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Lawn bowls makes crackerjack return in new retirement village development

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In a move that defies the trend away from traditional retiree pastimes, a retirement village operator is investing in a championship bowling green as part of a new $80 million development in Brisbane.

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RetireAustralia says the facility will be at the centre of its The Green development in suburban Tarragindi.

The company has gone into partnership with the Yeronga Services and Community Club to build the green and a new clubhouse, which will take 18 months to complete.

The investment comes as bowls clubs around Australia continue to do it tough thanks to falling membership and financial pressures, both of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Several clubs in Brisbane have had to close their doors in recent years, including the Tarragindi Bowls Club which will be resurrected by the development.

Formal registered memberships of bowls clubs have been declining on average by about three per cent a year for the past 30 years.

But a vigorous campaign by the sport’s peak body, Bowls Australia, to broaden its appeal beyond retirees and occasional “barefoot bowls” enthusiasts has succeeded in increasing overall participation.

Yeronga Services Club general manager Nathan Young said having the country’s newest bowling green at the heart of The Green development would be a big drawcard for future residents and the local community.

The new retirement village, which will feature more than 90 apartments over five storeys, survived a Planning and Environment Court challenge launched by local residents earlier this year.

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