A Brief History of the Riverine Club
On November 24th 1881 a meeting was held at the home of Mr W.J. Taylor of Wagga Wagga. There were twelve gentlemen present. Over port and cigars, it was resolved that a club be formed and called the Riverine Club. The committee formed consisted of a president, two vice presidents and eight other members. Although, it is not clearly recorded, the aims of the club are thought to resemble other such male institutions throughout the British Empire. Indeed, the Riverine Club's priceless leatherbound volumes of Punch from Victorian times probably best attest to this.
The original club house was leased from Dr M O’Connor who had occupied the building since 1873. The building was originally the first public school in Wagga Wagga, built in 1860. However, in 1872 the pupils were thankfully removed. It was in 1890 that the Riverine Club was able to purchase the building outright for twelve hundred and fifty pounds.
Portions of the Club's Library and Reading Room are the only sections of the early school which remain in the present building. Completion of the present billiard area was in 1890 to the plans of local architect George Sheppard for four hundred and twenty eight pounds. We have kept the receipts just in case things don't work out. This room today remains a wonderful feature of the club. In 1906, a NSW Liquor Act determined that the Club was to provide accommodation for its members. In its wonderfully glacial pace, by 1925 the Club managed to get around to this demand and purchased an adjacent two story building to provide the charming accommodation we enjoy today.
In 1930, major alterations and extensions were carried out to the plans of Melbournian architects Messrs Bunnet & Alsop and as a result the building was completely transformed. The entrance was transferred to Sturt Street and approached via a deep arched colonnade across the new façade. The original pressed metal ceilings, timber joinery and timber furniture remain today.
The War Time Club
During the Second World War, the Riverine Club was utilised by the RAAF and American Air Force officers. Flight training was conducted in Wagga Wagga and surrounding districts. After the war, the club officially returned to being a Gentleman’s club.