About Bowls Wilton

Our location

Bowls Wilton is situated adjacent to Otari-Wilton Bush Reserve, which boasts the finest collection of native flora and fauna in the southern hemisphere. No bowling club in New Zealand can claim a better perspective.

At Wilton we pride ourselves on being a progressive club. We were the first club in the Wellington region to lay an artificial surface which allowed our members to enjoy bowls throughout the whole year. 

So come along and see for yourself, you will be pleasantly surprised, we can promise you that.

Our history

Early in 1949, Mr. E C Marris, who lived in Wilton Road, learnt that another resident of the Wilton Road area, Mrs. Curtis, was interested in making an area of land available for outdoor bowls. He conducted a survey of the Wilton and Wadestown suburbs to see if there was any interest in such a venture. 

With assurances of support for such a proposal from residents, and with the help of members of the Wilton Bush Residents’ Association, Mr. Marris arranged a meeting for 15-June-1949 at the Wadestown Side School to consider various options. About 50 attended. Among the options was that the Wellington City Council would purchase the land and lease it back to an approved bowling club. The council had also given an undertaking that heavy earthworks involved in creating a bowling green would be carried out by its Reserves Department. 

At the meeting The WCC Director of Parks and Reserves for the Wellington City Council, Mr. Hutt, presented a proposal for the purchase of land by the city council. He also outlined the preliminary earthworks that would need to be carried out. The meeting resolved to form a bowling club for the Wilton–Wadestown districts, to be named the Wilton Bowling Club. Provisional officers elected included Mr. Marris as President and Mr. P Hansard as Secretary. A general meeting of members and intending members of the new club was called for 17 August, 1949, which approved a draft constitution; confirmed appointment of the provisional officers elected at the June meeting; and resolved to issue a non-interest-bearing debenture of £5 [five pounds] to all foundation members, to be repayable five years after the date of issue. 

It was reported to the first AGM of the club, for the year ending 31 May 1950, that more than 6,000 yards of soil and rock had been removed by the city council, but that the formation of the green had been carried out by members. The green was opened for play on 17 February 1951, by Mr. C M Bowden, MP, and closed on 31 March to allow further work to be carried out. The green was opened for the start of the 1951/52 season on 27 October 1951, and on 14 May 1952, the committee held its first meeting in the newly-erected club pavilion - an 800 square-foot structure at ground level, with a locker room and conveniences in the basement. An initial quote of £3,000 for constructing the pavilion had been rejected by the executive and an arrangement was finally made with Mr. F P Scahill, of the Lower Hutt building firm Scahill and Sparks, to do the work on a cost-plus contract based on an hourly rate, with members assisting with working bees at weekends. The building was finally erected at a cost of just under £2,500 with the president reporting to the AGM on 25 June 1952, that the working bees had been doing ‘useful work’ completing interior work and amenities. 

There were many long hours and ‘useful work’ undertaken and necessary in these early days. By June 1956, membership of the men’s club had grown to 114, including 90 full-playing members. Membership of the women’s club, which had been formed in 1951, stood at 75. It was reported to the AGM in 1955 that the club’s second green would be ready for play by the start of the 1955/56 season. 

View from near Bowen Hospital, towards Wilton (Blackbridge Rd at bottom of gully on left)

View from the homestead toward the new bowling green

Photographs from NZ Archives

There have been numerous developments and changes over the years of life of the Wilton Bowling Club. Some of the highlights have been: 

Our three greens

No 1 - Thorndon Green

No 2 - Wilton Green

No 3 - Otari Green