Like many good ideas, the Melbourne Press Club was formed over dinner.

That meal, on November 30 1971, followed a successful media seminar attended by 125 journalists, editors, publishers and others, many of whom thought it would be good to get together more often.

A few weeks later, seminar organiser Tony Whitlock and chairman Patrick Tennison invited 21 people from metropolitan and suburban newspapers, magazines, radio and television to attend a dinner. Thirteen accepted and they voted to form the Melbourne Press Club. The first of the club's monthly luncheons was addressed by the editors of the three metropolitan dailies - Harry Gordon (The Sun), Graham Perkin (The Age) and Cec Wallace (The Herald).

The club has thrived ever since and now has 500 members, its own journalism awards (the Quills) and administers the most coveted award in journalism, the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award.

The history of the club was first published in 1991 in book form as Informed Sources, by former club president and legendary columnist Keith Dunstan. In this online version, the manuscript has been updated by Rick Swinard, a former corporate affairs manager of the Herald & Weekly Times, chief of staff of The Herald in Melbourne and Managing Editor of the Christchurch Star.

Video: The Melbourne Press Club turns 40 - The top stories of 1972

Chapter 1: The Search for a Well


Chapter 2: Lunch at $5 per head


Chapter 3: A Remarkable Editor

Chapter One: The search for a well   Chapter Two: Lunch at $5 a head   Chapter Three: A legendary editor
Journalists have never been club people, but several such clubs existed until the formation of the Melbourne Press Club in 1971.   The club grows in membership and attracts some high profile speakers but develops a reputation as a political kiss of death.   The passing of legendary Age editor Graham Perkin inspires the foundation of the Perkin Award in his honour.

Chapter 4: A Woman President


Chapter 5: The Club in Crisis


Chapter 6: Lazarus Rises

Chapter 5: A woman president   Chapter 5    Chapter 6
The Melbourne Press Club appoints its first female president, Woman's Day and Woman's Weekly Melbourne editor Freda Irving.   The club enters the 90's with its future in doubt. President Noel Tennison and his committee struggle to keep the MPC alive.   Steve Harris is enlisted as president, and he handpicks a new committee, finds new sponsors and establishes the Quill Awards.

Chapter 7: A Shovel for a Premier


Chapter 8: The Power of Mandela


Chapter 9: The Push for Membership

Chapter 7   Chapter 8   Chspter 9
Jeff Kennett receives a memorable gift after his Press Club address and a new award is created to honour the passing of a talented media lawyer.   The club hosts former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela for a memorable afternoon interview.
  Membership continues to rise and the club hosts a Prime Minister and a Premier on two consecutive days. 

 Chapter 10: A Media Circus


Appendix A: All the Winners

  Appendix B: The Club Goes Online
Chapter 10
The club embarks on a plan to hold a bona fide media circus with its 2004 Journalists Ball. The Quills continue to grow in stature.
  A roll call of some of the best journalists in Australia - all the winners of the Gold Quill, the Perkin Award and more.
  Like most media organizations, the club has developed a strong online and social media presence over the last few years.