Melbourne’s Power House – a personal story

Did you know that Power House is one of the oldest established First Division Clubs in Victorian Rugby Union, with the first general meeting of the ‘Society’ being held in the Power House Club House on April 5 in 1933? The clubhouse on the lake was a popular venue for social occasions, including a regular Saturday night dance.

I previously had no idea that the clubhouse played an important part in people’s lives, even for those not involved in football. This was brought to life for me, by a story my grandfather told me about how Power House played an important part in his courtship with my grandmother. With a glow in his eye and a gentle rock of his recliner, Pa started to tell me about the popular social dance venue, the Power House Clubhouse where he and Nanny (Sheila) were regular attendees. They used to attend with Nanny’s brother, Uncle Bill and his girlfriend who became my Aunty Evie.

Following a long night of dancing, Nanny, Pa, Bill and Evie were fortunate enough to head home in style. Phoebe, the dodge, with running boards, side curtains and a big comfy back seat, always got the foursome home safe and sound. In a day when few people had cars, Nanny was lucky enough to borrow Phoebe from her father, who was a Caulfield grocer. Nanny, Pa and Bill would make their way home to Caulfield via Brunswick to drop off Evie. Bill and Evie had their chance to cuddle in the back seat on the way to Brunswick, where Bill would take the wheel while Nanny and Pa hopped in the back. A true gentleman, Pa would then walk home from Nanny’s.

This story, which walked me back in time, is strong in my mind whenever I attended functions at Powerhouse Rugby Union Club’s clubhouse. The entertainment may have been more sedate than the themed parties that Power House are now renowned for. I dare say  that night’s jungle outfits wont have a lot in common with the swirling dance frocks and sports coats of the 1930’s. This makes you wonder what will be happening at Power House in eighty years from now!