Bangalow Bowling Club members, from left, Hugh Gallagher, Ian Dall, Tony Hart, Noel Johnston, John Armstrong, Jeff Nolan, Richard Rombouts and Eric Sleep celebrate their return to the club’s greens.
Bangalow Bowling Club members, from left, Hugh Gallagher, Ian Dall, Tony Hart, Noel Johnston, John Armstrong, Jeff Nolan, Richard Rombouts and Eric Sleep celebrate their return to the club’s greens.

Bowling club back in business

FORMER prime minister Paul Keating uttered the famous phrase "it was the recession Australia had to have" back in 1993 and yesterday the Bangalow Bowling Club adopted the same glass half full approach.

The club has endured a difficult start to 2012 but yesterday play returned to the club's greens for the first time in six weeks.

The afternoon round of social bowls was a step along the road to recovery after a period of voluntary administration.

On February 21 it was announced that creditors had voted to end the administration period.

It emerged then that the club owed $125,000 to the ANZ bank, $63,000 to trade creditors, $27,000 to the Australian Tax Office and almost $71,000 in administration fees.

But administrator John Souris advised creditors the club had a good chance of meeting its debts because community members had raised $200,000 towards their goal of $300,000.

Bangalow Bowling Club treasurer Tony Hart now believes his club is ready to enjoy some good times in its 103rd year.

"To borrow a phrase from Paul Keating, it was the voluntary administration we needed to have," Hart said. "We found ourselves in this position because for 10 years we didn't make a profit.

"We've got a large proportion of 70-years plus bowlers here and our buildings are old and cost a lot to maintain.

"Then you've got to consider the general costs in running the place, for instance the electricity bills.

"Other clubs in our region have been good to us by letting us play on their greens."

Hart has thought long and hard about his club's future viability.

"We want to re-open the place with a 'wow factor'," he said.

"We'll look at trying to attract more families and their children to our club through concerts, trivia nights, a possible internet cafe and maybe a bar with a lounge.

"The ANZ bank was very generous to us and we will service our debt to them.

"We'll also look at trying to chase up some state and federal grants."

Byron Bay Club president Jim Clark was yesterday delighted to see his neighbouring club take its first steps to again becoming a prominent bowling club in the Northern Rivers.

"Our club has helped cut and roll the green and Bangalow has been coming over to us for matches," he said.

"It's a club that's over 100 years old so you don't want to see it go under."

Bangalow Bowling Club member Eric Sleep said the club is not the only one that has struggled financially in recent years.

"It's a problem for a lot of clubs state-wide," he said.

"Let's hope Bangalow can reinvigorate itself or it will go down the gurgler."

The Club Rescue Committee and the board is working with the community to implement changes to the club's operation, administration and finances prior to a full re-opening.



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