Since November 30, 1971.

History

History

Chapter 1: The search for a well

Journalists were never great club people, not in the traditional sense. Instead, they liked their pubs. 

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Chapter 2: Lunch at $5 a head

In 1973 the club was going well. It was thought good to have a president who was well known, one who had the ability to attract top speakers. Pat Tennison managed to attract an impressive array of politicians, including Don Dunstan, Premier of South Australia; Rupert Hamer, Premier of Victoria; Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister; Don Chipp; Billy Snedden; and Bill Hayden.

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Chapter 3. A remarkable editor

On 14 December, 1976, there was a lunch in the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria that was to give new prestige to the Melbourne Press Club. The memory of Graham Perkin was very fresh in all our minds. Perkin, editor-in-­chief of The Age, died suddenly of a heart attack on 16 October, 1975. He was 45.

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Chapter 4. A Woman President

Freda Irving was the club's first woman president. We had no idea of her age, but when she took over in 1978 we discovered she was 75. She had started at The Herald under the patronage of Keith Murdoch in 1926.

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Chapter 5. The club in crisis

Noel Tennison, like elder brother Pat, was one of the great pillars that supported the Press Club and kept it going. He was passionate about it. He kept every notice he received and spent countless hours hunting down new members.

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Chapter 6. Lazarus rises

The year was 1995 and Jim Clarke was worried. The club could not go on the way it was. Everything had been tried — subsidised lunches, tearful appeals on notice boards, wild Christmas parties. However, he did have an idea. Why not get someone in charge who had real clout, someone with a high profile, someone who could steer real resources their way.

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Chapter 7. A shovel for a Premier

Steve Harris was president for two years. He did not want to do a third. He said there was a sensitivity at The Age that the Herald & Weekly Times had taken over the Press Club. However, it was ironic that by this time Steve was back at The Age with the title of publisher and editor-in-chief. Better to share it around, so the new president was Mike Richards, number two at The Age, assistant publisher to Steve and also the finance director. 

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Chapter 8. The power of Mandela

Come 1999, the new club president was Neil Mitchell, an intriguing choice. Neil was the current affairs commenta­tor on 3AW and way in front as the top-rating radio man in Victoria. If John Howard, Kim Beazley or Peter Costello had something to say, they could not afford to overlook Neil. 

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Chapter 9. The Push for Membership

In 1991 ­– 20 years after the founding of the club – membership was still hovering under 200 and it was reasonable to question whether this was sufficient for a viable organisation. Certainly, this number was a very small proportion of the eligible membership in the dynamic media-rich city of Melbourne.

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Chapter 10. A media circus

In 2004, in a burst of social enthusiasm, the club staged a Journalists Ball that, just once, arguably overshadowed the Quills dinner. It was the brainchild of committee member Genevieve Brammall who wanted to put on a night like the Quills – ”but without the speeches.

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Apply to join the Melbourne Press Club

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

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