John hands over Bush Carnival baton

John Harris. Photo by Gary Stubbs.

After 30 years at the helm, Beaudesert Bowls Club stalwart John Harris has retired as volunteer organiser of its Bush Carnival, the signature event that each year draws competitors from all across South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.  

John joined Beaudesert Bowls Club in 1979 and for 40 of the 44 years he has been a member he has acted in one volunteering position or another. 

However, there is little doubt that his untiring and enthusiastic efforts as Bush Carnival organiser will be for what he is best remembered.  

John might live in Gleneagle these days, but it is a little known fact that he was born in the UK town of Cheltenham, also home town to Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones. 

He migrated to Queensland when he was 21 and became a dairy adviser with the Department of Primary Industries. 

There have been many highlights in John’s association with bowls in Beaudesert and apart from organising the Bush Carnival he fondly recalls his involvement in producing two commemorative club publications when he was President – its Golden Jubilee Booklet in 1986 and Diamond Jubilee Booklet in 2011 – both celebrating the Club’s foundation in 1936. 

While this year’s Bush Carnival in April was the last organised by John, future events are still very much on his mind. 

“It’s a week-long carnival featuring men’s classic fours, men’s pairs, ladies’ triples and mixed pairs,” he said. 

“Such a great concept and it brings people together from all over the place, but sponsorship is a growing problem.” 

“We’ve had terrific support from some wonderful Beaudesert businesses over the years for which we have been very grateful, but it is getting harder to compete with the prizemoney being offered at Brisbane and Gold Coast.”

“Some of our sponsors unfortunately are now gone.”

“When we have our Bush Carnival there are lots of winners, not just the players. Our hospitality and accommodation people and our shops in general all benefit.” 

Having just returned from his third trip to British Columbia in Canada where he stayed with daughter Julia for six weeks, John was quick to catch up with friends at the club on a recent Friday. 

“It’s such a great club, a place to make lasting friendships. It has a social component where you can meet a lot of different people from diverse backgrounds,” he said. 

“We are always on the lookout for new players and sponsors, and any individual or group is welcome to join us anytime for a game and a burger.” 

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