In The Beginning – 1958

For a long time it had been in the minds of several members of the sub branch of the RSL to form an RSL Bowling Club.

An approach was made to the Portland Town Council for land for such a purpose. The Council in turn, suggested an area of land within Flinders Park.

However, prior to this Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, owners of “Burswood” at the corner of Cape Nelson Road and Must Street, donated three acres of valuable land to the Portland Bowling Club as that club was looking to relocate from an area on which is now occupied by the Portland Police Station. Portland Bowling Club had the area bulldozed into two levels, basically as it is today.

The contract for the top green was let to Mr. A Taylor, and when the lower level was completed, this contract went to the Portland Harbour Trust on both occassions the plant operator was Mr. Robert Boyer.

The top level for a club house and bowling green and the lower level for a car park and a second green if and when it was required.

After spending one thousand two hundred and fifty pounds on earthworks, the Portland Bowling Club was reportedly running into financial trouble and so abandoned the project. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis reimbursed the Portland Bowling Club for money spent on the earthworks and this area then became the prefered site of the RSL sub branch for their bowling green.

The RSL then approached Mr. and Mrs. Lewis who offered the land to them for an amount of one thousand two hundred and fifty pounds. A sub committee was formed to investigate details and approximate cost for such an undertaking. At a further meeting the RSL committee unaminously decided to accept a generous offer by Digger Lewis and to make an early start on the project, which was no more than a clay pan at that time.

Mr. Lewis was born at Watchhem in the Wimmera and later moved with his parents to the Hamilton district. Mr. Lewis served as a driver in the 1st AIF in 39th Battalion, serving in France. He also donated land on which “Lewis Court” was established. The RSL would further develop the site not only for a bowling green but also as Memorial for men and women of World War Two and the Korean War. Seven or eight rinks were being planned for a start and others to be added later as circumstances permitted.

The green was envisaged to be a distinct asset to the town of Portland. Membership to be composed of ex-service men and women and there would be associate Members (men) approved by the controlling body.

The Portland sub-branch of the RSL set aside a sum of eight hundred pounds from the patriotic fund for the new bowling club. The advance was interest free and would be available for as long as it was required. It is proposed to start in a small way at first, and it was felt that the venture would meet with great success.

Formation Of The Bowling Club

For a long time it had been in the minds of several members of the sub branch of the RSL to form an RSL Bowling Club.

A general meeting of RSL sub-branch Members, in the RSL Club Rooms, was called for the purpose of forming a bowling club, on Friday January 31st, 1958. T. Duffy occupied the chair and the meeting was opened with two minutes silence in honour of fallen comrades “Lest We Forget”. Thomas / Reeves moved that a Bowling Club be formed and this motion was carried unaminously.

It was then moved by Thomas / Moffatt that the club be called Portland RSL Memorial Bowling Club. An amendment was then moved by N. Courtney / Petrie that the club be called Portland Ex-Servicemen’s Bowling Club. After lengthy discussion it was moved by Williams/Gray that the motion be put to the meeting. The motion was carried and the amendment was lost.

Our Food

Our lovely Bistro is open for both Lunch and Dinner, with seating options both indoor and out.

The Portland RSL Bistro is a warm and inviting space that’s inviting anytime of the year.

Come in and enjoy our delicious Bistro style menu, with favorites from Roast’s and Pasta’s, to the classic Parmi! With something to please the tastebuds of everyone in the family, our Bistro is known for it’s amazing food, great menu and personalised service.


The Portland RSL Bowling Club is situated on the corner of Cape Nelson Road and Must street in beautiful Portland.

We welcome all bowlers, both well-practiced or new to the sport, and offer beautifully kept facilities that you will love. Bowls is an activity that promises a lot of fun and enjoyment for any age, so drop in and have a chat to us about how you can join in!