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Alexandra Club

A number of clubs for women appeared in Melbourne in the wake of the establishment of the Princess Ida Club among female students at the University of Melbourne in 1888, indicative of women's increasing access to the public sphere. The Austral Salon, founded by women writers in 1890 to encourage women to take an interest in the arts, survives, but most of the smaller clubs later consolidated into two, the Alexandra Club and the Lyceum Club. The Alexandra Club, founded as the Wattle Blossom Club in 1903, provided a space in the city for establishment women. Beginning in rooms at 157 Collins Street, the club moved frequently before purchasing its own premises at 139 Collins Street, in 1917. Strictly non-political, the club was designed to function as a second home for its 800 members, offering rooms where they could dine, stay, rest and entertain. Although it suffered a decline in membership during the 1930s Depression, the club expanded in the postwar years, increasing its membership to 1400 following its amalgamation in 1965 with the Quamby Club, which catered for country women visiting the city. In 1981 the club sold its premises, moving to its current rooms at 81 Collins Street in 1983.

Shurlee Swain

Starke, Monica, The Alexandra Club: A narrative 1903-1983, Produced by Elm Grove Press for the Alexandra Club, Melbourne, 1986. Details