Woodgate’s Noel – A true gentleman bowler
By Lesley Christensen
Noel Loder, in his 96th year, is not only Woodgate Bowls Club’s oldest bowler but an inspiration to us all.
Bowls is a game for all ages and, even though Noel thinks he’s not as good as he used to be, trust me when I tell you he can still put down some wicked shots.
“Good bowl, Noel!” is often heard around the rinks.
Still using his original Drakes Pride bowls he purchased to learn to play with in 2002, he’s learnt to master the huge bias they produce.
Noel settled in Woodgate with his wife Dorothy in 1994 after raising the family of six children in Childers. Noel worked hard in the sugar industry as a cane cutter in the crushing season and doing farm work mainly in the South Isis area.
Retirement brought Noel and Dorothy to Woodgate, where he enjoyed fishing off the bank, mainly in Theodolite Creek. He tells the story of walking across the creek with his yabby pump under his arm and his cigarettes under his hat. “Got into a bit of trouble, so had to let go of the pump but the smokes stayed dry!” he laughed.
The photo below with the fish is a monster catch Noel made as a young man and he is extremely proud of that catch. Whenever the conversation turns to fishing, Noel will whip out that photo to show everyone.
After Dorothy’s passing, Noel took up bowls and has never looked back, enjoying many hours on the greens and making plenty of friendships along the way. Noel states he never set out to be a champion but just to “play the game well and enjoy the company”.
Just another little sideline of Noel’s is that he has taken care of the nature area across from his home for many years. In fact, the day before we had our chat he had been out mowing under the fence where the council mowers had missed.
He was awarded the Woodgate Community Events ‘Citizen of the Year’ in 2020 for his community work.
When asked, Noel said he didn’t lead a greatly exciting life, did the things all men do: got married, raised a happy family, then retired to lead a quiet life.
Losing his wife was a great sadness, but the six—now well and truly grown up children— are a great comfort.
We summed it up by saying Noel has led a “quiet, full life”. I’d like to add, “what a lovely true gentleman!”