Russell Lights - Vol 9 Issue 25 - Dec 2006

These battered and chipped but solid wooden bowls with a 20cm diameter are survivors of the skittle alley that used to be behind the Pacific Hotel (site of today’s Hananui) fronting on York St . The bowling alley was older than the hotel which was built in the 1870s. The bowling alley was also used for community dances, until a proper hall was built on the Strand.

Whalers when ashore did not spend all their time in grog shops and bordellos on the Russell waterfront – some no doubt enjoyed a game of skittle bowls, an ancient game played in Britain and Europe. In America it was later to develop into Ten Pin Bowling. In this earlier version 9 skittles were used.