Formed in 1881 as a meeting place for officers, the Naval and Military Club is reputedly the oldest service club in Australia with a continuous history. First known as the Pipeclay Club, it changed its name five times before adopting its present name in 1952. It moved quarters many times before acquiring 7 Alfred Place (the former German Club) in 1920. By then, as a result of World War I, its membership had greatly increased. In 1967 it moved to a new clubhouse at 27 Little Collins Street.
In its first years it held lectures on military topics but this activity was taken over by the United Services Institution after 1889. Distinguished presidents include General Sir John Monash and Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey. Membership was extended to civilians after long years of peace, and to women in 1992.