Just Gonna Say It: There Should Be An Adults Version Of The Kids Club Room At The Local Bowlo

unlocked memory kids club room local bowlo australiana nostalgia

Arguably the best part of the week/month/year as a kid living in rural Australia was the odd Friday night when my parents decided to take us to the local golf club for dinner. For my parents, it meant a night of not cooking, having a few beers and/or wines, seeing friends and having a slap on the pokies. For my brother and I, it meant two things — a late bedtime and a visit to the hallowed ground of the Kids Club room.

The night usually went something like this: dinner in the bistro (kids schnitty, coke and raspberry, ice cream with all toppings or frog in a pond) and then beelining to the room just off the foyer packed with kids and a couple of adults trying to wrangle them all.

Kids Club was sacred land. Filled with just about everything a hyped-up child in the late ‘90s needed, we spent hours in there hooning around with other kids whose parents needed a night off but couldn’t get a babysitter.

There was a Playstation 1 and a Nintendo 64 hooked up to a couple of shitty TVs in the corner (the consoles were locked in a drawer with holes for the controller cables, of course) with kids exasperatedly fighting over who could play as Yoshi in Mario Kart. Another TV would be playing movies at low volume with a group of kids sitting on floor cushions in front of it, eyes fully glazed over.

These rooms truly held a yin and yang — the chaotic kids all razzed up on sugar wrestling over the best game controller and those sitting quietly watching The Lion King or colouring a shitty printout of Finding Nemo.

Tables were littered with pencils and textas for kids to draw, colour in and haphazardly fill in connect-the-dots pictures. Chalkboard walls covered in chaotic scrawlings, books to read, board games to argue over — the room had the works.

If you got in there at the right time, you’d be treated to a huge shared bowl of chippies or lollies. Play your cards right and you’d essentially cop a second dinner.

My brother and I would spend what felt like hours going absolutely feral in that glass-fronted space while our parents deleted a few beers. One time we visited a club while on holiday and its Kids Club was huge and filled with crash mats and other things to do mad flips off/onto.

Maybe golf clubs and bowlos should bring these dedicated hoon rooms back. Hell, make them for adults too. Let me sit in a comfy rumpus room with a bowl of snacks and unfettered access to a bunch of games, art supplies and other play things to just vibe. Even just a dedicated hour for the big kids to come in half cut and have a go at Crash Bandicoot.

Yes, I am aware I could just recreate this at home but there’s something about a Kids Club room you simply cannot replicate. Maybe it’s the particular scent of hot chips, raspberry cordial and slight tinge of kid piss — who’s to say? But it’s unlocked something deep in my memory that needs to be satisfied tout suite.