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First known Clubhouse photo
Clubhouse around 1900
A group of Tanunda men around 1900


Petitioning for the formation of the Club
On the 17th of November, 1891, a group of Tanunda men met in deep discussion. Many things were perturbing them. All around were signs of a severe economic depression, perhaps the worst that Australia had ever known. They were concerned that the local grape growing and wine producing industries needed to be carefully nurtured. This was particularly important because many new ventures had begun in the last few years, most notably G. F. Cleland’s enormous winery at Chateau Tanunda.

The men who attended the meeting, among them citizens of the stature of John Basedow, Messrs Goerecke, Kassebaum, Ohlmeyer, Nettlebeck, Schrapel and Till, also expressed concerns about the attitude of local hoteliers, who did not seem to care about fostering the wine and brandy industry of the Barossa Valley. They believed the hoteliers’ self-interests to be traitorous and reprehensible.

As the group considered the perilous state of the times, they were aware of Tanunda’s strong community heritage and their deep interest in culture, music and social activity. Apart from the Institute building at the end of Murray Street, and the unruly local hotels, there was nowhere to go for civilised society and fellowship. How to remedy this situation was foremost in the minds of these men. Twenty of them, motivated to action, signed a petition requesting the formation of a club to ‘promote the convivial enjoyment of its members and to further the interests of the town generally’.

Three days later, on the 20th November, 1891, another meeting was held to decide on how best to respond to this petition. By this time, draft rules had been prepared and R. H. Goerecke read them out in English and German.

Draft rules of The Tanunda Club:

1. The association shall be entitled ‘The Tanunda Club’.
2. The object of the association shall be
a) To provide suitable premises containing rooms where-in shall be held meetings of the members and others to discuss questions of interest to the members.
b) To provide books, papers, periodicals, stationery, entertainment, games, refreshments, and any literary or scientific material, which may be useful or entertaining to members.
c) To encourage and promote Art, Science, Literature.
d) Generally to promote the happiness, comfort and welfare of the members and other colonists.

Goerecke also added the condition that members could participate in the activities of the club from the age of 18 years, if they paid the necessary entrance fees. The era dictated that social club members could be males only.

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