Women In Sport : Pre-Confederation Newfoundland
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The game is nearly as popular with the ladies as with the men and large numbers of them compete in games... it would not be a surprise if a regular ladies league was soon formed and it would create wide-spread interest.. - (J.V. Rabbitts clipping [original publication source unknown], 1934)

Bowling, also called skittles, was first played as an outdoor game. The first indoor bowling alley in St. John’s opened in 1885, on the east end of Duckworth Street. This building was destroyed as many others were in the Great Fire of 1892. Not until 1912, were several new alleys built in the city.

In 1922, the management of the King George V Seamen’s Institute endeavored to organize bowling into paying leagues. There were three initial leagues: Commercial, Bank, and Inter-Club, with a combined total of 31 teams. The recreational and social nature of bowling proved appealing to many in St. John’s and throughout the island.

In the 1940s, bowling became very popular through the efforts of John V. Rabbitts, a St. John’s sports advocate. Both men and women entered the many active leagues. By 1946, there were six alleys in operation, and all were busy with organized leagues. That same year, there were an equal number of major men’s and women’s active leagues.
The five women’s leagues were: Business Ladies’ Champions, Civil Servants, Victory, High Fliers, and Lucky Strike.
The first St. John’s Championship for women was organized by Rabbitts in 1945.


Lucky Strike Bowling League 1944

Back Row, left to right:
Mrs. Bugden, Mrs. Norman, Mrs. Connors, Mrs. Seymour, Mrs. Hibbs, Mrs. Mercer

Front Row, left to right:
Mrs. MacDonald, Mrs. Eddy, Mrs. Hudson, Mrs. Wylie, Mrs. Rockwood, Mrs. Cull

Newfoundland Individual Bowling Champions June 1945

Avalon Bowling League [1940-?]
Ruggles Commercial Photographic Studio


Ruth Guzzwell
Audio "St. Pat's Bowling Leagues"


Audio Newfoundland & Labrador 5 Pin Bowlers' Association