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Tuesday, 15 October 2002
Page: 7577

Mr JOHNSON (10:44 PM) —Local sporting clubs provide a vital service to every local community in our nation. They provide a much needed recreational alternative and often survive on the back of many dedicated volunteers. Tonight it is my great privilege to speak in the federal parliament on one such community club in the electorate of Ryan, the St Lucia Bowling Club. The St Lucia Bowling Club is one of many clubs in my community that provide a service to the people of Ryan, such as the Taringa Soccer Club, the Kenmore Bears Rugby Club and the Toowong Cricket Club. I speak in particular of the St Lucia Bowling Club because I had the great pleasure of visiting the club recently to present them with an Australian flag, which they were very thrilled and indeed very honoured to receive to fly on their premises.

The St Lucia Bowling Club is a very valuable asset in my electorate. It is an organisation that provides great pleasure to many of the people in Ryan, the elderly in particular, but it is also an historically important landmark in the area's local landscape. The St Lucia Bowling Club was formed in 1947 and is the third largest bowling club in Brisbane, with some 152 members. The ladies bowling club was formed later, in 1950, and has a membership of around 50. St Lucia is one of the traditional clubs, where bowling and social fraternisation are the priorities. It is interesting to note that, when gambling machines became legal in Queensland, the St Lucia Bowling Club was in fact one of the clubs that declined to take up gambling machines as a source of revenue. Rather, it decided to stick to the objectives in its original charter to provide pleasure, exercise and social activity at a low cost to its members.

The club is also very successful in competition. This year it fielded four sides in the Brisbane District Pennant Competition, committing 48 places to competitive place for 10 Saturdays. The seniors side plays in the top division of pennants and has been at that level for over three decades. The club is active in both the Royal Queensland Bowls Association and the Brisbane District Bowls Association, having also provided presidents for each. The club has won the District Achievers Award twice in the last 10 years. On the greens, the club has won the RQBA Metropolitan First Division twice, and it has won the Westbowl Trophy on seven occasions.

This bowling club in the electorate of Ryan is an organisation with which I am very proud to be associated. The president is Professor Ross Humphreys, who was recently elected. He does a wonderful job for the club. He is only new to the game of bowls and yet, within a short period of time, he has taken up the stewardship of the club and is providing terrific leadership for its members. I also want to compliment Mr Jack Rowell, who is a very active member of the St Lucia Bowling Club. Jack in particular is one member who has continued the tradition of maintaining old-fashioned courtesies, good manners and good sportsmanship at the club. It is a model from which many members of this parliament could learn a lesson or two.

I had the opportunity, as I said, to visit the club recently to present an Australian flag. I also had the opportunity of taking up their kind offer to use their facilities to host my Ryan members business advisory committee, and the hospitality and warmth that the club members showed to the members of the committee and to me was very welcome and very much appreciated. So I take this opportunity in the federal parliament to acknowledge the wonderful people of the St Lucia Bowling Club who contribute in their own way to our community and to the spirit in the electorate of Ryan.

I think it is important that members of this parliament acknowledge the clubs and community organisations in their electorates, because these organisations provide the spirit that makes our country great. I take this opportunity to wish the club the very best in its upcoming competitions and to say to them very clearly that they can count on my continued support. I will certainly do all that I can to promote their activities throughout the electorate of Ryan. Again, I congratulate Professor Ross Humphreys on recently assuming the presidency of the St Lucia Bowling Club and I wish him and his new committee well in all the endeavours that lie ahead of them.