Melbourne Savage Club

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Melbourne Savage Club
Founded 1894
Home Page
Address Bank Place, Melbourne
Clubhouse occupied since 1923
Club established for The arts, science and law

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, the arts, sport or science. Its membership is particularly secretive with a strong code of silence; 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 Melbourne Savage Club, a gentlemen's club, was founded in 1894.[1][2] Like the London-based Savage Club, established in 1857, it was named after Richard Savage (1697-1743), an English poet.[1][2] Dr. Harvey E. Astles was the first President of the Melbourne Savage Club. In 1915, Hans Heysen donated a painting to the club.[3] Sir Robert Menzies, longtime Prime Minister of Australia, served as its President from 1947 to 1962.[2][4] The club incorporated the Yorick Club (with which it had a long and cordial rivalry, including regular cricket matches) in 1966.[5] Hubert T. Frederico, QC, was President from 1974 to 1977.[6] In 2012, the President was Robert Heathcote.[2] The President as of 2016 is Ian Baillieu.

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.[7] Social events were organised with charitable and patriotic causes as beneficiaries.[8]


The Club organised purchase of its building in Bank Place, Melbourne in 1923.[2] Rent was paid to Melbourne Savages Ltd; all profits were distributed to shareholders annually.[9] 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 on 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 powered by electricity.[2] The staircase and some fireplaces are also notable.

Notable members[edit]

Other cities[edit]

Savage Clubs were formed in other Australian cities:


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


  1. ^ a b Melbourne Savage Club: Welcome to the Melbourne Savage Club
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Lawrence Money, The ace of clubs, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 2012
  3. ^ Peter Monteath (ed.), Germans, Wakefield Press, p. 406
  4. ^ Allan William Martin, Patsy Hardy, Robert Mezies: A Life, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1993, p. 84
  5. ^ "Inter-club Cricket" The Argus 13 December 1924 p.25
  6. ^ a b c d e
  7. ^ "Paintings for Geelong Church" The Argus 28 February 1929 p.5
  8. ^ "For the Wounded" The Argus 16 Dec 1915 p.15
  9. ^ "Company News in Brief" The Argus 21 June 1941 p.2
  10. ^ | Parliament of Victoria, Ted Baillieu -Member for Hawthorn, Premier of Victoria
  11. ^ Emma Griffiths, George Brandis defends membership of men-only Savage Club, debate sparks chest-beating in Senate,ABC, 26 September 2014
  12. ^ AAP, Brandis defends joining men-only Melbourne Savage Club, The Australian, 25 September 2014
  13. ^ Gwen Rankin, L. Bernard Hall: The man the art world forgot, NewSouth, 2013, p. 82 [1]
  14. ^ "Personal" The Argus 12 June 1922 p.6
  15. ^ Wilde, W. H. The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature 2nd ed. ISBN 0-19-553381-X
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Zelman Memorial" The Argus 13 March 1930 p.8
  18. ^ "South Australia" The Queenslander 27 October 1883 p.691
  19. ^ "Out among the People.". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 24 February 1937. p. 25. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  20. ^ The West Australian 15 August 1896
  21. ^ Sydney Morning Herald 19 June 1934
  22. ^ "Seen Out And About.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 28 October 1954. p. 10 Section: Women's Section. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 

External links[edit]

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