Tribute to Brian Prygoda
By Jim See
Several hundred bowlers from far and wide converged on Gayndah to pay their last respects to legend of country bowls tournaments throughout Queensland, Brian Prygoda (28/12/1944 – 28/5/2019).
Brian Prygoda was born into a farming family and lived in the small community of Binjour between Mundubbera and Gayndah for sixty nine years, only moving down the road a little to Gayndah for the last five years. Brian took up lawn bowls when his rugby league career ended in 1971 and joined the Binjour Bowls Club, where he quickly became quite an expert bowler and bowling became his passion. This ability was also recognised in his earlier days by Queensland selectors, as Brian was once invited to trial for the state team.
Brian went on to serve many a term as Binjour’s president, secretary, patron and delegate to the Burnett District. He joined the Central and Upper Burnett Past Presidents’ Association where he served two years as president. While a member of Gayndah Bowls Club he also served two terms as president and was the delegate for the Burnett District.
Brian was an advocate for the small bowls clubs. People would often ask him why he would take his teams to play in many different places and his answer would always be –‘If we go there, then they will come here’ – and they did. In his younger days, it was nothing for Brian and his mates to travel up to eight hours to play in a weekend carnival. They went to basically everywhere such as Moura, Longreach, Cunnamulla, Roma to name a few western ones. As a matter of fact, he travelled to almost every club in the Leichhardt, Condamine, Maranoa and Downs Districts. Also there would be few clubs in the Port Curtis, Bundaberg and Fraser Coast Districts where Brian had not played over the years. But his heart always remained in the Burnett District. He was a great supporter of events of the six clubs which made up the Central and Upper Burnett District in his earlier days and then the fifteen clubs when the South Burnett amalgamated with the north to become the Burnett District. For a great many years, Brian was a member of the district team to compete at the Queensland District Sides competition. So many, in fact, the district’s name changed three times. It was Central and Upper Burnett, then South Burnett and presently just Burnett.
In recognition of his service to the Binjour Bowls Club, Brian was honoured with a life membership. In 2000, in recognition of his contribution to the sport of lawn bowls, both as a player and an administrator, Brian was awarded an Australian Sports Medal and Certificate signed by the then Governor-General, Sir William Deane and Prime Minister, John Howard. Whilst he was very proud to receive these honours, more important to him were the lasting friendships he had forged over his forty eight years in the game. For him, it was as much about playing the game, as it was about sharing a drink with the mates he had just played with and against.
Brian Prygoda will be remembered for his prowess as a player, his contributions as an administrator, but most of all, as an absolute gentleman of the sport of lawn bowls.