The origins of Manly Bowling Club date back to 1952.

The site of the current Club car park was a road connecting Manly Park with Brixton Road. Off this road were three sections owned by Mr. Brown, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Huntington.
Most of the home owners at that time were weekenders and holiday makers, and no doubt spent time mowing the grass flat enough to form a bowling green.

The land was donated by the three owners, but as the Club was not an Incorporated Society at that time it could not hold title to the land and so it was vested in the Ratepayers Association. The Association did put a great deal back into the complex by building the original clubhouse and tar sealing the tennis courts. Part of the area became 2 tennis courts, and the rest was used for bowls. The current natural green was one of those original areas.

A meeting was held on 26 Dec 1952 of six men including Mr. Taylor and Mr. Brown. The decision was made to advertise - “That notices be made as follows:- All bowlers and those interested are invited to attend a meeting in the Pavilion on Jan 3rd 1953.

At the January meeting a committee was set up, and the Manly Bowling Club came into being. The annual membership fees were set at £3.10.0 per annum, and casual players 2s/6d per game of 21 ends.

In October 1953 the first A.G.M. was held at which it was decided that women bowlers were welcome on payment of a green fee each time.

It would be another 6 years before the Manly Womens Bowling Club would be set up to operate at the same venue.

In 1955 the Club started the procedure to become an Incorporated Society, and also affiliation with Bowls NZ.

Where the Veterans Tennis Club now stands was originally an 8 rink rubber surface green, with a further 4 rinks being added later. These 'greens' required resurfacing every 2 years, and the volunteers who did this job were called the 'Minstrel Boys' as they were covered in black dust by the end of the work.

By the mid 1970's the Club was growing at a fast rate, and it was realised a new clubhouse was required.

At this time it was also realised that the relationship with the Ratepayers Association no longer met the Club's needs, and when some Club members were elected to the Association they persuaded the full Association to agree to gift the Club grounds to the local Council.

The land that is now 'C' Green was part of Manly Park with a storm water drain running through it. The Club applied to the Council to have the drain re-directed and the land added to the Club grounds. This was granted and the third Green was formed, although has caused a few problems as the old drain was filled with fill from the Plaza development and has been hard to keep level over the years.

By 1978 is was decided we needed a new Pavilion and more car parking. This resulted in the link road from Manly Park to Brixton Road being closed to provide part of the base for the Pavilion and the rest for parking. With Council permission and a loan from ASB the
work was started.

Two contractors were used to complete the footings, concrete floor and steel framing. The rest of the work was done by Club volunteers to minimise costs.

Soon after the footings were done the area was hit by a big storm flooding the rubber surface greens and washing stones under the surface making them unusable. The benefit of Council ownership came to the fore. Within a week they had arranged for the 2 greens to be re-sealed and levelled the car park. The Pavilion was ready for opening day of the 1980 season.

The old tennis courts were lifted and an artificial (astroturf) green was laid in front of
the new Pavilion.

Over the next few years, both 'A' and 'C' Green were laid as astroturf - due to the expense of maintaining 3 natural greens. These have both since had new bases prepared and re-laid with carpet, by Tiger Turf. They are now considered to be among the best in the
North Harbour region.

In 1997 the Men's Club and the Women's Club amalgamated and has operated as a combined Club ever since.

We are extremely grateful for the wonderful work of volunteers and fund raisers in the past who have provided a great bowls facility for us all to enjoy.

In 2020, Covid19 struck and was quickly deemed to be a pandemic. Due to government actions, lockdowns were enforced meaning no income, no play and no maintenance.

The club was lucky to receive a $16,000 donation from member Phil Searle and along with government subsidies the clubs continuity these most difficult of times was assured. The odd time too it appears (unsubstantiated of course), some of our long term volunteers like Syd Hayman may have snuck down to keep the greens in good order.

The AGM of 2022 saw a change of direction after a discussion around the future of the club. It was recognised Manly Bowling Club was a jewel in the peninsula’s crown and current members needed to position the club for the future otherwise it would be a death knell and we’d see a 14 story apartment building in place of our cherished greens.  

Identifying the lack of community facilities, already having a strong base to work from and having been given the mandate by its members, the new Board elected in 2022 was charged with taking the club into the 21st Century.

“The Coast’s Best Kept Secret” tag line was introduced and used in marketing.

Different presentations to sponsors, installation of air-conditioning, the formation of a darts club, adding music to non-competition events, a big TV screen, passionate members volunteering amongst other initiatives saw the turnaround of a floundering club.   

The main earner, Business House returned in 2023 with the 2024 season fielding a record 46 teams of 4.

Values were introduced, a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), Roles and responsibilities, a formal structure…

We’re getting ready to take on a projected $10 Million project in rebuilding the clubhouse and covering of one green!