Kew City Bowmen is located in Hays Paddock in East Kew and is home to archers from all over Melbourne. A social club, it caters to all abilities and ages. Why not have a go!
The club rooms are in Hays paddock and are called the “Gerry Hevey Pavilion”. The Boroondara (Kew) Council purpose built these club rooms in 1984 after consultation with the club. The club building was refurbished and extended in 2008.
“The Kew City Bowmen were formed in 1949 by Mr Gerry Hevey, who acted as the club’s first president, a position he holds today at the age of 81! Operating out of the Old Burke Road tip site, the club encountered many problems, the least of which were the tiger snakes which made the collecting of arrows quite hazardous. Being burnt out (by vandals), rebuilding and then in 1951 having floods wash everything away, still did not dampen the spirit of the bowmen. The Kew Mental Hospital grounds became the next home of the bowmen, and here the club began to flourish, with membership rising to 120, and in 1952 the “Kew Golden Bow” tournament being founded. During this time the bowmen shot against archers from Ireland, England, Germany, Mexico, America and Africa, many tournaments being attended in force by Kew.
At the club’s peak it was forced to move from the Kew Cottages’ site because of the cottages’ expanding building program. At this time Kew Council did not have an appropriate site to house the bowmen and they went from venue to venue with their equipment housed in a trailer. This had serious consequences for the club as they were unable to find a permanent home for a number of years, resulting in many members moving to other clubs. At their new home site in Hyde Park (corner Kilby Rd. and White Av.) the bowmen are once again situated within Kew, and shoots are held on Saturdays and Sundays. The club is presently busy making arrangements for the “Kew Golden Bow” Tournament to be held at Willsmere Park on the weekend of November 4 and 5. The Kew City Bowmen offer an open invitation to anyone wishing to attend the tournament, and further details about the tournament or joining the club are available from Mr Gerry Hevey on 49 3852.”
Extract from a resume of G Hevey prepared by Mr D McLeish in 1983.
At the age of ten (1909), Gerry found it necessary to supplement the larder because hard times were upon the family. Unbeknownst to his father, Gerry constructed his arrows from a paling taken from the garden fence. These arrows were fashioned with two inch nails attached as piles (arrow tips) and feathers of a goose were used for fletching. The bow was devised from the rib of an umbrella. Any game that presented itself was shot at, and Gerry came home with rabbits, snakes, etc. He also saved the family’s chickens from a marauding hawk on a number of occasions.
When Gerry turned 14, he was apprenticed as a carpenter. He enlisted in the Australian Expeditionary Forces in 1915 but his papers were annulled when his master became aware of Gerry’s actions. Shortly after this episode, the mill where Gerry worked was burnt down and Gerry was involved in the construction of a number of homes.
In 1916, Gerry enlisted again, this time with success. He was in camp three weeks when he was shipped to Egypt then Italy and finally France where Gerry was injured and invalided home in 1919. During this period he constructed another bow, this one capable of sending rifle grenades 60 yards into enemy lines.
Because of age and wounds, Gerry was kept on instructional staff in Australia until his discharge in 1945. Afterwards he transferred to Ballarat where he joined his first archery club. It was from this club that the Ballarat YMCA Club was formed and Gerry remained a member until he was arrested for carrying an offensive weapon on a Sunday. It seems that Gerry was returning from a tournament when he was stopped by a constable and questioned about his bow. He was then escorted to the local station and charged. Gerry noticed the rows of law books lining the walls and drew the attention of the sergeant to them. He quoted one of the statutes which, to this day, has never been revoked. It was from Henry II “Assigne of Arms” and he said “… all able bodied men to attend to the butts after mass on Sundays and practice shooting the Bow.” Gerry still felt obliged to tender his resignation to save any embarrassment whereupon he then founded the Ballarat RSL Archery Club, the first in the League. He formed many other clubs including Ballarat Grammar, Ballarat East, Sebastapol, Creswick and Wendouree Auxiliary, which is the only survivor and is now called Wendouree Archery Club.
There were many clubs being formed and some governing organisation was needed. In 1947 Gerry was endeavouring to form such a body and was ultimately successful when on 25th February, 1948 the Archery Society of Victoria was formed. The other States were also forming such bodies and the first National Championships were held in Sydney in 1948 where Gerry participated as a competitor. The second Nationals took place in Melbourne the following year and Gerry was the principal organiser. That same year saw the formation of a new club, Kew City Bowmen and the founder was Gerry who had been transferred to Melbourne. The club still exists today.
Many new clubs were formed, the first being Yarra Bowmen followed by Essendon, Coburg, Mitcham Bowhunters, Christmas Hill, Diamond Creek, Warburton, Portland, Cressy, Avon, La Trobe and Monash Universities, Austin Hospital Paraplegics, Preston Youth Club and Frankston.
The club rooms are near the Lister Street car park, Melway Reference: 45 K1
Contact Rob McKenzie on 0407 201 715