The East Shepparton Bowls Club officially opens its new undercover bowling green today after two earlier attempts had to be aborted due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The facility, which has been operational for several months, has been named the Member’s Pavilion, while the green itself has been named after club stalwart, the late Ray Henderson.
Construction of the facility commenced in 2019 after the Club was successful in attaining a $500,000 Federal Government grant via the Community Sport Infrastructure stream.
The Club contributed in excess of $700,000 after selling a block of land it owned, while Greater Shepparton City Council contributed $30,000.
Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, spoke at the opening, where he praised Club members for their hard work in making the facility – first floated two decades ago by life member Gino Cervi – a reality.
“It’s just fantastic to see so many years of planning and hard work being celebrated, especially as the Club marks its 50th anniversary this year,” Mr Drum said.
“Community sporting clubs like East Shepparton Bowls Club are the lifeblood of any regional town and I was thrilled I was able to secure the federal funding that got this important project over the line.
“You can see the pride in the members’ faces when they talk about the new facility and it was fitting Ray Henderson’s widow, Lorraine, unveiled a plaque in his honour.”
Club vice-president and building committee chairman, Dennis Galt, thanked Mr Drum for the funding, while also praising the input and support of Club members.
“The finished facility speaks for itself – first-time visitors are in awe,” Mr Galt said.
“The facility allows us to play in all weather conditions and other clubs have hired our facility to play night pennant games under cover.”
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Kim O’Keefe, who attended the opening, said the Club was a prime example of Shepparton’s community spirit bringing family and friends together.
“The development of the club and its facilities look amazing, and I have no doubt that Ray will be very proud that his dream is now a reality and that so many of community will be able to enjoy these new facilities year round,” Ms O’Keefe said.