Yarraville Club Timeline
Yarraville Citizens’ Club
The first chapter of our story stretches back to 1905, when 43 men gathered to establish the “Yarraville Citizens’ Club” – a place to promote good fellowship and greater community connections.
The Club leased its first official residence at the former Edmundson Bag Factory on Simpson Street, Yarraville. The newly renovated space was the perfect place to meet, talk, laugh – and build lifelong friendships.
Our First Steps
By 1909, Club members proposed to purchase their own club rooms. A member of the Club, James Cuming, generously offered his own land at nearby Stephen Street, complete with modern clubrooms and a public hall for free and permanent use by the Club – an offer that was subject to members observing certain trust conditions.
Yarraville’s finest day
On 29th January 1910, the official opening of the “Yarraville Citizens’ Club and James Cuming Institute” at 135 Stephen Street – where the existing Club still stands – took place and was described in the local press as “Yarraville’s finest day”.
The Club grew and prospered, offering a friendly, welcoming venue for members to gather. The Yarraville Club’s involvement with local sports flowed on to the establishment of associated social/sub clubs run by members and their wives – and that commitment to community-focused inclusion still drives us today. For social activities and fun, The Yarraville Club was – and still is – the place to be in the Yarraville community.
The Yarraville Club
1957 was a significant milestone for the Club as it is known today when it was renamed The Yarraville Club and members finally became “masters of our own affairs”.
Popularity and growth
The club rooms were renovated to include a modern bar and, in 1959, The Yarraville Club was granted its liquor licence.
As the Club’s prosperity and popularity continues to increase, we look back on our heritage with pride and remain committed to promoting good fellowship – our link to a motto that brings together the strands of the past, with hopes for a bright future of this amazing Club.
In 1964, The Yarraville Club was renovated and, during these major works, a new Billiards Room, Social room and associated facilities were built. These renovations cost approximately £40,000 and were a significant step in giving members, staff and Club officials the confidence that the Club was moving forward and could financially chart their directions – and, importantly, follow through to make their goals a reality.
Brings some sporting greats
In mid-1975, the Victorian Government revised the drink driving laws and the .05 limit was introduced. It was a move that had a dramatic effect on sporting activities and clubs and as our own Club evolved, we enriched our offering to members and visitors and worked hard to provide even more entertainment as a feature of our Club membership.
Scheduled events included the Yarraville Mouth Organ Band, a wine & dine evening and a Western night with Merv Lowry’s Country Ramblers. The Club also introduced new events and shows for Club members. The Super Sports Show encouraged members to “bring along your questions and they will be answered by champions”, such as Bill Jacobs, Max Walker, Kevin Sheedy, Peter Bakos and Peter Mills.
Function room opens
In 1984, the highlight for the Club and members was the new Function Room. The official opening of the impressive extension was Sunday, 17th June, 1984. The opening night attracted 500 guests to fill our new auditorium to capacity – a great sign of things to come.
This new facility allowed the Club to further extend its entertainment programme and catering facilities, including weddings, Football Club and League presentation evenings, as well as Big Band nights – cementing our reputation as an important community hub.
Change, Change and More Change
The early 1990s brought more changes, as the club went through a re-invention of itself. A new legal structure was established and a board of directors replaced the general committee of management and directors. Changes to the bar were made to encompass more of a “sports” feel. In 1991, it was unanimously voted that women become full members – a move embraced by the community. Entertainment and gaming avenues were introduced to the club. The club continued to support the community, becoming a Yarraville Festival sponsor in 1993. The second half of the 1990s involved expansion of the club through its master plan and renovations to the existing club site. Notably, Athena Vass and Sue Riley become the first female board members in 1999, the latter to become the first female chair of the board in the club’s history.
100 years on
The change of the millennium brought with it the 2000 award for the Best Social Club Venue for Victoria – a prestigious honour from Clubs Victoria Inc. The members’ bar and gaming room were key renovations in the early 2000s and the Club celebrated its 100-year birthday in 2005, with more awards of recognition from Clubs Victoria.
Yarraville Laugh & Yarraville Live
In 2013, Yarraville Club embarked upon a new direction and established `Yarraville Live’ & `Yarraville Laughs’. The vision was clear – to bring live music and live comedy `To the New West’, with well-known acts performing to huge crowds in the Club on a monthly basis.
The Yarraville Live launch event – a Bon Scott Tribute night in February 2013 – was huge and kicked-off the start of many great music events to come. When Mick Molloy sold out our first Yarraville Laughs show, it was clear the success was continuing.
The acts that perform here attract visitors from across Melbourne – and beyond. Doug Anthony All Stars, Michael Winslow from the USA, Effie, Dave Hughes, Jimeon, Lawrence Mooney, Denise Scott, Cal Wilson, Rhys Darby and Frank Woodley are just some of the stellar entertainers who have graced our stage.
The Live performances are just as impressive, with Tex Perkins, Mark Seymour, Bob Starkie, Ross Wilson, Glenn Shorrock, and a fantastic array of tribute shows that honour top-selling albums from rock legends, such as the Rolling Stones and Bowie.
It’s a program that has seen our Club honoured with the Industry peak body, `Community Club’s Victoria’ awarding Yarraville Club with “Best Entertainment Program”, 3 years in a row.
Reinvestment & Expansion
The Yarraville Club has reinvested into a modernisation and upgrade program that has seen the snooker & billiards room relocated to its new home at 175D Stephen Street to make way for a new Sports Bar and Lounge area. Many more renovations and upgrades are planned, including the completion of the outdoor alfresco area (scheduled to open late 2019) toilet upgrades (scheduled for mid-2019) and upgrading the Bistro area.