Lawn Bowls was introduced to the Mornington Peninsula when the MORNINGTON BOWLING CLUB was established in 1917. The site, once an aboriginal camp site is located on a cliff top overlooking Port Phillip Bay
This club was formed on the 1st June 1917 and opened with a four rink green in November of that year, but the task of hand watering by watering can proved to be too big a job for the members and the club closed. A permanent water supply was not available until 1921.
Another meeting was then held which confirmed the minutes of the 1917 meeting and the green was re-opened on the 30th January 1922 with a one rink match against a team from Camberwell.
The year 1925 brought an element of interclub competition when the Frankston Bowls Club was founded and established on the Frankston foreshore.
Because of the poor quality of both roads and transport of the day, bowlers living at the southern end of the Peninsula found it infinitely more convenient to travel across the bay by ferry to play at the Queenscliff Bowls Club, one of the oldest clubs in Victoria having been established in 1883, just three years after the formation of the Victorian Bowls Association.
In 1934 the Flinders Council approved and constructed a seven rink lawn green in the David McFarlane Reserve at Sorrento.
It was not until nine years later in 1947 that a fourth club was established on the foreshore at Rosebud opposite the main shopping centre. The founding President and Secretary of that club Mr F E Wood & Mr G H Richardson then went on to serve as the founding President & Secretary respectively of the Peninsula Bowling Association in which in turn was founded on the 25th September 1951.
The idea of an association had been spoken of between the members of the four clubs on the Peninsula, however it was not until after Ted Hart (Fitzroy BC) presented a cup for an annual competition to be conducted between the clubs that positive action was taken to form an association.
On September 25th 1951 at a meeting convened by Harry Beck (Rosebud BC) and attended by representatives of Rosebud, Frankston and Mornington clubs ( Sorrento did not attend the inaugural meeting) the Peninsula Bowling Association was formed with F E Wood (Rosebud BC) being elected as its first President.
The “Hart cup” was contested between these clubs in the format of a pennant competition. The competition was introduced and played on Wednesday afternoons between the four member clubs of the new Association :- MORNINGTON, FRANKSTON, SORRENTO and ROSEBUD. Wednesdays were selected as businesses normally closed on that day, the reason being that banking facilities at that time were only available at the major townships, which necessitated a trip to that town by business owners to conduct their weekly transactions.
By 1956 the Association had achieved the RVBA requirement of having not less than three clubs, with a total membership of not less than 200 for four of its five years prior to 1956. In achieving this the newly formed Association was now qualified to send a councillor to the RVBA. Harry Beck (Rosebud BC) was elected as the Peninsula’s first Councillor.
The 1950’s saw six new club’s established :- HASTINGS – 1953, DROMANA – 1954, SOMERVILLE – 1956, RYE – 1958, MAIN RIDGE – 1959, and WEST ROSEBUD – 1959.
Season 1954-55 saw the introduction of a Saturday Pennant competition. 1955-56 was also the last season in which the Wednesday competition was played.
The 1960’s saw a rapid growth in the population in the area, this being largely due to its attraction to the many people who were approaching retirement. The Peninsula with its cheap land, relaxed style of living, and a mild climate combined with splendid beaches and its close proximity to Melbourne had long been a favourite holiday area for Victorian holiday makers.
This period saw yet another nine clubs established : – LONG ISLAND – 1962, YAMALA PARK – 1964, FRANKSTON RSL – 1964, RSL PARK – 1965, MOUNT ELIZA – 1960, CARRINGTON PARK – 1968, ROSEBUD COUNTRY CLUB – 1968, KARINGAL – 1969, and ROSEBUD RSL – 1977.
In 1970 the FRANKSTON BOWLS CLUB was renamed the CITY OF FRANKSTON BOWLING CLUB and in 1978 was relocated to its present location. This site was developed into a magnificent complex and was chosen to be the host venue for the 1980 World Bowls Championships.
1980 also saw the establishment of the MOUNT MARTHA BOWLS & SOCIAL CLUB and in 1982 the formation of the MORNINGTON CIVIC BOWLS CLUB brought the number of member clubs of the Peninsula Bowling Association to 21.