Vale Bobby Hinton

By Denece Jones
October 6, 2021
TBAV pays tribute to Bobby Hinton who passed away on 28th September (2021).

Bobby will be sadly missed by so many in the bowling community.

This is an article which appeared in 2010 in The Wimmera Mail-Times:

Bobby Hinton made history in September 1964. Two years after taking up tenpin bowling, Hinton scored the first Tenpin Bowling Australia officially recognised 300-game in Victoria and the third in Australia.

He scored 12 strikes in a row at Chadstone’s bowling centre, joining New South Welshman Joe Velo and Queenslander Wayne Sullivan in the then illustrious club of three. It was the first and only time Hinton has recorded the only perfect score of his 48-year career.

Hinton, 66, said he was well rewarded for his efforts, winning a two-week trip to Japan. “When I shot the 300 game I won a trip to Tokyo as well as a Vauxhall Viva, which has since been superseded by Toranas,” Hinton said. “The prize was for the third 300 game in Australia, which at the time was for the first one in Victoria. “The first person Joe Velo won a trip around the world and the second might have got a trip around the world and I got a trip to Japan, and subsequent games after that for the next five or six years was to Singapore. I think they changed it to a cash award from 1970.”

Hinton, who has worked in bowling centres since 1980 after working for the Bob Jane Tyre Corporation for 11 years, said Japan’s bowling centres ? both then and now ? were impressive. “I bowled over there but it was mainly exhibition,” Hinton said. “I went to one centre and the colour was predominantly blue and I had a journalist who was taking me around, somehow I got separated from them and I saw these steps. “I walked down the stairs and suddenly there is another 52 lanes. “This is in Japan. They had a 504-lane bowling centre there, not when I was there but later on. But 104 lanes was a big centre at the time.”

Tenpin bowling has been a constant in Hinton’s life and also that of his family. His late wife Lesley played and his sons Robbie, Russell and Ryan were also top bowlers. His grandson Tyson scored his first 300 game at Sunshine this year at the Australian Open Championship. His granddaughter Ebony defeated Russell three to one in an open scratch match-play championship in Horsham in 2009. Hinton has had success with his family at different competitions while some of them have also gone on to win national titles. He said he and Lesley teamed to win a televised doubles tournament. “We actually won a mixed doubles tournament on Channel 0 in 1969,” he said.

“In 1989 my son Russell and I bowled in the Victorian team. “That was a thrill because it was the first time in the history of the sport that a father and son had been in the winning team and what made it unique is that two years before that my sons, Robbie and Russell, bowled for the ACT.

“Robbie and Russell represented Australia in the youth team and my daughter-in-law Julie represented Australia. Robbie went to Japan in 1985 and Bangkok in 1987 when he won the world youth masters and Russell went to Manilla in 1990.”

Hinton moved to Horsham in 2004 when Horsham Lanes and Games opened and has helped owner Wayne Watkins since. He has worked in 10 bowling centres in Australia, including on the Gold Coast and in Canberra. “The Horsham centre was in Bairnsdale, which I managed. I said to the boss at Bairnsdale, ‘it’s not going to work’ so Wayne found out it was for sale and decided to buy it,” Hinton said. “I came out to help him and I have been helping him ever since. “Six months after I came here, Russell and my daughter-in-law Julie got the Horsham motel.”

Hinton said the first time he bowled was in 1962 and he loved it. A friend introduced him to the sport at the old Hawthorn Bowl and he was hooked. “Hawthorn was the first bowling centre I first bowled on a Sunday morning. They said, ‘if you bowl 100 the first game you’ve got it made’,” Hinton said. “I bowled 100 the first game, 100 the second game and 72 the third game. Little did I know I would still be involved in bowling.”

Competitiveness got the better of him at one stage and he stepped away from the sport at age 24. The hiatus did not last long. “I gave the game away for about six months because I got frustrated but when I came back my attitude had completely changed because I enjoyed my bowling,” he said. “I didn’t let things get to me. “Persistence and concentration, they’re the main things to look at, and to enjoy your bowling.”

These days, Hinton bowls on average once a week but has been filling in and helping teams that are struggling for numbers.