The Darebin City Bowls Club is the result of an amalgamation between two clubs from the city of Darebin: the Northcote Bowling Club, started in 1906, and the Faircote Bowling Club, which began its life in 1966.
By the late 1990s both Northcote and Faircote were facing the problems of an ageing membership, small numbers of new members, and declining facilities that neither club had the finances to improve. Northcote had struggled through an unsuccessful merger with the Collingwood Football Club in the mid 1990s. By 1999 the club had extricated itself from Collingwood’s control but at the cost of one of its two bowling greens. With one green the club was struggling to survive.
Faircote’s club facilities were, by the time of the merger, over 30 years old and the club did not have the luxury of owning the land on which it was situated. Its location, in John Cain Memorial Park, would prove to be a strategic advantage when the two clubs decided to amalgamate.
Melbourne’s successful bid for the 2006 Commonwealth Games prompted various councils to enter a tender for the right to host the Lawn Bowls event. The City of Darebin was successful, which led to the construction of the Darebin International Sports Centre, incorporating the State Lawn Bowls Centre. This state of the art complex was constructed at a cost of approximately 19 million dollars. Darebin City Bowls Club contributed 1 million dollars to the construction, raised through the sale of the Northcote Bowling Club land in Pearl St. The venue played host to an extremely successful tournament for Australia at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Darebin City Bowls Club now boasts the state’s premier bowls centre as its home. The merger of Northcote and Faircote has not been without difficulty, but ultimately it has been a positive for both clubs. Success has recently come on the green for Darebin City, having been runner up to Bundoora in the Metropolitan Pennant Premier Division in 2004/2005, after struggling to avoid relegation the previous season.