City Tattersalls Club

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

City Tattersalls Club
IndustryRegistered Club
HeadquartersSydney, Australia
Number of employees

The City Tattersalls Club is a social club located in Sydney, New South Wales. Formed in 1895, by a group of bookmakers disgruntled with a judge’s decision on a race at Kensington, New South Wales. The club is located in the heart of the central business district at Pitt Street between Market and Park Streets.


City Tattersalls Club started in 1895 with only 25 members, all bookmakers. The Club began its life with only 50 guineas in the bank.

The story started on April 26, 1895, when Merry Girl – at 6/1 - was first past the post at Kensington. Although the five-year-old mare appeared to have triumphed, the stewards disqualified her because she turned the scales two pounds overweight and her jockey weighed in with his whip. Thus, Pearl Powder, a four-year-old mare who ran second at 5/2 was declared the winner.

Oh, the controversy! No doubt standing to lose heavily on such a heavily backed winner, and believing Merry Girl’s connections should have appealed, the paddock bookmakers refused to pay out.

It was the last race of the day and then they turned up at Kensington the following Thursday, their leader refused an official request to settle. As a result, all the paddock bookmakers were escorted from the course. No doubt whooping with joy, the St Leger bookmakers were invited to take their places where the serious money was wagered.

These banished bookmakers were members of the Australian Bookmakers’ Association with headquarters at Tattersalls Club at 202-204 Pitt Street, which had considerable control over racing in New South Wales.

Founded in 1858, Tattersall’s took its name from Richard Tattersall, the English horse dealer who established the modern concept of horseracing with fair betting rules.

The Pearl Powder dispute dragged on for several weeks.

While profiting from the situation, members of the St Leger bookmakers Association felt they should now have their own club to go to with their new-found respectability.

So, on August 30, 1895, one of their enterprising leaders, George Langley, convened a meeting at Her Majesty’s Hotel at which it was resolved that all present form themselves into a club, to be called City Tattersalls Club. The 25 men at the meeting started the financial ball rolling by subscribing two guineas each and agreeing to pay two shillings a week.

City Tattersalls Club has its own Act of Parliament, with an Honorary Committee comprising a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and seven Committee members, all of whom are now elected by those who hold either Gold or Silver Membership, and who protect the interests of Members by overseeing the strategies of the Executive Management. The management is headed by four Executive Managers, being the Head of Operations, Head of Finance, Head of Gaming and Head of Communications and Marketing.


Front view from Pitt Street, Sydney

City Tattersalls Club previously occupied the Graphic Arts building and the building alongside Adams Hotel, where the Sydney Hilton Hotel now stands.

During the 1950s, a film company was located on the top floor, with its vault on the roof, presumably so that when film exploded the burst would go upward.

In December 1992 ‘Silks Bar and Grill’ was born. Sydney during the 90’s was seeing an upgrade of office blocks and shopping arcades; City Tattersalls Club was ageing, exclusive and ran a strict dress code.

The Silks Bar and Grill opening was strategic as it allowed the club to capitalise on the Government of New South Wales 5 kilometre ruling, allowing residents outside a 5 km radius to simply sign into a registered club. Being a separate entrance, this protected the main membership of City Tattersalls Club.

After approval by its Board Members in 2007 City Tattersalls Club purchased the Merivale building at 194 Pitt Street and took back its occupancy of 196 Pitt Street previously occupied by National Australia Bank.

History and milestones[edit]

The City Tattersalls Club building at 202-204 Pitt Street was occupied from 1891. Built at a small cost by today’s standards, the building was described as presenting a free and effective rendering of the classic Renaissance style of architecture. It was constructed of Pyrmont, New South Wales freestone, finished in rubble masonry, relieved by handsome pilasters balustrades, moulded Courses and carved enrichments which were said to “combine to produce a striking though harmonious effect”. The rearing horse figure which surmounted the building until 2007 was carved from a single block of stone measuring 200 cu ft (5.7 m3). City Tattersalls bought the building in 1975 at a fraction of its value in its centenary year. City Tattersalls’ second home, premises at 240 Pitt Street with a narrow frontage was occupied until moving to the present site in 1924. The old building still exists today with the Club’s name still discernible on the front fascia.

In 1930 Amy Johnson spent six weeks touring Australia after her circumnavigation of the world at public events attended by cheering crowds at the City Tattersalls Club by posing on the Club’s front balcony at Pitt Street.

  • 1858 Tattersall’s first formed
  • 1891 First Tattersalls Club moved into 202-204 Pitt Street
  • 1895 Opening of City Tattersalls Club
  • 1903 249 Pitt Street purchased
  • 1924 Move into current premises at 198-204 Pitt Street
  • 1930 Amy Johnson welcomed by the Club after her world flight
  • 1963 Opening of membership to women
  • 1971 Snooker table dedicated to Norman Squire at the World Snooker Championship 1971
  • 1992 Silks Bar and Grill opened
  • 1995 City Tattersalls Club Centenary year
  • 2005 Major renovations to key venues including Omega Lounge
  • 2012 Re-launch of website offering online new memberships and renewals using PayPal


External links[edit]

  • [1] Club Rules (2018)
  • Official website
  • [2] Official site Retrieved on 12 February 2008
  • [3] Science Museum exhibit on Amy Johnson Retrieved on 12 February 2008
  • [4] BBC Humber site for Johnson centenary Retrieved on 12 February 2008
  • [5] Retrieved on 12 February 2008
  • [6] Science Museum exhibit on Amy Johnson Retrieved on 12 February 2008
  • [7] BBC Humber site for Johnson centenary Retrieved on 12 February 2008

Amy Johnson National Biography 1941-1950, London: Oxford University Press, 1959

  • [8] Cup Race Day 2017 Photostream

Coordinates: 33°52′16.33″S 151°12′30.8″E / 33.8712028°S 151.208556°E / -33.8712028; 151.208556