Tattersall’s Club Brisbane: Members vote to allow women to join men-only club
The exclusive Tattersall’s Club will allow female members for the first time in its 150-year history.
The results of a ballot in which members voted on whether or not to allow women to join were announced today. The motion was carried 1405 votes to 1368 and 242 informal, after a month-long debate and a broader push for women to be allowed into the club. Tattersall’s Brisbane was one of the last men-only clubs in the country and describes itself as “one of Australia’s most prestigious private membership clubs” and a “home away from home” for its members.
The club picks about 100 people to be honorary members; usually a selection of prominent and influential men, including sports stars and politicians. Under the now-dumped rules, women could previously only go into the club if they held a “partner card”, as a guest or were attending a function. But they couldn’t become members.
Over the past decades, there have been two previous ballots in favour of opening the club’s doors to women but both failed.
Tattersall’s Club president Stuart Fraser said the motion received an unprecedented response from members.
“A total of 63 per cent of our membership participated in the ballot … the highest for a motion in Tattersall’s Club history,” he said.
“This is a significant moment for Tattersall’s Club — we have been part of Queensland’s history for more than 150 years, and we have evolved continuously over that time.
“We welcome the women in our families, the women in our lives, and the women in our communities.”
But others have slammed the decision on a website set up to campaign against female membership.
“The club is a good refuge for men from the bombardment of daily business life (and to some extent women),” one member, Nick, wrote.
“It is important that is preserved. We need some quiet time to have a bit of lunch, read the papers, gather our thoughts, have a quiet chat with a mate, get a hair cut etc. etc.
“Reports in the press that the Queensland Labor ministers will boycott a male-only club is all the reason needed to keep it that way.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last month called the club “out of step” with modern Australia by not allowing women to become full members.
Sydney’s Tattersall’s Club allowed women members in 2013, but other men-only clubs remain, including The Athenaeum Club and the Savage Club, both in Melbourne, The Australian reports.
The club was founded in 1865 by “a group of gentlemen” in the Queensland thoroughbred horse racing industry.