Melbourne Savage Club

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Melbourne Savage Club is a private Australian gentlemen's club founded in 1894. Bohemian in spirit, the club was to bring together ‘literary men, and those immediately connected or sympathising with Literature, Art or Science. Its membership is particularly secretive with a strong code of silence, whose members are traditionally the elite or 'savages' in the arts, business and politics. Travelling savages enjoy good-fellowship through reciprocal arrangements with other private clubs throughout the world. 'The ground floor social room is adorned with exotic artefacts and fine art, and is said to be among the finest rooms in Melbourne'.

Dr. Harvey E Astles was its first president. Sir Robert Menzies, longtime Prime Minister of Australia, served as its president from 1947 to 1962.[1] Hubert T Frederico QC[2] was president from 1974 to 1977[3]

Although an organisation with the primary aim of members providing their own entertainment, it regularly participates in philanthropic activities. A pair of oil paintings "The Crucifixion" and "The Annunciation" by Club member Napier Waller were presented to All Saints Church in Geelong in 1929.[4] Social events were organised with charitable and patriotic causes as beneficiaries.[5]

The Club organised purchase of its building in Bank Place, Melbourne in 1923. Rent was paid to Melbourne Savages Ltd; all profits were distributed to shareholders annually.[6] The building was originally designed by A. L. Smith and A. E. Johnson, with alterations conducted by Kinsgley Henderson, who also designed two of the most elegant buildings in Collins Street – the Bank of Australasia Building on the corner of Queen and Collins Streets and the Alcaston House (1929) at the corner of Spring Street. The building is of the few remaining townhouses in this area, and is a notable example of the transition Classical style between conservatism and boom and contributes to the character and townscape of Bank Place. Unusual external features include the portico with rusticated columns and first floor windows. The punkahs which ventilate the dining room are unique and of great interest. The staircase and some fireplaces are also notable.

Other notable members:

It incorporated the Yorick Club (with which it had a long and cordial rivalry, including regular cricket matches[12]) in 1966

The Savage club in London, United Kingdom, from which the constitution was adopted, was formed in 1857.

Savage Clubs were formed in other Australian cities:

Adelaide club was founded in 1883.[13]
Perth club was founded in 1896. Dr. Harvey E Astles (past president of the Melbourne club) was its first president.[14]
Sydney club was founded in 1934.[15] Albert Collins was its president in 1936, Lindley Evans in 1954.[16]


Johnson, Joseph Laughter and the Love of Friends : A Centenary History of the Melbourne Savage Club 1894-1994 and A History of the Yorick Club 1868-1966 Melbourne Savage Club, Melbourne 1994


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Coordinates: 37°48′59.73″S 144°57′37.5″E / 37.8165917°S 144.960417°E / -37.8165917; 144.960417