Legends of SA Lawn Bowls

“From Dorothy Wheeler and beyond”

“A snapshot of some of those who have influenced the Women’s side of bowls in SA”

For a long time whilst writing Saturday pennants match reports for Messenger Community News I was also involved with Bowls SA preparing and submitting articles to go into the SA Bowler magazine. It rapidly became two or three subjects on individual bowlers along with clubs and facilities in general for each edition over the season. I have many of these in my files but one in particular will always remain important to me.

Sitting on the wall above my writing desk is a framed copy of an article I wrote on the first 11 inductees into the Bowls SA Hall of Fame. Prior to writing this I was told that it be an historical document and believe me when I say that that comment focused my mind. It is there to remind me that regardless of what I could ever offer our bowling community others would always have done more. The following is what I wrote verbatim:

“When one has been involved in a sporting pursuit over an extended period either as a player or administrator there can be no better accolade than be inducted into the Hall of Fame. On May 21 at the 2010-11 Awards Night Bowls SA General Manager Ben Scales announced the names of the inaugural 11 inductees to receive such an honour in South Australian bowls. Few would challenge the selection of those chosen from bowlers and administrators after over a century of participation in our great sport, whose exploits on the greens at State, National and International level take on legendary status. The following is a brief account of the achievements some of the first 11 inductees.

Bowls administrator Dorothy Wheeler was born on February 17 1898 two years prior to Federation and four years after South Australian women were granted the right to vote in 1894. Regardless of such a rich history and the participation of women in the important affairs of or State it is still remarkable that at the tender age of 24, in 1922 Dorothy was responsible for the formation and growth of the Women’s bowling section at Kensington Gardens. In 1930 she was a driving force in the founding of the South Australian Women’s Bowling Association and she became the first Secretary of SAWBA which would later merge with the RSABA to form Bowls SA. As part of the States Centenary celebrations in 1936 Dorothy organised the first Australian Women’s Bowling Carnival during which she moved for the formation of the Australian Women’s Bowling Council and this Council would later merge with National Body to form Bowls Australia. After 16 years as Secretary she was made a Life Member and went on to be elected Vice President. Dorothy passed away on February 17 1965 at the age of 67.

As a bowler Betty Greenslade (Schenke) has few equals and her contribution to the administration within our sport at club and Association level is well known throughout our State. At Walkerville Bowling Club she was successful at all disciplines and has won the State Singles, Pairs and Fours along with multiple titles in the Master’s Pairs and Metropolitan Pairs. In season 1984-85 she played in the inaugural Australian Games and represented South Australia on over 130 occasions.  Betty was selected in the Australian team for the 1987 Pan Pacific games played in Lei New Guinea and winning a Silver medal in the Triples. At the 1989 Pan Pacific Games in Suva she won a Silver medal in the Fours and a Bronze medal in the Pairs. In 1986 she was selected in the Australian side to compete at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games where she was a member of the Silver medal winning Fours team playing alongside fellow SA inductee Audrie Hefford, Clarice Power (Vic) and Pat Smith (Qld). The four made history competing for the first time on an equal basis as the men at that level. Her International career concluded with selection for the 1999 Trans-Tasman series.

Audrey Hefford hails from the small township of Cobdogla in the State’s Riverland and it is a tribute to this unassuming lady that along with her stellar career in bowls she has been recognised within her community as a Riverland Citizen of the year, State Country Sports Person of the year, South Australian Sports Woman of the year and also received the Australian Sports Medal. On the greens she has represented our State on over 200 occasions. She has won the State Singles, Triples and Fours along with the State Champion of Champions Singles on six occasions. A Singles bowler of rare talent Audrey won the Masters Singles in years 1973, 1974, 1982, 1989 and 1990.She was a member of the Australian side on five occasions including the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games where she won a Silver medal, the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, The Asia Pacific Games in Fiji winning a Gold in the Triples and a Bronze in the Singles, and the Melbourne Games where she picked up gold Medals in the Pairs and Fours. Her family continues to build on her success with daughter Kerry Treloar, Son-in law Dennis and grandson Craig all winning State titles.  

John Bevin

18th November 2020