The young and the ‘young at heart’ get bowled over by Invictus Australia’s gatherings on the green!
Once considered a game for ‘oldies’, lawn bowls is making a comeback as a fast-paced, fun and competitive sport everyone can enjoy
The sport of bowls has been played for thousands of years and has grown into a popular community sport in Australia and around the world. Although bowls is suitable for people of all ages and skill levels, it is often seen as a sport for retirees. But, did you know the average age of the Australian Men’s and Women’s Bowls teams is early 30s?
Last year Invictus Australia partnered with Bowls Australia to launch Veteran and Families Bowls events in regional NSW. The popularity of these free events was immediately evident with many reaching full capacity. As a result, we have now taken these events national!
“Bowls is a really great sport for all ages and abilities, with regular competitions and social connections, on and off the green, and a perfect vehicle to help build physical and mental health among veterans and their wider families.” - Invictus Australia’s Veteran Engagement Specialist, Rachel Kerrigan.
first stop – regional nsw with invictus australia
The ultimate goal of our partnership with Bowls Australia is to encourage veterans and their families to connect with the community whilst promoting the physical and mental health benefits associated with the sport of bowls.
To kick off our partnership, we co-hosted five free community events in regional NSW. These events boasted bowls, locally sourced food and beverages, family fun and spirited competition within the local Defence community. For many, it was the first experience on the green.
Proving to be a hit, many veterans and their family members went on to join their local bowling clubs to become more involved in the sport. In turn, these clubs have even gone on to host more social days for the Defence community. It’s been an overwhelming success!
next stop – australia-wide
After witnessing the success of the regional NSW campaign, we took the events to other states and territories and expanded our reach across further Defence communities.
Our first free interstate event was recently held in Marion, South Australia. As with past events, it was incredibly well received by local veterans and their families. There are now 18 additional events planned across Australia.
South Australia’s Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing, the Hon Corey Wingard MP is proud to work with Invictus Australia on Defence community initiatives such as these.
“It’s great to see this collaboration between Invictus Australia, Bowls Australia and local clubs all working together to promote opportunities for the Defence Community. We want to work further with Invictus Australia to help the Defence Community get into sport and promote healthy and active lifestyles. Working together with the office or sport and recreation we can support and create many sporting opportunities.” said Minister Wingard.
Australian Navy veteran, Anthony Moffat, finds purpose by reigniting his passion for bowls.
“I joined the Navy at 18 and completed 19 years’ service. When I left the Navy after being medically terminated, I felt lost, added to that both my parents had recently died, so it was a pretty bad time.
I returned to Adelaide, and I had played bowls between the age of 9-12 but hadn’t played for 25 years. I decided to have a game and after 3 weeks I was hooked. It gave me the sense of purpose I was looking for and the support of a great community.
I was winning a lot and getting more and more involved. I decided I needed a coach, but couldn’t find one, so joined a course and trained to become a coach myself. I really enjoy the teamwork that the game provides and have successfully coached a Div 1 girls team into the Premier League.
I have very meaningful connections with the club that I belong to and bowls helps me clear my head and have fun.
My 13-year-old daughter, my wife and my sister are now involved in the game and play at state level.
Bowls gives me great opportunities to travel, there are the benefits of keeping fit and most importantly it gives me a purpose.” – Anthony Moffat, Australian Navy veteran.
bowls is for all the family
Bowls in a fully inclusive sport at all levels of the game. Our Defence community events promote fun, fitness and connection whilst fostering sportsmanship and camaraderie in a safe and supportive environment. Veterans of all ages, along with their families are encouraged to give our free bowls events a try. Keep your eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for information on Bowls Events happening near you.
We are continually looking to partner with new organisations – If you are a part of an organisation that would like to get involved, please get in touch at email@example.com.
If you’re looking to give Bowls a go, keep an eye on the Invictus Australia Facebook page to find an event near you, or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.