About Kelvin Club

Today the Kelvin Club is one of the most respected senior private members Clubs in the City of Melbourne that is innovative, whilst respecting tradition. We celebrated our 150th Anniversary last year with keynote events that highlight elements of our history and culture. Whilst we understand the importance of looking back and reflecting on the last 150 years of our journey, we are focused on looking ahead as we build new partnerships, work with local businesses and charities and aim towards ensuring we have a positive impact in our community.

Kelvin Club Committee 2017/8

President – Jim Colbert
Vice President – Su Baker
Treasurer – Michael Cass
Kelvin Manager – Harry Newton
General Committee – John Dall’Amico (Immediate Past President), Debra Allanson, Marcus Byron, Tim Hogard, Mick Shaddock, Kevin Silberberg, Rhys Watson

A History of Kelvin Club

The Kelvin Club was formed on 3rd January and then formally incorporated on the 13th January, 1865 as the Fitzroy Bowling Club, under the presidency of Hon. George Harker, MLA. The Club and bowling greens were originally located in the centre of Victoria Parade, opposite the old Presbyterian Ladies’ College and there were cable trams on the north side of the plantation.

Our first President, George Harker (1816-1879) was the member for Collingwood of the first Victorian Legislative Assembly, was treasurer in the second O’Shanassay ministry and was responsible for introducing bills for payment of members and (unsuccessfully) the abolition of state aid to religion in 1864-65. Interestingly, we still retain links to early Victorian politics through Kelvin Club members Fiona Patten and Hon.David Davis, both members of the Victorian Legislative Council.

When an electric tramline was to be placed along the plantation in 1927 the Club moved to 53/55 Collins Place. In view of no longer having a bowling green in the new CBD location, the name was changed to The Kelvin Club. This reflected the preponderance of engineers & scientists amongst the membership. The President of the Club at this time was JT Wilkins, then chief of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

In 1936 the Club moved again, leasing premises at 360 Little Collins Street. In 1946 during the Presidency of Sir Leo Curtis (Lord Mayor of Melbourne 1964-65), the Club moved in downstairs at our current premises at 14-30 Melbourne Place. Initially leasing the space, in 1947, the Club later purchased the freehold in 1950 for £25,000 ($50,000).

Heritage Contributions

The Kelvin Clubhouse in Melbourne Place was originally built in 1873 as a wharehouse by JB Watson and has served several purposes. During the 1920-50s it was the broadcast and recording studio for 3LO (now 774), followed by the ABC, and subsequently 3AW Radio. The Club took over both floors following their departure in 1956.

Culture and Gender Diversity

In May 1945, the Committee voted to allow gentlemen of the Jewish persuasion to join the club, a demonstration of the inclusive nature of the Club.
In 1976 the Stock Exchange Club amalgamated with Kelvin and fifty-nine of their Members were added to Kelvin’s roll, bringing with them many fabulous art pieces.
Minutes dating back to 1968 indicate the Committee’s desire to offer membership to women, however this was hampered by legislation. As a result of changes to liquor licensing laws in 1995 the club was finally able to admit female members. The official date of this policy change was the 14th February, 1995. Perhaps not a coincidence that it was also St Valentines Day.

Membership at Kelvin Club

The Kelvin Club is a private members club. Membership is by referral from a current member and requires a seconder. The application is then reviewed by the Committee.
Read more about Membership here.