12th March 2021

Club Buttons

The Melbourne Club

Stokes & Martin. 1867-1893.

The Melbourne Club was formed for “gentlemen” in November 1838, after only  4 years of Melbourne’s European settlement.

Port Phillip Gazette(Vic), 5th January 1839 page 3.

Technically, a gentleman was a member of a family with a coat of arms, but more broadly it included those those families owned landed estates in England, Ireland and Scotland. It initally met at John Pascoe Fawkner’s hotel, but moved into a purpose built building in 1859.  It was the premier social institution in terms of power and prestige. It still does not allow female membership, however there is the neighbouring female only ‘Lyceum Club’.

State Library Victoria image #1697750. 1892-1900.


Derwent Yacht Club

No backmark. It looks and feels like plastic, but because of the dating, is more likely to be horn, a natural plastic.

 The first¹  Tasmanian Yacht Club started in 1859 but failed by 1861. In 1874 the Derwent Sailing Boat Club was formed. It was renamed the Derwent Yacht Club in 1876.

The Mercury (Hobart), 13th October 1876 page 2.

In May 1880 a second club, unhappy with the existing one, started under the name Derwent Sailing Boat Club. It would in time absorb the rival. It was renamed the Derwent Sailing Club in 1884, the Derwent Yacht Club in 1899, then finally the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in 1910.

The Australiasian (Melbourne), 14th November 1908. Opening of the Hobart yachting season.

The Mercury (Hobart), 30th September 1940 page 5.

There were/are also the Derwent Model Yacht Club and the Derwent Sailing Squadron, suggesting how fractured and political the Tasmanian sailing community must have been!

1. There was a single reference to a Derwent Yacht Club in 1833.


Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron

Backmark: D. Jones & Co. Sydney

The Sydney Morning Herald, 9th August 1862.

The article reports the start of the “resuscitated” squadron, but doe not mention  the previous squadron. Therein lies (another) tale of politics and poor sportsmanship!

In 1857 a Sydney based yacht club tore itself apart, with many resigning to form a new “Australian Yacht Squadron”. Presumably the original “Sydney Yacht Squadron” expired, because the resuscitated squadron mentioned above was actually  the rebadged Australian Yacht Squadron, as can be seen from when they applied for a Royal warrant in 1862. It was granted the next year, however, His Royal Highness had insisted on a name change:

The Sydney Morning Herald, 2nd July 1863.

Perhaps it was a mixed victory; they got the warrant but had to change their name back to the name of original club they had left in protest!

The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 20th September 1884 page 574. The new cup made in England for the club.

Illustrated Sydney News, 7th November 1891 page 8.