THE HISTORY OF THE COMMERCIAL CLUB
Albury’s population was not even 6000 when the Commercial Club began. On 7th May 1902, 11 men met in the rooms of the Border City Club to form a new club to replace Border City. Auctioneer John Chenery chaired the meeting and in June was elected foundation president.
Membership fees were set at one guinea ($2.10). The name Commercial Club was adopted at the 7th May meeting and might have had something to do with an earlier club of the same name. The Club was founded as a professional and business gentlemen’s only club.
Peak business came during regular wool sales in the Wool Exchange, which were part of the Club premises from 1935 to 1978. The Club survived crises, including in 1916 when the whole committee was replaced. Its modern period begins in 1972 with the arrival of a new manager Mr. Bruce Duck and a succession of presidents and boards with vision for a great future.
Commercial Club scored many firsts – having Albury’s first poker machine almost 100 years ago – constructing two elevated bowling greens (the first of their kind in the state of NSW), to building the Borders’ first multi-level car park.
DID YOU KNOW
Gas chandeliers and hurricane lamps lit the Commercial Club rooms until 1916. In that year, the town council installed electricity supply and the Club was among its first customers.
The Club’s first poker machine was installed after members voted in August 1904 to buy one from the Hoffnugs company for five pounds.
Health attitudes were different in the early 1900’s. In 1928 the Club donated 1000 cigarettes to the Albury Base Hospitals patients. At other times it gave surplus cigarettes to prisoners in the Albury Jail.
Board decisions in 1947 include a rule that members must wear a shirt in the Club and that a water bag be suspended from the rear verandah for those members who did not want liquor.
Police complained to the Club several times in the 1920’s about Members leaving the Club after the official closing time of midnight. Club records show card players were the main offenders.
Commercial Club membership was not opened to anyone under 21 until 1997, though the voting age in Australia had been lowered to 18 in 1973. A special disco tavern for 18-21 year olds operated briefly in 1986.
Former Albury Mayor Cleaver Bunton was director, treasurer and auditor at different times. In 1950 the Club recorded a rare loss – of 128 pounds ($256) – and as auditor Bunton warned that its drinks were too cheap.
The first club bowling green was sown by greenkeeper George Gale in 1935 and some play took place that year until drainage problems delayed progress.
Squash courts were first opened at the Club in 1938, at a cost of 1100 pounds. The only other squash courts outside the capital cities at the time were in Mildura.
A pub called the Salutation Inn and the blacksmith’s forge of Johnny McEachern once stood on the Club’s Dean Street frontage. The Club secured the site in 1935 and built the Wool Exchange on the frontage and the club behind.
A new modern gymnasium was built in 2000 at a cost of $2m.
Founded as a men-only club in 1902 by 1972 there were only 800 male Members. Now there are almost 30,000 Members both male and female.
By 1972 there were 24 staff. The Club now has almost 300 staff.
Bowling dominated the Club activities from 1936 well into the 1970’s and women were permitted to join from 1971. At present the Club has 300 male and female players
As in 1902 the club belongs solely to members
Population in 1902 was not even 6,000. At present Albury population is approximately 45,600
The club displays three drums in the main lounge as a historic reminder of the 2/23rd (Albury’s Own) 2/23rd Infantry Battalion. The Club gave Capt. Albert Borella VC, 100 guineas towards the cost of a trip to London, where he was to meet Queen Elizabeth II. The 1914-1918 Veteran was also made an honorary member of the Club.
In the early 70’s profits for the year were approximately $15,000. In 2015 profit was $4.4M.
Winner of Club of the Year in 1988.
Forming in 1902 in Dean Street, the club now also owns the former Albury Golf Club, now the Commercial Club Resort. Purchased in 2004.
THE CLUB NOW
The Commercial Club located on Dean Street is in the heart of Albury’s business and shopping district. Only minutes from the airport and railway
The Club offers top quality, yet affordable, restaurants and an abundance of fresh regional produce making the Commercial Club a food lover’s delight.
Nowhere else in Albury will you find such exciting entertainment all in the one venue.
Commercial Club provides live bands every Wednesday to Sunday providing easy listening, dance and jazz music. Spectacular stage shows are featured monthly and spacious and luxurious bars featuring Keno and TAB facilities are open daily.
The Club’s conference and banquet facilities consist of 14 rooms including the Auditorium, the elegant Waratah Room and the versatile Banksia Room.
From Board Meetings of 12 to a gala dinner for 500 the versatility of the Commercial Club’s function room ensure that the perfect venue and supporting facilities are available to meet your every need.
The Club also has on site a superb Health and Fitness Centre which includes a Gymnasium, 4 squash courts, steam rooms and 2 elevated bowling greens.