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Helensburgh Workmen’s Club, C1898. Picture: Wollongong University Archives
By MICK ROBERTS ©
REGISTERED clubs, with their assortment of restaurants, cafes, gymnasiums, and ‘mini-casinos’, have come along way from the timber cottages, offering dominoes and newspaper libraries, that first appeared throughout colonial New South Wales during the 1890s.
Prior to the 1890s, membership of colonial clubs was confined to the elite.
The premises of the first clubs emulated British gentlemen’s clubs and accommodated the style of living to which their members were accustomed. Club entertainment principally consisted of drinking, dining, billiards, card games and a literary library.
Clubs catering for colonial working class men first appeared in the late 1880s and 1890s. They first appeared in the Illawarra and Hunter regions of NSW as workmen’s clubs, chiefly established to cater for coal miners. They were men only venues, far from what members expect of their registered clubs today.
Kembla Heights Workmen’s…
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