The first lawn bowling green to be established in Brighton was the privately owned green on the premises of Crail Brae, the home of John A. Bagshaw, the president of J.S. Bagshaw & Sons Agricultural Machinery, in Wattle Avenue, Brighton. The house has since been demolished.
Along with his friends William Silver, Mayor Grundy and Dr. Torr, they considered forming a bowling club in Brighton.
On 11th March 1919 a meeting of gentlemen interested in the formation of a bowling club at Brighton, was held at the Town Hall on Brighton Road. The Club was formed with Dr. Torr as President, F.A. Arbon as Secretary and A. Giles as Treasurer. Land for 6 rinks was purchased for £306 in Keelara Street, Brighton from the Chinner estate and for a Clubhouse to be built.
There were 25 foundation members of the Club.
Following completion of the greens, the official opening and the first game of bowls was held in March 1920. The Club then decided to join the S.A. Bowling Association, but not to take part in Pennant matches at this stage.
A Clubhouse was erected in 1920/1921 and electric lights installed on the green. The membership increased to 40.
The Developing Years 1919 – 1938
The Club continued to grow in the inter-war years and during the Great Depression.In 1923 Dr. Goode kindly provided a Right of Way from Jetty Road to the Green. Additional land was obtained in 1929 and another green of 6 rinks was laid out.
The Inclusion of Women
These are part of the minutes of a Special Meeting held in the Clubhouse on Tuesday 11th June 1935:
Business – To consider the question of admitting women bowlers into the Club. The President read a letter from the Brighton ladies soliciting the co-operation of members of the Brighton Bowling Club in an endeavour to form a lady’s section, to be run on lines similar to those operating in other bowling clubs or as an alternative the rental of three rinks.
Proposition – “Mr. Adams proposed that we admit ladies as associate members for one year only at first, subject to conditions laid down by committee’, seconded by Mr. Ewart. Major Hutton strongly opposed admitting lady players under any circumstances, and after members had given their views on the matter Mr. A. Silver moved the following amendment”.
Amendment – That we rent the three most easterly rinks to the ladies for one year only at a rate and conditions to be fixed by the committee. The amendment became the proposition and was carried, 32 members voting for and 5 against.
In 1965 the Keelara Women’s Bowling Club was formed by some of the women from the Brighton Women’s Bowling Club, using the Greens at Keelara Street of the Brighton (men’s) Bowling Club.
In 1967 there was a change of name. The Keelara Women’s Bowling Club was constitutionally changed to the Brighton Bowling Club – Women’s Section, but for the purpose of Pennant play it was registered with the S.A.W.B.A. as Central Brighton Women’s Bowling Club. This was supposedly done because the governing body in the South Australian bowling fraternity did not want the name of a road (Keelara Street) used as a name for a bowling club.
After another women’s bowling club (the Brighton Women’s Bowling Club at Stopford Road, Brighton) closed, the Central Brighton Women’s Bowling Club was able to take on the name of the Brighton Bowling Club, and continues to this day.
Prior to the co-location with the Brighton RSL Sub-branch in 2008, several ladies joined the Brighton Bowling Club from the Brighton RSL Sub-branch Bowling Club.