Club History


An early Melbourne Press Club flyer

Like many good ideas, the Melbourne Press Club was formed over dinner.

That meal, on November 30 1971, followed a successful media seminar attended by 125 journalists, editors, publishers and others, many of whom thought it would be good to get together more often.

A few weeks later, seminar organiser Tony Whitlock and chairman Patrick Tennison invited 21 people from metropolitan and suburban newspapers, magazines, radio and television to attend a dinner. Thirteen accepted and they voted to form the Melbourne Press Club. The first of the club’s monthly luncheons was addressed by the editors of the three metropolitan dailies – Harry Gordon (The Sun), Graham Perkin (The Age) and Cec Wallace (The Herald).

The club has thrived ever since and now has 500 members, its own journalism awards (the Quills) and administers the most coveted award in journalism, the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award.

The history of the club was first published in 1991 in book form as Informed Sources, by former club president and legendary columnist Keith Dunstan. This online version has been updated by Rick Swinard, a former corporate affairs manager of the Herald & Weekly Times, chief of staff of The Herald in Melbourne and Managing Editor of the Christchurch Star.



Chapter 1: The Search for a Well

Journalists have never been club people, but several such clubs existed until the formation of the Melbourne Press Club in 1971.


Chapter Two: Lunch at $5 a head

Chapter 2: Lunch at $5 per head

The club grows in membership and attracts some high profile speakers but develops a reputation as a political kiss of death.

Chapter Three: A legendary editor

Chapter 3: A remarkable editor

The passing of legendary Age editor Graham Perkin inspires the foundation of the Perkin Award in his honour.

Chapter 5: A woman president

Chapter 4: A Woman President

The Melbourne Press Club appoints its first female president, Woman’s Day and Woman’s Weekly Melbourne editor Freda Irving.

Chapter 5

Chapter 5: The Club in Crisis

The club enters the 90’s with its future in doubt. President Noel Tennison and his committee struggle to keep the MPC alive.

Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Lazarus Rises

Steve Harris is enlisted as president, and he handpicks a new committee, finds new sponsors and establishes the Quill Awards.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7: A Shovel for a Premier

Jeff Kennett receives a memorable gift after his Press Club address and a new award is created to honour the passing of a talented media lawyer.

Chapter 8

Chapter 8: The Power of Mandela

The club hosts former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela for a memorable afternoon interview.

Chspter 9

Chapter 9: The Push for Membership

Membership continues to rise and the club hosts a Prime Minister and a Premier on two consecutive days.

Chapter 10

Chapter 10: A Media Circus

The club embarks on a plan to hold a bona fide media circus with its 2004 Journalists Ball. The Quills continue to grow in stature.


Apply to join the Melbourne Press Club

Membership is $85 for journalists, $110 for associate members and $40 for students.

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