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Fabrizio Marsani

No Toffs at Toorak Bowls Club

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0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
No Toffs at Toorak Bowls Club

One of this countries most exclusive post codes- 3142 is home to a terrific bowls club whose members are by and large a bunch of knock about blokes light years away from the hallmarks of what this postcode represents,
Money, Power, Success and Status.
The club manages to successfully shatter stereo types.
And flies the flag of Tradition.
While most metropolitan clubs have succumbed to the introduction of World Series Cricket like colour uniforms. Toorak have kept wearing their Whites. Let’s be perfectly frank, some clubs have adopted some bloody awful colour combinations. There’s nothing dignified about ‘elderly gents’ looking like clowns in some of those uniforms their clubs force them to wear.. [ I’ve still got a soft spot for traditional whites.]


The club is located opposite the exclusive Loreto Mandeville Hall girls school.
The members incongruously look on as the well healed mothers driving Toorak Tractors pick up their daughters after school.
The Motley Crew members are light years away from the Schlappers who make up that ingratiating Trak Crowd.

The only time I enjoy going to Toorak is to visit The Toorak Bowls Club.
I live in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs and don’t have a lot to do with Toorak.
However there was a time when I used to receive invitations to Toorak parties.
Until a former business partner’s trophy wife came to the conclusion that people like me didn’t ‘share core values’ with the other assembled guests.
An astute woman- disingenuous types like her don’t become Toorak Trophy Wives by chance !

A Bernie Eccelstone look alike !

A couple of years ago I took my mother to her friend’s funeral in Toorak.
Her friend had for many years worked for the father of then Premier Ted Baillieu.
Members of the Baillieu clan were there in attendance to show their respect.
At the end of the service as we were leaving the church my mother asked me where the toilets were.
On hearing us speaking Italian ,Ted’s wife gave us a startled look, it tacitly implied,
‘ Who are these people, and what on earth are they doing here.’
It could have been a Beverly Hillbillies episode.
We were the White Trash Clampett Hillbillies in Toorak !
I don’t miss the invites or vacuous conversations at those Toorak Parties but I would very much miss my annual invite to The Les Bartlett Triples at Toorak Bowls in the advent that I ever became persona non grata at Toorak.



A Middle Age Punk, a Greek Dandy, an Affable ‘Qi Gong Practising’ Rocker and a Bernie Eccelstone look alike thrown in for good measure are just some of the characters playing bowls there.

Santo Caruso- A former member of Toorak. The owner of Melbourne Sports Books enjoyed his time at Toorak but thought it prudent to join Princess Park before he developed a serious drinking problem. His Sicilian constitution couldn’t cope with generational ingrained Anglo Celtic drinking patterns prevalent at Toorak- he just wasn’t up to the job.

Paul Soldatich, has wet dreams about one day becoming a member of Toorak. But he lives in Ivanhoe with his parsimonious father. Giulio would flatly refuse to taxi him around the southern suburbs to play pennant.



I get annoyed whenever the media associates Bowls with Retirement and Ageing.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times a news broadcast runs a shot of elderly bowlers on the green whenever the subject of retirement or pensions makes it into the news.
We bowlers know that the reality is vastly different to that portrayed in the mainstream media. A visit to Toorak will confirm it.
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Updated 09-02-2015 at 04:48 PM by Fabrizio Marsani

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