The oldest bowling green in the Southern Hemisphere.
Lying down the valley from one of the city’s original water supply springs in what is now the Domain, the area was originally a swamp. Early in the city’s history this spare area was converted to a bowling green. Laid in 1861, the greens are believed to be the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere. This process of converting swamp to bowling green required transporting in enormous quantities of stone to lay the foundations, making the green a very expensive undertaking – 1700 pounds by the time the initial setting up was completed in 1862.
The grounds were originally part of the Domain. The land was initially held by the Club on a warrant from the Colonial Secretary, but was purchased from the Crown in 1885 for 800 pounds. It was held in trust for the members until 1897, when the Club was registered under the Unclassified Societies Registration Act 1895.
When it was first formed the green was only large enough for 5 rinks, but this was expanded considerably – with croquet and tennis courts once making up the club’s range of lawn sports.The development of Auckland’s transport system has seen the area under club control diminished over the years and today two greens and a club house make up the facilities.
Membership waxed and waned with the city’s development. Initially an important sporting centre, the development of suburban bowling clubs challenged the pre-eminent position of the ABC.
In recent years there has been a real resurgence in interest and today the club offers its members and visitors two world class greens in a boutique bowling club setting. The club celebrated its 150th year in 2011 and with growing membership, the club is looking forward to a bright future.
Over 7,000 people play on the two greens every year and enjoy the club’s facilities.
The Auckland Bowling Club is one of Auckland’s sporting icons that is still meeting the recreation needs of members from all corners of our beautiful city.