Killarney Bowling Club History
The Transvaal Automobile Club (TAC), having moved to its current location in 1970, decided that lawn bowls offered a good extension to its sporting facilities but it was not until 1974 that the bowling greens were laid. By mid 1976 the greens were ready for play.
The first group of bowlers joined in that year and soon thereafter some members of the Kyalami Bowling Club, which closed in 1978, joined the TAC.
In 1989, as a result of the closure of the Sharon Country Club from Edenvale, another 146 members joined.
In 2005, the name of Killarney Bowling Club was adopted to replace the TAC brand which had become redundant. As a result of the closure of the Beaconsfield Bowling Club in Victory Park Johannesburg in 2006 due to the sale of their land, a merger agreement with them was struck and resulted in an influx of another 130 members to Killarney.
At the end of 2008, the membership of Killarney Bowling Club amounted to 262 members comprised of 173 men and 89 ladies.
Killarney Bowling Club operates under the auspices of the Central Gauteng Bowling Association (CGBA), the Gauteng provincial district of Bowls South Africa (BSA).
The game of bowls occupies pride of place in the history of Killarney Country Club. Indeed , the very first sporting amenity offered by the Club was a bowling green, opened in 1917, one year after the Club moved to Killarney. A second green was opened in 1921, the official opening being conducted by His Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught, the then Governor-General of South Africa. The Killarney Bowling Club as formed as a section of the Transvaal Automobile Club (TAC) but could hardly be saddled with a name like Transvaal Automobile Club. It was therefore agreed to name it The Killarney Bowling Club. It's history is very closely linked with Mr. I.W. Schlesinger who was the financial power behind the TAC. In 1922, Mr. Schlesinger donated a trophy to be competed for on an annual basis, and this was known as The Schlesinger Trophy. The tournament became one of the most prestigious events in the country and enjoyed an illustrious history until its demise in recent years when the closure of so many clubs rendered an inter-club event impractical.
In 1953, new greens were laid down at the old club: with the advent of the M1, the TAC moved from Killarney to Lower Houghton. Work on the new greens started in June 1969 and were nurtured in to the standard recognised by bowlers as being amongst the finest in the country - a reputation which still holds today.
Currently the bowls membership at Killarney is one of the largest and most active in the Southern Hemisphere. This is, in no small measure, the result of the merger of the Sharon Bowls Club with Killarney in August 1991, a merger which is still considered by the bowling community as the most successful of its kind and a blueprint which others have tried to emulate without the same success.
Killarney has be a much-sought-after venue for all organised tournaments and events under the auspices of National, Provincial and District. We have been privileged to host the President's Cup Tournament, the SA Nationals Championship, the Inter-Provincials, and District Championships.
Charity days have also enjoyed great success at Killarney and we boast the distinction of holding by far and away the most successful charity day in South African Bowls in the form of the Selwyn Segal day.
On the playing field, Killarney has a distinguished record boasting Springboks in the form of the late, great Nando Gatti (who also served for a number of years as Resident Coach at the Club) as well as our own home-nurtured Milly Wasserzug whose rise to bowls glory is a fairy taile in itself.
Our Honours Board gives testimony to many successes, the Club has been bestowed with honours and distinction at competitive level but its strength lies in the overall structure and enthusiasm of its members and committees, both on and off the greens. This has enabled Killarney to hold its head high as a vibrant and definitive bowling force in an era in which the game of bowls finds itself at distinct and alarming crossroads.
We honour the Club and raise our glasses offering a toast to many more years!