Toogoolawah Bowls Club president Keith McWhirter with Pamela and Dr Malcolm Whaites.
Toogoolawah Bowls Club president Keith McWhirter with Pamela and Dr Malcolm Whaites.

How 74yo sporting equipment made its way back to club

FOUR pieces of Toogoolawah Bowls Club history have returned home, in the shape of bowls dating back to the 1940s.

Club founder Ernest Cannell’s 1946-stamped Dunlop bowls were donated to the club by his granddaughter Pamela Whaites.

In a card to the club, Mrs Whaites said she kept her grandfather’s bowls for 55 years.

“I felt it appropriate to pass them onto the club on their annual Memorial Day for safe keeping and display,” she wrote.

Club president Keith McWhirter said the bowls symbolised the club’s rich history.

“We were quite impressed when Pamela gave them to the club,” Mr McWhirter said.

“A couple of people that are club members knew of him.”

Mr McWhirter said the club would organise for the historic bowls to be put on display.

He said the older bowls were “more challenging” and required the player to use “more green” compared to today’s equipment.

Somerset Councillors from 1927, including Ernest Cannell (front row second from left). Photo: Somerset Regional Council archives.
Somerset Councillors from 1927, including Ernest Cannell (front row second from left). Photo: Somerset Regional Council archives.

“The older bowls, they used to have to go a lot further out,” Mr McWhirter said.

“The newer bowls are much narrower – instead of being 10 feet away from the centre line, you’re two feet away.”

The late Mr Cannell moved to Australia in 1920 with his wife Judith. The pair ran a dairy farm.

He founded the Toogoolawah Bowls Club in 1947, and held the title of president for seven years during three separate stints before his death in 1965.

Mr Cannell also spent 25 years on the Esk Regional Council in the third division, first serving from 1927 to 1946, then again from 1955 to 1961.

The club Mr Cannell set up has 30 active members today.

Mr McWhirter credits the club’s survival to previous committee members who were good with finances.

“Coronavirus certainly didn’t help our members, it didn’t help the club finances either,” he said.

“But our position is a big credit to those who have gone before us.”

Mr Whirter said the sport had allowed for camaraderie during tough times, especially on club days.