Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Geebung Polo Club

85 Auburn Road, Hawthorn East

Location

North-eastern corner of Auburn Road and Victoria Road, Hawthorn East.

Memories

The site of the first great reunion in 1996 when around 150 packed the pub. The image below shows the bar that we used. (Like everything else, it's a long time ago, but I seem to remember plans for the re-union were hatched at one of our regular Friday lunches, then at La Trattoria).

It was a sensational afternoon; the only drawback and one that saw us shift to the Whitehorse was that they didn't have a suitable room which could be more or less blocked off for a private function.

History

The hotel was originally (and unimaginably) simply the Auburn Hotel.

The hotel including 32 bedrooms was constructed in 1888 after new licensing laws in 1885 imposed stricter standards on hotel dining facilities and accommodation.

The freeholder and first licensee was R. C. Allan, who is said to have spent £7,280 on constructing the hotel on land he bought for £1,000 and then refused an offer of nearly double his outlay "as he had too high an opinion of Auburn to let it go".

The structure probably hasn't changed much over the years- the hotel was offered for sale in 1894, described as three-storey and 42 rooms, with a kauri and pine staircase and frontages of 123 feet to Auburn Road and 200 feet to Victoria Road.

For a period from 1945 through to the 1960s, the hotel was one of the best-known around Melbourne when it was run by former footballer and popular sports commentator, Ted Rippon, who employed several League stars including John Coleman (licensee from 1954)and Jack Dyer, both of whom eventually went on to establish their own hotels.

The Geebung Polo Club took its name from a famous poem penned by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson which was first published in The Antipodean in 1893

Today

I last called in their about five years ago and to be truthful, I couldn't see very much that had changed, either internally or externally since our one glorious afternoon there.

(above) The Geebung polo Club today (below) location map (bottom) The Auburn Hotel, 1975 The Sporting Globe, September, 1958 #top