Brief History of the Club
The University Club provides a convivial setting for members and their guests to meet and dine, plus function rooms available to the public. Membership is available to University alumni, current and past staff, and students enrolled in Honours and higher research degrees.
The Club’s origin can be traced back to 1957 when the Royal Commission into the University of Tasmania, sparked by the ‘Orr Case’, recommended that the University provide suitable accommodation for the ‘Senior Common Room’ in the new Students Union Building on the Sandy Bay campus.
When most of the university relocated to Sandy Bay in 1958 Dr Geoff Cheeseman, newly arrived lecturer in chemistry, was the prime mover in seeing that a space was provided in the newly built Student Union Building. This was in part made possible by the efforts of staff members who ran what was at the time the biggest Art Union raffle in Tasmania. The government of the day promised to match the funding and according to all accounts was embarrassed by having to contribute 25,000 Pounds. The first prize was a Ford Falcon car, and someone donated a pony; the appeal was launched by Sir Robert Menzies.
In 1964 the Senior Common Room was well established in the Student Union Building but under pressure to vacate the space. Most of the lecturing staff were members and dined there regularly. It was at that time when the University Council, no doubt mindful to placate the academic staff after a decade of division, found funds to build the first part of the building now occupied by the University Club.
During Dr Alan Bray’s presidency a second room, which now bears his name, was added to the Club building. Both the Geoff Cheesman and Alan Bray rooms have since been renovated several times, with the Alan Bray room now featuring full video conferencing facilities.
Around the time of Alan Bray’s presidency the Senior Common Room membership widened to include all staff of the university and was renamed the University Staff Club. Later, with postgraduate students joining, it became what it is now known as today: the University Club.
The biggest problem in the Club’s early days was finding and keeping good caterers. We have been very fortunate to enjoy the service that Christine and her ‘Pickled Pear’ staff have provided for the past 20 years. They are for most members and guests the face of the Club, and help keep it a welcoming and enjoyable place to be.