“The Fairfield Canoe Club closed their active outdoor season recently with their first Annual Club Championship Race. Mr.L.Cohen (Fairfield) kindly donated the trophy for the event. The race was run off in three heats, and the final resulted in a win for A.Lucke, by a length and a half from J.Reeves, with B.Kerr third. In the evening a social and dance were held in the club’s room, which was well attended by the members and their friends, and was thoroughly enjoyed. The winter programme is now being considered, and promises to cater well for the members during the winter evenings. The main features will include smoke nights, game nights, dances, and social evenings.”
The winter programme is now being considered, and promises to cater well for the members during the winter evenings. The main features will include smoke nights, game nights, dances, and social evenings.”
What was “Table Talk”?
Where were the club’s rooms located in 1920?
What is a “smoke night”?
Your questions answered
1. Wikipedia states - Table Talk was a weekly magazine published from 26 June 1885 until 1939 in Melbourne, Australia. It was established in 1885 by Maurice Brodzky (1847–1919), who obtained financial assistance to start his own publication after resigning from The Herald.
Table Talk was a social magazine for men and women that included articles about politics, finance, literature, arts, and social notes. Its gossip style attracted readers with articles about local notables and famous people from overseas commenting on, among other things, their fashion, relationships, and social engagements. It was most popular during Melbourne's boom in the 1880s.
2. I am unable to discover the site of the “FCC club room” mentioned. Perhaps they had access to a room at the Fairfield Partk Boat Shed where the club started? Correspondence in the General Topics section of The Argus makes mention of contacting the FCC at 123 Bastings Street, Northcote. The author of the article was the Hon Secretary of FCC, Mr. H.De La Rue who may, of course, have resided at this address. However, it seems, our club did not have a formal clubhouse on the river unti 1926.
Large groups of Australian men gathered in a venue to smoke tobacco together in what they termed a smoke night. These lasted until the early 1940s. These events were socially significant, and often coupled with a formal dinner, an annual general meeting or a musical revue. While the full spectrum of Australian men participated in smoke socials—from Parliamentarians through to Port Kembla workers—the smoke night held an allure of classy behaviour and social respectability for participating men. Smoke socials were run by football clubs, charitable organizations, civic organizations, trade unions, and governments.