On January 16th 1882 a meeting was held in Launceston, where it was resolved to form “…a club for the association of gentlemen residents in Northern Tasmania to be called the “Launceston Club”, consisting of sixty-four original members and such other members as may be hereafter admitted”. Early Club records show that there were fifty-seven original members and a further twenty-two members from the first election on February 27th 1882. The Honorable George Gilmore was elected President, and it was decided to have both Town and Country members.
An advertisement appeared in “The Examiner” newspaper on January 19th, 1882 seeking “six rooms centrally located”. Mr. Peter Mills offered his Brisbane Street house, shop and timber yard situated at 59 Brisbane Street for $8,000, and agreement to purchase was made with “possession of the Club House to be taken on November 1st 1882”.
A sub-committee was empowered to raise a sum not exceeding $6,400 on mortgage, and up to $3,000 in debentures. The funds were required to complete the purchase of the Club House and to carry out necessary alterations including the creation of a billiard room at the rear of the existing premises.
Evidence of occupation soon after settlement date November 1st 1882 is supported with the House Steward’s engagement on November 29th and instructions to the Secretary to make arrangements for boarding the servants from February 1st. 1883. By March, “the Secretary was temporarily staying in the Club House to enable more active supervision of the servants and household arrangements”. The first “House Dinner” was held on August 13th, 1883 on the occasion of the opening of the Billiard Room.
In April 1925 a proposition to dispose of the Brisbane Street Club House and to purchase “Nyllavert House” in Tamar Street from the Estate of the late Dr. Charles Parker, was put to the Committee. (Dr. Parker’s wife was a daughter of an original founder of the Club, William Barnes Jnr Esq.). Later, on May 12th 1925 a Special General Meeting approved the purchase of Nyllavert for $7,000.
In July 1925 it was agreed to sell the old Club House premises to Mr. F J Gunn for $10,000, and J & T Gunn were to carry out alterations and additions to the new premises at a cost of $5,000. The works included the eastern and southern addition to the building, i.e. bar room, toilets, billiard room, dining room and kitchen on the ground floor, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and servants’ quarters on the first floor. The work was completed in January 1926.
The Annual Report for 1926 states that “on January 14th 1926, breakfast was served in the old Club House and lunch in the new”. Two weeks later a successful Club Ball was held in the new rooms. The car park behind the Club House was purchased in July 1963.
In more recent times the Club House has been extensively renovated and refurbished to maintain a high standard of facilities for members and their guests.
The Club is fortunate in having every minute book from the first meeting in 1882. The Ledgers and account books from those early years are in good condition, and the Honorary Members books contain names of visitors from many countries and from what were referred to then as the 'other colonies’.
The first recorded gift of pictures, was in 1896. Since then, paintings, fine prints and engravings, together with items of furniture and silverware have been donated. Many members have donated their debentures and some life members the equivalent of their subscription. However, the most valuable gift is the time, effort and determination of the members, particularly the office bearers, to ensure the on-going success of the Club.
Due to changes in modern society, a decision was taken to admit ladies as members following a number of special general meetings during 2000 and 2001. The first lady members were admitted in August 2001.
A proposal was made to the Lady Franklin Club in 2002 to amalgamate with The Launceston Club. The members of both Clubs agreed to the proposal in December 2002 and Lady Franklin Club members became members of The Launceston Club Inc. on January 1st 2003.