For members and their guests : a history of clubland in New South Wales 1880-1980

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2010
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- This thesis charts the history of registered clubs (clubland) in New South Wales during the 100 year period beginning in the 1880s. It examines their emergence as a popular movement during the 1930s to become mass leisure institutions in the postwar period. It argues that the postwar suburban club in New South Wales was the product of a confluence of historical circumstances, including six o'clock closing (and the associated anti-brewery and hotel sentiment which developed), changing attitudes towards drinking and leisure and access to poker machine revenue. The thesis also explores the presence of poker machines in clubs from the early 1900s and the reasons why they gain a stronghold when the other states stamped them out. It is argued that that the decision by the Cahill State Labor Government to legalise the machines in 1956 was based on the genuine belief that a social benefit flowed from this source of revenue in the form of accessibility to club life for the ordinary working man. The thesis contends that a related factor was the dominance of working class political and cultural values in postwar New South Wales. The thesis also examines the central place of poker machine revenue in shaping the particular physical, material and cultural form that clubs took in postwar New South Wales. The significance of clubs as cultural sites and their political and economic leverage in New South Wales is also explored. It concludes that, just as the rise of clubs as a popular movement occurred within the context of rapid social and cultural change in Australia as it became a modern industrial society after the Second World War, their demise was also part of the same process which occurred in the 1970s. The question is also posed as to whether larger clubs have ceased to be genuine mutual associations providing any real social benefit.
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