In 1960 in the quiet little fishing village of Deception Bay a group of businessmen discussed the possibility of forming a bowling club. They included Keith Campbell – the first butcher, Albert Basnett- postmaster, Joe Scudamore – the local poultry farmer and a member of Bramble Bay Bowling Club, Les Topfer – Progress Association and Henry Bichel – real estate agent.
A public meeting was called July 1960 and some twenty or more people attended. There was a bit of opposition, being the quiet place that it was and there being no hotel, the older people thought that a bowling club would upset their quiet little retirement village.
At the meeting Albert Basnett was elected President, Les Topfer Senior Vice-president, Keith Campbell Secretary and E. Money Treasurer. After a couple of meetings Keith Campbell resigned as Secretary and his position was filled by Henry Bichel. E. Money resigned and Brian Scudamore took his place. Committee included J. Scudamore, Arthur Allan, C. Fullwood, Viv Wood, W. Hart and Fred Bailey.
With the help of Mr. W. Smith, a member of Kalinga Bowls Club, the land was bought. With very little money, the committee sought the help of local people with those interested in joining the club buying debentures. Mr Smith bought the first debenture for one hundred pounds.
The late Mrs Margaret Kennedy, who was a member of Indooroopilly and Merthyr, was a grest help to us financially. She later became Patroness of the Ladies Club and remained so until her death in 1992.
The membership subscription was decided at two pounds per member and any person joining the club before the club applied for a liquor license would be classed as a Foundation member of the club.
The land was bought from Mr. C. Swepson for four hundred pounds. Two hundred pounds was paid in cash and the rest in debentures for his son and daughter, with the club paying the subdividing cost of surveying the land off the balance of his property.
The soil and grave was donated by local farmer Mr. B. Krause and the area was levelled off with graders and other equipment hired from the council. As the foundations of the green started to progress the men thought it was time for the ladies to form a club.
The inaugural meeting of the Ladies Club was called in 1961. Eunice Topfer was elected President, Olive Wood Senior Vice-president, Reta Basnett Junior Vice-president, Tot Fullwood Secretary and Gwen Drewett Treasurer. There were about thirty ladies who became Foundation members, but not all remained to become bowlers.
The handful of ladies became a great asset as they helped to plant most of the green. They also held stall, raffles and socials in the local hall to help raise money. Jack Baxter, green keeper of Bramble Bay and Jim Killaler green keeper at Scarborough were a great help to Les Topfer in caring for the green.
Two well-known small crop farmers in the area at that time, Arthur Dahl and Roy Green used to keep the balance of the club’s land by rotary hoeing it from time to time and both joined the club to become Foundation members. Arthur Dahl unfortunately collapsed and died on the green and a few months after the club commenced to play bowls.
The time had come to think about a clubhouse. The planning was left to Arthur Allan, a well-known builder in the Deception Bay / Caboolture area with the assistance of Brian Scudamore. Between them they cut out he framework during the week and on the weekend the whole frame, joists, rafters, roof battens, facia boards and guttering were completed in one day. The cement floor and necessary base work had been done the two previous weekends by Henry Bichel and assisted by other volunteer workers.
The timber for the clubhouse was purchased with debentures from well-known Caboolture sawmill of J. Attewell & Sons. John Attewell himself was a bowling member of both Wavell Heights and Caboolture clubs.
When the green first became fit for play, members practised amongst themselves as no one except J. Scudamore was a member of another club and he, along with players from the Peninsular clubs, assisted members to learn some of the more finer points of the game of bowls.
Mr. David Nicholson MLA and Member for Caboolture assisted in the club’s application for a liquor license. He later became Patron of the Men’s Club.
All work in the bar was done by volunteers and the ladies worked in the kitchen. Jack Jacques took on the position of Providore and was later employed as part-time barman.
The club was officially opened by Mr. Eric Falk State President of RQBA on the 29th June 1963. Early in 1965 the second green was laid.
In the early years of the club, owing to a number of members working in Brisbane and only spending the weekends in their home in the Bay some members shared duties. Les Topfer, who as Vice-president and then later as President acted as Greens Director and often assisted the green keeper. Both Mal Frazer and Henry Bichel held the positions of Vice-president and then President while sharing the Games Director duty with Les until the club was able to fill all positions from amongst the members.
The club played the first year of pennant bowls in Caboolture District and the next year, transferred and played in sixth division in Metropolitan District. In this second year, they were defeated by Chelmer in the final.
The above History of the Deception Bay Bowls Club is adapted from the writing of both Mrs. Reta Basnett and the late Henry Bichel.