I was taken to lunch at the Australian Club today. It’s quite a strange phenomenen. In a modern (well 60s) office building, the club has three or four floors decorated in late Victorian english style (to ape the London club it is trying to be). I was in the guests dining room, didn’t make the inner sanctum. I enquired of my host how he became a member, and discovered to my amazement that it was a men-only club! I had no idea they still existed, and said so.
Apparently some of the men-only clubs around Sydney are debating whether they should let women in because their membership is declining, but this club is still going OK, even though the average age of members is mid-60s.
I’m not sure that letting women in would make that much difference; even my host said that clubs were really needed back in the days that there weren’t many restaurants around town; these days, it’s much easier to take someone out to a nice restaurant somewhere.
There are probably fewer people around these days who would be impressed with an invitation to an “exclusive” club – even letting aside the sexist aspect (which certainly didn’t impress me once I realised). And if the average membership is in their mid-60s, the quality of the business contacts is probably not as good as it might once have been.
So hopefully these clubs will whither into a genteel decline, as they become irrelevent.