Gordon Jolly
Personal information
Birth nameGordon Hezlam Jolly
Born(1913-05-25)25 May 1913
Cromwell, New Zealand
Died26 October 1986(1986-10-26) (aged 73)
Dunedin, New Zealand
RelativesNoel Jolly (brother)
SportLawn bowls
ClubLeith Bowling Club

Gordon Hezlam Jolly OBE (25 May 1913 – 26 October 1986) was a lawn bowls competitor for New Zealand.

Early life and family

Born in Cromwell on 25 May 1913, Jolly was the son of Ernest Jolly, who served as mayor of Cromwell, and Gabrielle Hezlam Jolly (née Dunne).[1][2][3] His brothers included Noel Jolly, who was also a noted lawn bowler, and Ian Jolly, who played representative rugby union for Otago.[3]

On 7 September 1940, Jolly married Molly Margaret Hungerford at Sacred Heart Church, North East Valley, Dunedin.[4]

Lawn bowls

Jolly began playing bowls in Oamaru at the Meadowbank Bowling Club. Joining the Leith Bowling Club in Dunedin in 1946, he went on to win 18 Dunedin centre bowls titles.[5]

At the 1966 World Outdoor Bowls Championship in Sydney, Jolly represented New Zealand in the men's triples and men's fours, winning the latter title along with Norm Lash, Ron Buchan and Bill O'Neill. Jolly won the 1970 fours title at the New Zealand National Bowls Championships, alongside J. W. Walls, A. J. Robinson and Peter Jolly, representing the Leith Bowling Club.[6] The same year, at the 1970 British Commonwealth Games, he was part of the New Zealand men's four that placed 11th.[7] At the 1974 British Commonwealth Games, he won the men's fours gold medal, partnering David Baldwin, Kerry Clark and John Somerville.

A life member of Bowls New Zealand, Jolly served as a national selector and secretary–treasurer, and was president in 1968.[5]


In the 1977 New Year Honours, Jolly was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for services to bowls.[8] He was an inaugural inductee into the Bowls New Zealand Hall of Fame in 2013.[5]


Jolly died at Dunedin on 26 October 1986, and he was buried at Andersons Bay Cemetery.[9] His wife, Molly, died the following year.[10]


  1. ^ "Birth search: registration number 1913/10756". Births, deaths & marriages online. Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Birth". Vol. 43, no. 2355. 2 June 1913. p. 4. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Life of service". Otago Daily Times. No. 27222. 27 October 1949. p. 10. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Weddings". Evening Star. No. 23681. 14 September 1940. p. 17. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "Hall of Fame". Bowls New Zealand. 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  6. ^ "New Zealand Championships". Bowls Tawa.
  7. ^ Profile at the New Zealand Olympic Committee website
  8. ^ "No. 47104". The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 31 December 1976. p. 42.
  9. ^ "Cemeteries search". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Cemeteries search". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 9 April 2021.