Macknade’s Marbelli Green
By Michael Blake
On Sunday 27 June, Macknade Bowls Club honoured the Marbelli Family by naming its green the Marbelli Green. We had a full green of players and, prior to afternoon tea, local dignitaries and members of the Marbelli family arrived at the club; the purpose of their arrival being unknown to most people present.
President Michael Blake, Hinchinbrook State Member Nick Dametto, Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo, NQDMBA President Gary Costigan, local bowls legend Ren Cantatore and club member Brett Haupt together presented the connection of the Marbelli family to the Macknade Bowls Club (North Queensland). Since its humble beginnings in 1954, the Marbelli name has been synonymous with the club.
Luciano Marbelli was a founding and life member. Since then, his son Peter (now in his 90s) and twin sons Mario and Lui (now 81) have continued the longstanding family connection. The club’s honour boards are littered with the Marbelli name. Lui has played in 25 Dunn Cups. This year, Lui was the club’s reserve player and Mario, who has played in four Dunn Cups, was the manager. Mario was a member of the Ingham Bowls Club for 18 years before returning to Macknade in 2007. Dad Luciano and older brother Peter played all their games with Macknade. When the club desperately needed a new synthetic green and shade-cover in 2009, the Marbellis provided financial backing as the club took out a loan. President Lui Marbelli has seen the club through tight times and in 12 years has changed the club’s finances to a positive balance. He’ll be the first to tell you he hasn’t done it all on his own and was quick to thank his loyal committee helpers. But, it has been his guidance and persistence along the way that has seen this incredible turn-around.
In recent years, Mario has been a regular committee member and his roles are greatly acknowledged and appreciated. Annual visitors return to enjoy the well known hospitality from the family. “Impossible!” is the usual catch-cry when someone else plays a good bowl or their own goes astray. A Marbelli Wick is synonymous throughout the north with any fortuitous encounter with another bowl that ends up with a positive outcome, a result that is only acceptable when performed by a Marbelli and frowned upon when experienced by someone else.
This year Lui stood down from the role of president after almost 22 continuous years. He is still an integral committee member, green director, advisor and confidant. Mario and Lui have been the chief welcoming committee as friends returned from far flung parts of the country and are true ambassadors of our club.
Also clearly acknowledged by Lui were their wives who played an important support role by enabling the them to contribute so strongly to the club. Lidia (Mario’s wife) has been President of NQ Ladies and Ingham Ladies and has supported Mario in preparing the Tropical 4s. Teresa (Lui’s wife) has supported Lui and assisted with various club tasks. This truly has been a family effort.