MUDGEE MENS CLUB
by Barbara Hickson
Architect and Heritage Adviser (c)
MUDGEE MENS CLUB
5 Lovejoy Street: for the Mudgee Club (circa 1906)
The property on which the Mudgee Club house is built was initially surveyed as part of Lot 2 Section 9 and granted to George Cox as a Crown grant on the 5th December 1838 along with all of the blocks in that section.
George and Elizabeth Cox later sold land through real estate agent Henry Crofsing (later spelt Crossing). At this time the street was known as Market Place and Robertson park opposite was the Market Square.
It is believed that this land may have been the site of the first Kellet store in Mudgee when young William Kellet and his partner Nicholls Powell opened a small temporary outlet for McArthur and Co. of Sydney. However the young store men soon moved to the Westend of Market Street.
The Mudgee Club building was probably constructed around 1906-1911 and designed by architect Harold Robert Hardwick. At that time he may have been an alderman on the Mudgee Council. 
John Broadley provides the following history of Harold Hardwick which is available on the Mudgee Historical Societies website http://www.mudgeemuseum.com/?i=523/mudgee-architect
Harold Robert Hardwick (A.I.A.) was born 6 November 1866 at Rylstone, sixth child and fifth son of John William Hardwick and Rebecca, nee White. John William Hardwick, born circa 1826, was a son of William Hardwick, a merchant of Leeds in Yorkshire, and his wife, Mary Ann, nee Farrar. William had died in 1840, and Mary Ann had subsequently remarried to Henry Oxley. John William's health and his relationship with his step-father prompted him to emigrate to Australia and in August 1852, at the age of 26, he set sail on the maiden voyage of the Great Britain to Melbourne. The Great Britain was the first vessel to be jointly powered by steam and sail.
Harold Hardwick's Briefs
· Many of Harold Hardwick's architectural briefs in the district are well-known, but there are also many houses and commercial premises in the town which may be attributed to him. Notable items, with approximate dates of design or construction, include:
· 5 Lovejoy Street: for the Mudgee Club ( c.1909)
Spenfield, at 73 Lewis Street, was for many years Harold Hardwick’s own residence. This original house (date of construction not known) survives and was extended in 2000.
Harold Hardwick also undertook numerous briefs in the Central West and beyond, where resident architects were no doubt rare. He designed a substantial Catholic Church for Moree, the plans for which survive but which does not appear to have been built. He also appears to have designed numerous buildings in his home town of Rylstone.
Part of a streetscape photo in the Mudgee Club dated 1921 and the work of a Sydney photographer HG McBurney of Castlereagh St Sydney. (Excerpt from a Photograph on the wall of the Mudgee Club. BjH)
The history of the Mudgee Club
The Mudgee Club[i] began its existence in 1900. In a letter to James Loneragan by Ted Loneragan in 1900 it is suggested that the club was created in an attempt to overcome the town’s “petty snobbery and class distinction in welcoming a wide variety of members.”
The first meetings were held in the back rooms of the offices of Crossing & Cox in Lovejoy Street (then Market place). Mr. GH Cox who was a grazier and very well known in the district, addressed the meeting and become the Club’s first president.
The club started its first bank account with the Bank of NSW on the 31st August 1900. At that time the president was GH Cox with vice presidents CD Mears, R Rouse jnr. and S Nickoll; secretary CJ Barker and at least seven committee members including GM Rouse, JH McEwen, JW Duesbury, ER Loneragan, Jas. Parker, HC Charlton and Henry Crossing.
Mr. GH Cox’s leadership of the club was short lived when he died at his house at Burrundulla, on 28th November 1901. The Sydney Morning Herald on 3rd December 1901 made reference to the many tributes to this pioneer whose funeral was held at
Mr. GH Cox First president of the Mudgee Club
A special purpose building was constructed on this site. Harold Hardwick the architect was engaged, possibly as early as 1906 to design the ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ house. The date of the opening was shown as Tuesday 15th June without a year noted, but 1909 was deduced as the likely year by R. Lamond. Herbert McPherson was secretary. (HM was secretary from 1909 to 1943 – so other possible opening years are 1915 and 1920. ) The opening was celebrated by a ‘smoke evening’. In a photograph of the occasion the building was not quite complete with front balustrade, pedestrian gate and path way still under construction.
The purpose of the club was largely social. They provided their members with a place to play billiards and pool, provided newspapers and periodicals such as the WW1 magazine called The Sphere, ran the occasional party such as New Year’s celebrations, made donations to good causes such as the Red Cross and they assisted with town events such as the centenary celebrations in 1921. (Perhaps this was when the McBurney photograph was taken below).
The Mudgee Club took out a liquor license, in July 1930.
The club was usually struggling to stay solvent and raised money by payment of member’s dues, sales of refreshments and having poker machines. From 1936 members who were 3 years in arrears for membership fees were expelled. It was not until 1939 that a finance committee was established. A mortgage on the property was paid off in 1942.
A club calendar in 1968 shows the clubs main activities being Billiards and Pool, Cricket, Golf and a Melbourne cup party with sweep. In 1973 card games were introduced where ladies were encouraged to attend.
There were various club renovations and extensions including repainting and more major additions and renovations in 1969 costing 4,000 pounds.
In 1976 alterations to the rear of the building included adding a cool room, and changes in the toilet areas.
Prior to this major additions to the east side of the building were planned but not executed.
The Club however did not thrive and various attempts were made to halt the financial decline. As a men’s only club it had become somewhat of an anachronism , belonging to an earlier period of time, whilst when it started it was probably considered ahead of its time.
In 2006 an extraordinary meeting was held to decide whether to amalgamate with the RSL or the golf Club. The Golf club was the decision but this was delayed for a year due to legislative changes. On the 25th November 2011, 110 years on from its inception, members resolved to wind up the club. The President at that time was CH Cox, a descendant of the founding president.
The lower plan has been developed from two existing plans of the building and on site building fabric. An undated plan indicates the fireplace between the Lounge and Bar which is no longer there. Otherwise the building still contains most of its original wall fabric. Ceilings were probably all pressed metal and some of these in the lounge- bar area have been removed.
Various items of fixed and loose furniture are still within the club rooms.
 History of Mudgee by Ernest Hume p 103
 Australian Town and Country Journal 6 sept 1905
 The Principal reference for this history is ‘The Mudgee Club’ by Robert Lamond A compilation of records.
 The nearest Tuesday 15th fell in 1909 when the man who sent out the invitations Mr. Herbert McPherson was secretary.