On Edward Street in Brisbane sits the Tattersall’s Club carrying 150 years within its foundations and a history of male-only members. While the heritage listed building still stands, its gender-specific discrimination is crumbling away with the club finally voting in favour of allowing women to become members.
Tattersall’s Club was founded in 1865 by a group of men prominent in both business and in the thoroughbred horse racing industry in Queensland. This group has grown over the years to accommodate more than 5000 members in what it describes as one of Australia’s most prestigious private Membership Clubs.
Tattersall’s Club president, Stuart Fraser said the vote was initiated after feedback from members who wanted to address declining patronage. “This ballot follows the most extensive consultation in the club’s history — our members told us they needed us to amend the dress code, dining options and our membership model to reverse a decline in usage of our great club,” he said. “Members told us financial stability was the most important attribute of the club, followed by affordable membership — they told us to focus on increasing patronage and encouraging more people to join, especially our families.”
Female relatives and friends had previously been allowed into the club as guests only and when male members voted on whether to allow women to become members twelve years ago, the motion was defeated. Although the vote was close this time round with 1405 members voting in favour of the change and 1368 voting against, women will now have the option to become members, creating positive outcomes for the club. Mr Fraser said the change was a significant moment for the club as it has “been part of Queensland’s history for more than 150 years,” and has “evolved continuously over that time”.
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