way was life-membership. They had seven or eight life members who paid 20 guineas for the privilege. The last mode was one that he hardly liked to mention, but they could any what they liked about him the next day, and he would be satisfied if it succeeded in wiping out the odd £20. This was to have a subscription on an occasion like the present. Mr. Campbell had set a good example, and he would back it up with another guinea. (Cheers.) In conclusion he hoped next year to find a good record of inter-club matches. (Applause.) The list was then passed round the table, and 13 guineas were subscribed on the spot.

Mr.J. R. Woods thought the debentures the best plan. And would take £5 worth, but would not give a guinea at the present time. Some little discussion took place, and the Vice-President said he was sorry in one way he had mentioned the matter but he was not sorry that it had succeeded in netting 13 guineas. (Applause.)   Mr. Lyne then called upon the company to drink the health of the President, who had never been found wanting when any measure was put forward to benefit the club.

The President thanked the company, and hoped he would always continue to work harmoniously with the club. If he had forwarded the interests of the club he could assure them that in return he had gained great pleasure and amusement. All the credit lay at the door of Mr. Stewart, the father of the club. In Mr. Stewart’s absence he was happy to say that he and the, members of the club bad pulled well together. He could not regret having mentioned the matter of discipline, as it had been so fully explained by Mr. Stewart. as to be of great service to them. He   should very much like to be one of 10 or one of 20 life members, to wipe off the debt. This mode he preferred to debentures, as they   would then be clear of debt. Mr. Must   again thanked the company and amidst applause.

Mr. Norris, who also had a very important toast to propose, viz., The Ladies.” They must drink it in bumpers. They could not speak too highly of the ladles, They then proceeded to impart to the company the information that one reason why he thought so much of the ladies was because he’s mother was one of them. It anything would tend to make them better it was approbation     of the ladies (Cheers.)

The toast was drunk enthusiastically, and   “Here’s a Health to all Good Lasses” sang over and over again. Mr. Rose had great pleasure in returning thanks on behalf of the ladies for the toast and song, and thought Messrs. Chapman and Woods should be allowed to say a few words on the subject. Messrs. Chapman and Woods decidedly objected to having the response thrust on them, and a bit of bantering went on until Mr. Greer favoured the company with “Jack Robinson,” having a chorus in which all the company joined. The National Anthem was then sung by the company, and was followed by “Auld Langsyne,” which was rendered right heartily, and Mr. Norris making extempore verses suited to the occasion would have prolonged the meeting to an indefinite period if some of the members had not absolutely (???) themselves away