All the history up to 1993 was taken from the Carlton Bowling Club Centennial book published in the same year. The Newmarket Bowling and Tennis Club and greens were formed on a portion of the land leased from the Government in the Railway Reserve at the intersection of the Auckland and Kaipara lines in Newmarket.
Although information is sketchy, the Club appears to have prospered for several years and then experienced a decline when some members moved to the Auckland Bowling Club around 1889.
Carlton’s immediate forebear, The Newmarket Bowling Club, came into being in 1893, largely out of frustration with the shortcomings of the old facilities. Several members of the earlier Club decided to set up a new and much larger bowling facility in the district, and obtained the lease to a portion of borough reserve opposite the old bowling and tennis club.
Four rinks were laid down and the complex was ready for play within the year.
The first president was Mr George Kent, Mayor of Newmarket. The club progressed for a number of years and the Parnell Bowling Club, which had been based in the former bowling and tennis grounds, across the road, sought to amalgamate with Newmarket.
The offer included Parnell’s greens and proved irresistible. The Newmarket club decides to convert its former rinks into a winter green and to use the old Parnell green for summer play. Within a few months New Zealand’s first winter green came into play.
The name is changed to Carlton Bowling Club. Records indicate that there were two reasons for the change, the first being that the name “Newmarket” was restrictive and limited membership to a relatively small area. Members believed that changing the name to “Carlton” would encourage members from outside the Newmarket district to join.
The second reason was that members had long enjoyed socialising at the popular Carlton tavern in Newmarket – named after the prestigious gentlemen’s club in London. “Carlton” was therefore a popular choice, which reflected both something of members English heritage and their great affection for the old Newmarket watering hole. The Railway department gave notice of its intention to reclaim the Newmarket Reserve for railway purposes, and the Club was forced to find an alternative property.
Within 3 months a suitable property had been found. Known locally as “Osbornes”, the rough and rocky, one and a half acre property in Epsom, lay facing northward in Fairfax Road, just off Manukau Road. Fairfax Road later became Alpers Avenue. The committee considered the asking price of NZ pounds 1,050, (NZ$2,100) well beyond the Club’s means. Messrs Kilgour, Gaudin, and Laurie took the matter into their own hands by placing a deposit on the property themselves, “in the hope that a majority of Club members would endorse their action.” By a very narrow majority the recommendation to purchase was accepted.
Bowling News 1912 in eloquently wrote about the acquisition:
“A piece of land has been secured on an eminence close to Manukau Road, Newmarket, which contains all the essential elements for the making of a good green. From the site, glorious land and water panoramic views are obtained. Away to the north and northeast, the islands of the Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf stand like emeralds in a setting of a flashing sea of sapphires. To the east and northeast, theexclusive suburb of Remuera shows out distinctly, the red roofs of white houses showing in pleasant relief to the general background of green foliage.
The new green is a truly charming spot, where prospect pleases and even man is not vile. It is fortunate that such a favourable site is available in the neighbourhood of the old green.
In true Carlton spirit, the club had turned adversity into opportunity, and with determination and hard labour would transform that rocky site into an exceptionally good bowling green.“
The Club name is changed to “The Carlton Bowling, Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club Inc. Croquet had always fitted in remarkably well with bowling activities and a very compatible and long standing association was re-established between the two.
The relationship continued until 1917 when the Croquet Club moved to its own property in Epsom, where it is still located. With the Carlton Clubs recent move to Cornwall Park there are now three clubs all bearing the Carlton name located in the same vicinity. These are Carlton Cornwall Bowls, The Carlton Croquet Club and Grammar Carlton Rugby Club. J.S. Kilgour wins the Clubs first Dominion title and was the Dominions First Singles Champion.
Jack Kilgour was Greens Superintendent at Carlton for 28 years and was responsible for establishing the Carlton greens at Alpers Ave. Construction of the two storey pavilion with an upstairs veranda was completed at acost of NZ pounds 1,000. ($NZ2,000). Although the building was finished in time for the opening of the season it was little more than a shell. It would be a number of years before the building was completed. The Club name is changed to The Carlton bowling Club Inc. The greenkeepers cottage is built. The building was extended in 1944. The original cost, in today’s terms was about $2.00 per square foot. Carlton is safely ensconced in its new property, and its greens, hospitality and playing prowess were renowned throughout New Zealand. A special year for Carlton as the club is selected as Headquarters for the Dominions, under the patronage and presence of His Excellency the Governor General Lord Jelicoe. President of the Dominion Association at the time was Mr William Coltman, an esteemed, generous and proud Carlton bowler.
The season was also memorable for another reason – the decision to purchase the Clubs first motorised lawn cutter.
An illuminating event lifted evening shadows from the Pavilion and greens when electric lights were installed at a cost of five guineas. Members were delighted.Visiting teams from Britain and Australia came to New Zealand and played at Carlton, the only test match played in Auckland.
In the 1926-27 season Mr W. Coltman delighted the membership by presenting an attractive silver cup for the Singles Championship. This beautiful trophy is still the Clubs most prestigious prize and there are now 80 names engraved upon it.
In recent years (1993) there has been considerable pressure to discard the black and gold garment in favour of the Auckland Centre blue blazer.
Conscious of the esteem and standards of excellence associated with the distinctive garment, the membership has voted to resist the change.1929 was memorable for Carlton when Mr A.R. Coltman repeated the 1914 performance of J.S. Kilgour by winning the Dominion Singles.
1930 – With the opening of the No 4 green Carlton’s facilities became the largest of any bowling club in Australasia. Another prestigious win followed at the Dominions in 1930 when G.L. Gladding and H. Jenkins (skip) took out the Pairs in Dunedin.
Carlton’s classical black and gold blazer was introduced in 1930 when every member was urged to “study the interests of his club by appearing in uniform.’
Carlton players tell us the “bumble bee” blazer stands out like no other on the banks as a symbol of confidence, support and strength, and has often been the inspiration that has turned a match in their favour.
In recent years (1993) there has been considerable pressure to discard the black and gold garment in favour of the Auckland Centre blue blazer.
Conscious of the esteem and standards of excellence associated with the distinctive garment, the membership has voted to resist the change.In 1938 William (Bill) Whittaker became Carlton’s first international Gold Medal winner, playing lead in the New Zealand full rink team in Australia, at the Empire Games. A rapturous welcome awaited him on his return to the Club. Bill was later President in 1950 and Club Champion in 1951.
1940\’s – Opening Day October 5th 1940 remains of special significance to Carlton. On that occasion the much coveted “Mac” Elliot trophy was first presented. The trophy is a replica of the bowl Mack used and unlike other trophies, the “Mac” Elliot always remains at Carlton rather than the Club of the winning team.
In New Zealand’s Centennial year 1940 Geo Deare emulated the earlier successes by winning the New Zealand Championship Singles.
1943 – Carlton converted one of its greens to Mercury Bay weed in the 1943 season and the experiment was watched with great interest. The change proved to be successful and set a trend for the Auckland region.
Automation reached the greens when a motor was installed in the lawnmower, and‘electric wires extended to new plugs’ with poles being erected to supply the necessary current
1945 – Carlton hosted the Dominion championships in 1945 and many of its prominent bowlers were actively involved in administration of the event.
1956 – On October 1st 1956 Carlton introduced Sunday bowls. Play was restricted to the afternoon and a great time was had by the 38 bowlers who participated. The new venture, born in controversy, was soon well integrated into the Clubs activities and by 1958 had been extended to include the mornings.
Later that year the Club gained Centre permission to hold Open Sunday tournaments during the season.
1957 – Carlton was again Headquarters for the Dominions in 1957, and a large contingent of members entered events.
1958 – Carlton had good cause to celebrate at the 1958 Dominion in Christchurch when T.T. Skoglund skipped L. Donaldson, Arthur Connew and W.H. Woods to victory in the Fours.
Arthur Connew’s fine career and great skill was appropriately recognised with his selection in the New Zealand Empire Games Bowling team.
1960 – The club reached a pinnacle in 1960 taking two Dominion titles. Bill O’Neill’s team of Jim Scott, Norm Lash and Jim Coltman won the Fours and T.T. Skoglund and Ev Taylor the Pairs.Carlton had never done so well at the Dominions, and the victors returned home to a hero’s welcome.
1966 – At the World Bowling Championships in 1966 the inimitable Norm Lash and Bill O’Neill played brilliantly to win Gold Medals in the Fours.
1968 – Mattie Connew took the young team of Jim Morrin, Dick and Bob Park to Dunedin in 1968 to play in the Dominion Fours. No-one expected them to gain honours, but the team was young and keen, and the skipper patient. They won.
1978 – John Malcolm, Club Singles Champion in 1973 brought Carlton to the forefront of Dominion championships again when he won the 1978 Singles in Christchurch.John is Auckland Bowler of the Year in 1978. During 1978 he was invited to attend the 75th Annual English Bowling anniversary, and as a member of the 1979 World Bowling Championships won Bronze in the Fours and Triples. In 1979 John was selected to play in the New Zealand test team against Australia.
1981 -The Carlton Women’s Bowling Club was formed under the Presidency of Mrs L. Donaldson and Secretaryship of Mrs Thelma Sandstad.
1984 – In 1984 Ivan Marsic gained his first National title and set his competitive career on course playing at 3 in Nick Unkovich’s winning composite Fours at the Dominions.By 2007 Ivan had been a member at Carlton for about 35 years and had about the same number of Club championship titles.
1987 – Jean Ryan of the women’s club is Auckland Bowler of the year.
1989 – Carlton Women’s first International honours came home with Marlene Castle when, as a member of the New Zealand Pacific Games team in Fiji, she won Gold playing as lead in the Fours, and took silver in the Triples.The 1990 Commonwealth Games saw Marlene collect another Silver as lead in the Fours, and her silver streak continued with a medal in the Fours at the 1991 Pacific Games in Hong Kong. Selection in the 1992 World Games team brought a trip for Marlene to Scotland, where conditions were very different from New Zealand’s
1990 – Gary Lawson is selected to represent New Zealand in a test against the British Isles.
1991 – At the 1991 Nationals in Wellington, Petar Sain stormed through the opposition by playing magnificently to win the Singles, etching Carlton’s name once again on the Honours Board for this prestigious title.
1992 -The 1992 Nationals in Dunedin proved to be the venue for another Marsic triumph when brothers Ivan and Wally as members of Nick Grigicevich’s composite team won the Fours. Ivan Marsic is Auckland Bowler of the year.
1993 – In the Club’s Centennial Year Carlton players went in force to the Waikato for the 1993 Nationals. Carton’s name was prominent throughout the tournament with the Club winning two National titles. After a mighty battle, Ivan Kostanich, at 72 years of age, joined an elite band of New Zealand class bowlers when he won the National Singles for the second time.
Gary Lawson skipped his composite team to victory in a tense final.
Marlene Castle is Auckland Bowler of the Year.
1994 -Carlton is selected as the venue for the test match against Australia. This was the last time Carlton’s historic Alpers Ave greens and facilities would host a major tournament. The old club must have known something was up as the Australian flag was stuck at the top of the flagpole for several days and a major operation was required to retrieve it.
More success for Carlton at the Nationals and double titles for Gary Lawson.
Gary won the singles and successfully skipped a composite team in the fours.
1996- This year it’s Nino Vlahovic’s turn to win the National singles title with a great victory at Howick.
1997 – The men and women’s Clubs amalgamate.
Mrs June Hogg is the first women President of Carlton Bowling Club.
The Carlton men’s team of Petar Sain (skip), Nick Krajancic, Ivan Zonich and Alf Dickens travel to Christchurch for the Nationals and are successful in the Fours.
2000 -Petar Sain wins his third National title and second singles title with a win in the National singles.
2001 – The Alpers Avenue property is sold to a property developer and the club begins an extensive search for a new home.
2003 – After 91 years at the historic Alpers Avenue site the Carlton Club moves to temporary accommodation at Rawhiti Bowling Club, in Rangitoto Road, Remuera.Petar Sain and Wally Marsic are in outstanding form this season and are unbeatable as a pair’s combination. They win the National Pairs in Wellington and both the Centre and Champ of Champ titles.They were jointly awarded the Auckland Bowler of the Year title.
2006 – Carlton Bowling Club and Cornwall Park Bowls unanimously agree to amalgamate and redevelop the magnificent Cornwall Park site.
2007 -The club moves to Cornwall Park and starts rebuilding. Members worked hard and the old clubhouse was sparkling on opening day.
On 4 November an arsonist sets alight to the old building and the men’s pavilion is totally destroyed. All the history and memorabilia of Cornwall Park Bowls is lost. The debris was cleared from the site within 5 days and a temporary clubhouse erected on “C” green within a fortnight.Play on the greens commenced after 10 days although part of “B” green was badly burnt and unfit for play. The old building was of some historical significance. The central section, containing the men’s locker room and Secretaries office and constructed in double cavity brick, was built in the early part of the 20th century as the original toilet block on Cornwall Park. The bar and lounge were constructed in the 1930’s as an ice cream parlour. The pavilions were built by Mr George Eastel with the willing voluntary assistance of Club members. The men’s pavilion was completed in 1958 and the women’s pavilion in 1964.
The heart rimu timber, salvaged from the floor joists and bearers during the demolition of the Ladies Pavilion, were used to make very special and unique furniture that will be feature in the new clubhouse. The colour and grain in this mature and extremely hard timber is truly amazing. This spectacular furniture built in honour of the Cornwall Park Bowling Clubs will be known as the Cornwall Park Collection.
“We’re all bowled over” at Carlton’s success at the Nationals this year with a double victory to Jo Babich and Bev Crowe. After a dominating win in the National Pairs they went on to win the National Fours in a composite team.
Jo Babich wins the Auckland Bowler of the Year title.
There was outstanding success on the greens in our first year at Cornwall Park with two National titles, four Centre titles, Auckland Bowler of the Year and victory in the Men’s Premier Interclub.
2008 – The name of the Club is changed to Carlton Cornwall Bowls Inc in recognition of the amalgamation, the new location at Cornwall Park and the members desire to retain a direct link with Carlton’s history.