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Melbourne Club facts for kids

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Melbourne Club entrance
Melbourne Club entrance
Melbourne Club Collins Street
The Melbourne Club

The Melbourne Club is a private social club established in 1838 and located at 36 Collins Street, Melbourne.

The club is a symbol of Australia's British social heritage and was established at a gathering of 23 gentlemen on Saturday, 17 December 1838, and initially used John Pascoe Fawkner's hotel on the corner of Collins Street and Market Street.

Port Phillip Patriot Office and Melbourne Club
Former Melbourne club headquarters, from State Library Victoria pictures collection.

The Melbourne Club moved to new purpose-built premises at the eastern end of Collins Street, designed by Leonard Terry in Renaissance Revival style, in 1859. A dining room wing with a bay window was added at the western end in 1885, designed by Terry and Oakden. It includes, among other rooms, a library, main dining room, private dining room, breakfast room, billiard rooms, lawn room and bedrooms. The building is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

At the rear of the Club building is a private courtyard garden, maintained by arborist-horticulturalist John Fordham, which is also listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, and is the location of garden parties and private functions. The garden contains the largest plane tree in Victoria, according to the National Trust's Register of Significant Trees.

The Melbourne Club garden
The Melbourne Club courtyard garden

The Melbourne Club does not allow female membership. The female-only Lyceum Club, located directly behind in Ridgway Place, enjoys views of the trees of the Melbourne Club's gardens.

Notable members

Frederick Powlett (1811–1865) was a founding member in 1838 as well as being a founding member and the first recorded president of the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1838. He was a public servant, a police magistrate and later chief commissioner of Crown Lands.

Other notable members:

  • Governors-General Sir Isaac Isaacs, Sir Ninian Stephen and Rt Rev Hon Peter Hollingworth;
  • Governors of Victoria Sir Henry Winneke, Sir James Gobbo and the Hon Alex Chernov;
  • Chief Justices of Australia Sir John Latham and Sir Owen Dixon;
  • High Court Justices Sir Daryl Dawson and Kenneth Madison Hayne;
  • Chief Justices of Victoria Sir William Foster Stawell, Sir William Irvine, Sir Frederick Mann, Sir Edmund Herring, Sir Henry Winneke and Sir John Young;
  • Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser;
  • Politicians Sir John Bloomfield, Andrew Peacock and Admiral Sir William Bridges;
  • Generals Sir Brudenell White and Sir William Johnston;
  • Chief Commissioners of Victoria Police Sir William Mitchell, Sir Charles MacMahon and Frederick Standish;
  • Artists Sir Arthur Streeton and Sir Daryl Lindsay;
  • Prominent businessmen Sir James Balderstone, Hugh Morgan, Don Argus and Kevan Gosper.
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