The following information has been kindly provided to the Club, regarding the beginnings of lawn bowls in our area, by Jane Nigro from the Malvern Historical Society.
It is believed that Malvern had the first bowling green in Victoria as early as the 1860s. The Gardiner Hotel (now known as The Angel Tavern) was a well-known hotel. Its position, at the north-eastern corner of Dandenong and Glenferrie Roads, made it a favourite. Its licensee was a noted Melbourne cricketer, William Greaves, who popularised the hotel as a resort for huntsmen, and all-round sportsmen.
Greaves wished to give gentlemen the opportunity to pursue outdoor sports. On September 6, 1862 the following advertisement appeared in Bell’s Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle: “William Greaves begs to thank his sporting friends for the patronage he has enjoyed during the three months he has been in the Gardiner Hotel, Malvern Hill, and to inform them that he has at considerable expense made a very excellent bowling green which he believes to be the only one in the colony. Every facility will be afforded gentlemen who are desirous of practice at cricket, bowls or pigeon shooting. The Gardiner Hotel is about a mile from the Chapel Street Station, Prahran, and a good road all the way.”
A newspaper column appeared alongside, advising that Greaves already had fifteen members for the bowling club, and as his hotel was so close to public transport, the paper stated it had no doubt that the patronage Greaves would receive from the lovers of the “gentle game during the ensuing summer [would] remunerate him for his outlay.”
If you are interested in reading more about the history of our suburb, go to http://home.vicnet.net.au/~malvern/home.htm