Jack high 

From struggling to pay the power bills to expansion plans because of soaring memberships, it’s been an interesting decade for the North Perth Bowls Club and president Dick Camp.

THE North Perth Bowls Club is celebrating a massive resurgence, going from being on the brink of closing the doors just a few years ago to now being reconnoitred by other clubs looking to follow its success.

A few years back the club’s finances were struggling to the point it couldn’t pay the power bill. 

Club president Dick Camp says when Covid then hit, it was a real “fright” for the club.

Now the club’s doing well enough to give back and is about to hold its third annual charity carnival, setting its biggest target yet of $25,000 for the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“We get visits from the other clubs to see what we do, and how we do things, and that’s because they’re struggling,” Mr Camp says.

Since 2015 the club’s membership has gone from 250 to 1350.

Mr Camp says one big change is “we’ve gone for a different financial setting: high numbers, low cost”. A social membership’s only $20. 

The club’s now in the enviable position of having so many people down on a weekend night that it’ll have to look at increasing the capacity above 100 in the future.

Another change that’s had a monumental effect, Mr Camp says, is “we’ve changed the beers”.

Charity donors can vote on which tattoo of club legend Ian Duncan will be inked onto Amos “The Beer Walrus” Polglaze, the wholesome version, or something a little more saucy.

Historically most bowls clubs had eight indistinguishable lagers on tap, ranging from the full-bodied slightly-hoppy Emu Bitter to the full-bodied slightly-hoppy Emu Export. 

But tastes have changed and NPBC’s made a point of keeping up with the demand for more varied beers, teaming up with local breweries and searching out far-flung crafters to bring specialty niche brews to the taps, and the result’s been clear to see.

“That brings in the different crowds,” Mr Camp says. “Hipsters – the 25s to 35s. And the mums and the dads, and lots of social bowlers.”

While the social scene is pumping the club’s also had a boost at the competitive level with teams getting promotions through divisions in the past few years. Mr Camp puts it down to “team spirit – everyone’s working together”.

The club’s bowlers will go up against competitors from all over town at its big “Charity Fours” four-person team carnival on Saturday July 30.

And to help raise funds club regulars David Wirrpanda and Amos “The Beer Walrus” Polglaze are putting themselves on the line on July 31.

Mr Wirrpanda, a club mainstay who’s taken up bowls after a celebrated AFL career, has pledged to shave his head and beard if donors pitch in $2000 for PCHF. 

The Beer Walrus – known for his online reviews of beers he drinks in the shower – will go under the needle of ink artist Wayne Watson to get a tattoo of club legend Ian Duncan if his $2000 target is hit. 

The club’s still looking to grow and info on times and memberships are up at npbowling.com.au


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