The Australian Association of Lyceum Clubs Inc. is an Association of five Australian Lyceum Clubs. It was formed in 1972/3 following the XVII Congress of the International Congress of Lyceum Clubs which was held in Melbourne in 1971, the first such meeting in the Southern Hemisphere. The AALC is managed by a Secretariat which rotates to a different state every three years. A constitution was drawn up in 1992, approved by the different Clubs, and by the Corporate Affairs Commission of South Australia. The AALC was registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) in 1999 to comply with Federal Government legal requirements. The logo, based on a design for the Lyceum brooch submitted by a member of the Zurich Lyceum Club in 1934, was registered in 1996 as a trademark, as was the logo with the name Lyceum.
The first womens Club in Australia was the Karrakatta Club in Perth, Western Australia, which was founded in 1894 to bring women together for mutual improvement and social engagement. Following the founding in 1904 by Constance Smedley of the Lyceum Club in London, several Lyceum Clubs were founded in Australia. In 1923 the members of the Karrakatta Club decided that their aims would be enhanced by becoming members of the International Association of Lyceum Clubs. Today the Karrakatta Club has nearly 400 members and provides regular lectures. The Club owns its own premises in the National Trust listed “Lawson” building in central Perth, and also offers accommodation.
The largest of the five Lyceum Clubs is the Lyceum Club in Melbourne with a membership in excess of 1300. It was founded on March 21, 1912 with a membership of 25 women. Using the example of the London Club, members had to be university graduates or distinguished in the field of art, music, literature, education or philanthropy and many early members were pioneers in their field. This requirement remains today. After renting premises for fifty years the Club purchased land and built premises in the heart of Melbourne. These premises were designed for women to use as a home away from home and have recently been renovated. The Club offers modern accommodation and rooms for meetings, dining and relaxation. A multitude of programmes are available to members during the day and in the evening. Currently the Club has 40 circles of interest ranging from writers, music, drama, finance, history, French, Spanish, Italian and German plus a large and active Bridge group. A member of the Lyceum Club in Melbourne, Caroline Travers, was the first International President of the IALC from the southern hemisphere.
The Lyceum Club in Brisbane was established in 1919 by a small group of women representing university graduates, and the teaching, journalistic, medical, dental and legal professions. They established the club in conformity with the Lyceum Club in London. They began with fifty members, and hired a room with a tiny kitchenette, the furniture and crockery donated by members, and the room available for use by members at any time. They met formally at night on the first Monday of the month, when evening dress was worn. The Club moved premises several times and sadly many of the records pre 1940 no longer exist. The present Club rooms are located in central Brisbane. The aim of the club is to share and foster interest in the arts, literature, music, science, education, journalism and current affairs.
The Lyceum Club in Adelaide was founded in 1922 when fifty five women prominent in artistic, musical and professional circles achieved their aim of starting a Lyceum Club based on the Lyceum Club in London. Qualifications for membership complied with those of the London Lyceum Club, with which it became affiliated a few months after its foundation. Rooms were leased initially, and in the following years the Club has moved several time settling in January 2000 into premises located within a heritage building in central Adelaide. Membership is currently 187 and there are seventeen circles which meet monthly.
The Lyceum Club in Sydney is the newest and smallest of the Australian Lyceum Clubs. It was founded originally in 1914, but with a dwindling membership it ceased to exist as a corporate entity in 1982. Eight years later the Club was revived. In 1992 it became a member of the IALC and the AALC. The Club has 87 members who meet regularly in the Union, University and Schools Club in central Sydney, with monthly luncheons, dinners, guest speakers and art and literary circles.