Birthday roll up

It will be a long summer of celebration for members of the Cambridge Bowling Club which is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Mary Anne Gill was there on Saturday with her camera and notebook for the Afternoon Tea celebration with dignitaries and life members.

Special guests – including Taupō MP Louise Upston, deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk, Bowls Waikato president Joe Curry and anniversary committee chair Don Harris – gather on the green outside the historic Cambridge Bowling Club pavillion to mark 125 years since its establishment. The afternoon tea, part of the club’s ‘Summer of Celebration’ captured all the participants at the event from up high by Jamie Wright and his drone.

Holding the shot

When Fred Potts built the Cambridge Bowling Club pavilion in 1914 for £350, little did he know that more than a century later his great grandson Michael Jeans would play a critical role in the club’s history.

It is Jeans who chronicles so much of Cambridge’s day to day activities and so it was fitting he was at the club’s celebratory afternoon tea on Saturday to capture participants in front of the historic pavilion.

Photographer Michael Jeans tells deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk and MP Louise Upston about his great grandfather Fred Potts. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Also there was local MP Louise Upston, deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk, Bowls Waikato president Joe Curry and life members Ian Rogers and Joy Hunter, who cut the specially decorated birthday cake.

The week of formal celebrations began last Thursday with an invitational bowls tournament.

Bowlers from 25 Waikato clubs took part in the tournament held on the club’s two greens, including the recently relaid one closest to the Cambridge Band Rotunda.

Cambridge Bowling Club 125th birthday cake

Cambridge, formed in 1898, is the oldest bowling club in the Waikato. It was a time when bowls had become very popular around New Zealand, particularly among older urban males.

Early dress was formal but in later years bowlers adopted the full ‘whites’ and then colours to the whites.

The two-storey pavilion is situated in the Cambridge Domain overlooking the greens on one side and Lake Te Koo Utu on the other.

Saturday was the day of formal celebration with the afternoon tea and speeches honouring those who kept the club going, and to reminisce on days gone by.

The ‘Summer of Celebration’ continues on November 23 with a sport through the ages social event and then next year on February 11 wraps up with a fun bowls tournament and a public picnic with music around the rotunda.

Early times: This undated photo is pre 1901, before the first pavilion was built, the fashions are late 1800s/early 1900s and items found with it point to 1899-1901.


Guests at the Cambridge Bowling Club’s 125th anniversary afternoon tea pose for the drone shot. Photo: Mary Anne Gill


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