The sport of lawn bowls in the North West lost another former champion with the death this month of Peter Johnson.
Johnson was a highly successful bowler who won more than 20 championship events in the North West in the 18 years he was a member of the Gunnedah Bowling Club.
He came to Gunnedah as the Gunnedah Shire Parks and Gardens Superintendent in 1981 and quickly made an impact in the sport in the North West, winning a succession of club, district and zone events before his retirement to Tamworth.
His local club titles included the GBC singles in 1986 and 1993, pairs in 1999, the triples in 1988, 1990, 1994 and 1997 and the fours in 1988, 1993 and 1997. At North West level, he was singles champion in 1993 and 1994, as well as winning the triples in 1998. His district successes included the champion of champion singles, pairs, triples and fours.
In 1986, he became the first Gunnedah bowler in 20 years to win the Northern NSW (Zone 3) State singles, later winning the champion of champions zone singles in 1994. Towards the close of his career in the region, Johnson reached the semi-final of the NSW State pairs.
Johnson was the inaugural Gunnedah Bowling Club Bowler of the Year in 1994, when the award was put into play.
He was inducted into the Gunnedah club’s Roll of Honour, which was instituted in 2005 to recognize the achievements of the club’s best bowlers in its history.
Johnson was also president of the Gunnedah Bowling Club in 1994-95 and was the instigator of discussions which led to the eventual merger of the club with the Gunnedah Servicemen’s Club in February 1997.
He was a prominent district and zone skip and pennants player and played tournaments all over the northern half of the state, always at a high level. In 1989 he played in a NSW side at the Australian interstate sides carnival.
Early in his career Johnson was a member of Manly Vale and Toongabbie clubs, winning the Toongabbie BC championship before leaving the city for the bush.
Johnson left Tamworth in the early 2000s, moving to Port Macquarie. His death came after a long struggle with ill-health. He was 85.