Pacific Paradise

Friendship gets a sporting chance – Competitors open their home for GemLife Games

Friendship gets a sporting chance - Competitors open their home for GemLife Games


Dawn and Ray were only too pleased to give travelling GemLife homeowners a place to stay when the call went out asking for home hosts.

The GemLife Games will be held between 5 and 6 September at GemLife Palmwoods.

“We’ve always welcomed travelling players from other bowls clubs when they’ve been in town for competitions,” said Dawn. “We love the company, and we have plenty of room.”

Ray agreed. “We know what it’s like to go travelling. It can get quite lonely if it is an area you’re not familiar with,” he said.

“It’s really rewarding to make new friends. We experienced that ourselves a number of years ago when we met a Canadian couple on a river cruise. A few years later we stayed with them in Winnipeg, which was a place we’d never been before, and it was great.”

Ray first started playing lawn bowls when he was in his late 40s.

“I have to admit, I teased Ray at first,” said Dawn.

“I told him the game looked too easy. Oh boy, was I wrong! There is so much strategy and skill involved.”

It took a few more years before Dawn got into the game herself.

“I started playing when we moved from Redcliffe to Marcoola 20 years ago and I really enjoyed it,” she said.

Here’s hoping that making new friends and having a successful game is the only excitement for the couple in September. Last year, the GemLife Games resulted in an unexpected, but timely trip to the hospital.

“On our way out of the games, Ray bumped his leg, and it started bleeding,” said Dawn. “He went to the doctors, and it turned out that what he bumped was a melanoma. He had more tests and found it had spread.

“He’s quite well now. He’s been undergoing immunotherapy treatment which he’ll be on for another 12 months or so. The thing was, he wouldn’t have done anything about it if he hadn’t bumped his leg!”

Ray sheepishly agrees, but it hasn’t stopped him from leading a full schedule in the time since.

In addition to lawn bowls, the former teacher is an active member of the Coolum Men’s Shed which does much more than woodwork. The Men’s Shed has a very active photography club and a music group which hosts a Friday jam session and a Monday jazz group.

“I was bored out of my mind during Covid, so I bought a kit to make a ukelele, but I couldn’t play,” said Ray. “A lady at our resort did and said, ‘well now you’ve made it you might as well learn how to play it’!”

Ray outgrew the instrument.

“He found it too small to use after a while,” said Dawn. “Ray bought a larger one while we were in Hawaii.”

And that’s not the end to making musical instruments.

“There are some songs we play which have a train whistle sound in them,” said Ray. “So, a train whistle is what I’m going to make next!”