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The Kalamunda Club History

historical perth lawn bowls club

Founded in 1952 the Kalamunda Club has a rich history and very unique story.

With the hotel not open on Sundays, some Kalamunda residents had been meeting regularly over several months on Sunday mornings behind a local garage for what was called “five-bob-in” get-togethers. As many as 50 persons attended and sometimes that included the hotel manager. From these gatherings came the idea and the Kalamunda Club was formed as the result of a public meeting on 20th August 1952. This was chaired by Len Bennett and attended by 27 residents. Mr G H Johnston was elected President but he resigned with regret at the first committee meeting held five days later when “Boss” Kostera was elected.

100 members were required and there were 129 men and 44 ladies who became foundation members. Of those, Gladys Humfrey still lives in Kalamunda and is still a member interested in activities at the club. The initial membership fees were $2.10 for ladies and $4.20 for the men.

Until clubrooms became available it was decided to hold all meetings in the Lesser Hall and minutes record fortnightly meetings for many years. The first committee meeting resolved to approach the Kalamunda Roads Board (now the Shire) to seek lease of a portion of the Dairy Block. The approach was supported by a master plan which included provisions for bowls and croquet. Negotiations resulted in the Club obtaining the lease of an old weatherboard cottage in what was known then as the “Dairy Block” and now Stirk Park. This was next to Stirk Cottage, which is the oldest house in Kalamunda, and the lease had sufficient land for a bowling green. The lease obtained for an annual rental of $208 but this was to be waived if the Club spent a similar amount on beautifying the Club surroundings. One of the matters discussed by the Committee was the need to close the old entrance to keep our straying stock!

The Kostera family were the driving force for the Club formation and this was fitting as the name of Kostera was almost synonymous with Kalamunda through the bus service they operated. In effect, Kazmiz (Charlie or Boss) Kostera was the initial President and his son Jack was the first secretary. “Boss” Kostera served as President for five years before handing over to Hedley Jorgenson and when he retired after 12 years, Jack Kostera changed from Secretary to President. Meantime Jack’s wife Reta was very very prominent in organising the ladies bowls section, helping and encouraging newer bowlers. She remained an active and caring but somewhat dominant contributor for 27 years. Both Jack and Reta were made life members of the Club, Jack was awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to the community and fittingly, the lounge at the north end of the clubhouse was name after the family. Jack and Reta’s son John also became a bowler at Kalamunda Club and in younger days remembers being employed at 50c/day to weed the original green.

Long serving by members of the Kostera family, and others of early club days created a trend, and the records show a tendency of club officers to serve for five or more years.

Having obtained the clubhouse lease, there was the need to renovate it to suit club purposes and this was done largely by volunteer labour with tradesmen such as Wally Martin, Bill Brackenridge and others making major contributions. Two poker machines installed in June 1955 were the main financial contributors providing $13, 000 before they were banned by court order. Local business people were not happy with the availability of these in the club as some wage earners were feeding these machines before paying for food for their families. The machines were housed in a long room at the back of the club sitting on top of cupboards and were so popular that at some time there was a time restriction of 15 minutes per player!

Initially the club did not hold a liquor license but functions were still held with a keg under the counter and many happy hours were spent in the four rooms and verandah. After the initial alterations were completed the club successfully applied for a license and “authorised” trading commenced on Easter Thursday in April 1954. Beer priced were 11c for a middy and 50c for a jug!