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Home History Isis Club now 100 years on from being gentlemen only

Isis Club now 100 years on from being gentlemen only

Isis Club
The Isis Club in the 1930’s with members and spectators watching a game of bowls.

Operating a club today where women are excluded as members would be unthinkable – and unlawful.

However, that was precisely the circumstances that existed 100 years ago with the formation of the first “gentlemen’s club” in Childers.

Formed under the name of the Isis Quoit and Athletic Club in 1920, the Isis Club as it is known today, has grown with the Childers community.

From a modest initial membership of around 44 invited foundation members, the Isis Club has expanded to a social club of around 1200 members.

Anyone with visions of the original club hosting male members of the town’s “elite”, reclining in high backed leather chairs, smoking cigars and enjoying a game of billiards or cards on felt topped tables may well have conjured up a reasonably accurate picture of the club of yesteryear.

Isis Club Inc manager Kerry Smythe said the club’s centenary celebrations will be observed on the weekend of April 17 to 19 with around 100 guests invited to the centenary dinner.

Isis Club
The Isis Club required a license to operate the sole billiard table it had on the premises in 1920.

Name changes part of Isis Club's evolution

The Isis Club has certainly evolved over its 100 years having undergone several name changes, introduced a bowling club in 1922, seen extensions, the installation of poker machines and an artificial bowls green.

“It must have been an auspicious occasion in Childers on May 23, 1919 when six prominent local businessmen, led by local solicitor JJ Butler, met to discuss the formation of a social club,” said Kerry.

“It was moved on the night that “the time has arrived when a Club, under the Liquor Act of Queensland, should be established.”

Ms Smythe said from a list of around 80 names tabled as “probably eligible members” the meeting selected 55 gentlemen they considered as being suitable to form the basis of a foundation members for the purpose of the club’s registration.

“Those inaugural members, led by President JJ Butler, became the cornerstone of what the Isis Club is today. The Club is still run by a Board voted in each year by Club members.

“It’s interesting to note that in 1955 the club, then known as the Isis Bowls Club, was reconstituted and renamed the Isis Club.

“As the first applicant in Queensland for a Registered Club License, the club was allocated the Number One Club License in Queensland,” she said.

“The men only status continued until 1977 when women were finally admitted as equal members.

“The Isis Club has experienced its share of lean times, but it has always been through the support of its members that the club has been able to battle through and achieve this milestone anniversary.

“Purchasing additional land and the opening of three rinks in 1923 saw the birth of the Isis Bowling Club which was, and still is, affiliated with the Isis Club,” said Kerry.

Club president Ian Putt said the organisation could be proud of its history and the manner in which it had supported the social life in the Isis District.

Isis Club
With the Isis Club set to mark its centenary in April Club Manager Kerry Smythe and President, Ian Putt, proudly display the Club’s 1955 Number 1 license as the first registered licensed club in Queensland.

“The club continues to play a community role in supporting other organisations either financially or in kind. That sort of financial support was evident particularly in the 1939-45 war years with our meeting records showing donations to groups like the London Bombing Victims.

“The club creates employment and provides dining, sporting and recreational amenities for the benefit of its members and their guests.

“A lot of people have contributed their time and talents over the past 100 years to get the club to the position it finds itself in today,” said Ian.

“We look forward to welcoming to our celebrations many people who have contributed to the success of the club and helped write the pages of its history.”

Timeline:

  • 1919    Inaugural meeting to form Isis Quoit and Athletic Club
  • 1920    Club officially opens on April 10.
  • 1923    Official opening of the greens at Isis Bowls Club
  • 1941    Club renamed Isis Bowls Club
  • 1955    Club is reconstituted and named the Isis Club
  • Club granted Licence Number 1 as the first applicant in Queensland for a Registered Club Licence
  • 1977    Women admitted as members
  • 1979    Name change to Isis Memorial Club
  • 1982    Name change to Isis Club
  • 1992    Name change to Isis Club Inc.
  • 2009    Artificial bowls surface and shade covers installed

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