Mona still rolling at 89
THE game is the same but the clothes have changed. The old knees get a bit stiff, too. When Mona Arandale played in the first Northern Rivers District Women's Bowling Association carnival, she looked more like a character from a Jane Austin novel than the sporting great great grandmother she is today. "We had white stockings and wore long dresses that stopped 12 inches from the ground," she said at the carnival's 50th anniversary presentation on Thursday. "We wore big white hats ... and no slacks." In those early days of the carnival the Queenslanders used to come down to gamble as well as play. "The Queenslanders would come down to play the poker machines," she said. "They would save up for it each year. They loved it." Mona played in every carnival, from the first to the 49th, but was unable to play in the 50th anniversary carnival because the three-day format put too much stress on her knees. "I'm very disappointed I didn't play today," she said. "It's a highlight for everyone and we look forward to it each year. "It's just that three days is too much for me now." Mona played in the Bangalow team that won the first carnival in the 1950s. "And I haven't done any good since," she said. The 89-year-old first took to bowls 58 years ago. "I had six kids when I started to play ... I lived on a dairy farm at Knockrow," she said. "Some 50-year-old men showed us how to play. "I used to come home and talk about these old fellas. Now I think 50 is wonderful." Mona was the foundation treasurer of the NRDWBA and during her 49-year involvement with the association has, at some time, filled every post except secretary. She still plays for the Lennox Head Bowling Club. "Of course I bowl," she said. "I bowled yesterday."