Nambucca Heads Bowlers keeping history alive with the annual Royal Tar Shield

Some of the Nambucca Heads Bowlers who will compete over the four weeks of the Royal Tar Shield. (L-R) Mick Ellison, Billy Blair, Ian Polette, Owen Smith, Billy Coughlan, Tony Stokes and Ray Hunt.


YOU do not have to look hard to find the Nambucca Valley has a fascinating history and is directly linked to some enthralling historical events.

This week bowlers at the Nambucca Heads Bowling Club did their bit to remind us of some of this rich history when they began bowling in the annual Royal Tar Shield.

The shield is named after a ship, classed as a barque, that was built in the Nambucca River in 1876 by the celebrated ship builder John Campbell Stuart.

At the time the 600 ton Royal Tar was the largest vessel ever built in Australia.

The Royal Tar is best known as the ship chartered by William Lane and his nearly 240 members of the New Australia Party in the 1890s to carry them to Paraguay and set up a socialist settlement, a venture that failed after a few short years.

The Royal Tar had a tragic ending when it hit rocks and sank in New Zealand waters in 1901.

The Royal Tar Shield began at the Nambucca Heads Bowling Club in 1988 and is contested one afternoon a week over a one month period in January or February each year.

News Of The Area spoke to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nambucca Heads Bowling Club, Mr Tony Stokes, who said, “The purpose of playing the shield each year is to keep this piece of Nambucca Valley history alive.”

President of the Nambucca Heads Men’s Bowlers, Mr Ray Hunt said, “We are very happy with the number of bowlers that have shown up to bowl in the shield and they are likely to invite bowlers from elsewhere in the Nambucca Valley to participate in future years.”




Nambucca Heads bowler Tas Fribbins competing in the Royal Tar Shield

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