Savage Club, Melbourne: Woman sues exclusive men-only club for 'sex discrimination' after sacking

A woman who worked for one of Australia’s most exclusive men-only clubs, where women are prohibited from joining and can only dine there as guests, is suing the 128-year-old institution for sexual discrimination.

Sharyne Railton, who worked as a member services manager at the elite Melbourne Savage Club for four months this year, is suing for more than $30,000 in damages.

Her lawsuit filed in Melbourne Federal Circuit Court and seen by Daily Mail Australia cites Savage Club general manager Sarath Fernando as allegedly discriminatory against her and others.

Ms Railton claims she was fired after she wrote a written complaint to the club’s chairman, Graeme Billings.

Tucked behind Melbourne’s Collins Street, the invite-only establishment has walls adorned with portraits of past presidents, including Australia’s longest-serving prime minister, Sir Robert Menzies. Instead of air conditioning, the club has punkahs, the manual ceiling ‘fans’ of colonial India.

Former Elite Savage Club member services manager Sharyne Railton is suing the men-only establishment for sexual discrimination and harassment after she claims she was yelled at and then fired.

The Invite-Only Establishment Tucked Behind Melbourne'S Collins Street Is A Stronghold For Melbourne'S Judges, Lawyers, Corporate Executives And Influencers – But Only If They'Re Male.

The invite-only establishment tucked behind Melbourne’s Collins Street is a stronghold for Melbourne’s judges, lawyers, corporate executives and influencers – but only if they’re male.

said Mrs. Railton the aussie that she and other female staff were harassed and yelled at within the strict jacket-and-tie dress code club, which is a stronghold for Melbourne judges, lawyers, business executives and powerful people.

When Daily Mail Australia telephoned the establishment, an employee said the club was unable to comment.

When she started working at the Club, Ms. Railton had written on her LinkedIn profile that the Savage Club was a “fascinating and unique men’s club” originally created for artists, musicians and performers to connect with potential patrons.

Members have included Liberal Party stalwarts, including former Victorian Prime Minister Ted Baillieu, influential Liberal Michael Kroger, comedian Barry Humphries and historian Geoffrey Blainey.

The Dining Room Of The Exclusive Savage Club (Above) Has Punkahs, The Manual Ceiling 'Fans' Of Colonial India, Instead Of Air Conditioning.

The dining room of the exclusive Savage Club (above) has punkahs, the manual ceiling ‘fans’ of colonial India, instead of air conditioning.

Past members include the late Melbourne Racing Club Chairman Peter Lawrence, broadcaster Alan McGilvray, former Prime Ministers Billy Hughes and Joseph Lyons, and painters Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Fred McCubbin and William Dargie.

The most prominent member, Robert Menzies, was also the club’s longest-serving president, from 1947 to 1962, flying back and forth from the Lodge in Canberra to club functions and club wine committee meetings.

The Club has its own motto, Harmonia et Sodalitas (Harmony and Brotherhood) and even has its own anthem, a drinking ‘boys’ song that is sung to drum on new members.

Former Victorian Prime Minister Ted Baillieu (Above With His Wife Robyn) And Several Australian Prime Ministers Have Been Members Of Melbourne'S Savage Club.

Former Victorian Prime Minister Ted Baillieu (above with his wife Robyn) and several Australian Prime Ministers have been members of Melbourne’s Savage Club.

Comedian Barry Humphries And A Long List Of Entertainers, Entertainers And Prime Ministers Have Been Members Of The Club.

The Powerful Of The Liberal Party, Including The Former Chairman Of The Victorian Party Michael Kroger, Have Been Members Of The Savage Club.

Comedian Barry Humphries and a long list of entertainers and prime ministers have been members of the club, along with Liberal Party powerhouses such as former Victorian party chairman Michael Kroger.

Named after Richard Savage, an 18th-century English poet who ended up in prison, this and its sister club in London were originally seen as a hideout for the “bohemian gentleman” to gather or gather to go hunting or other excursions.

During the 1980s, a challenge to admit women into its 500 strong ‘Brother Savages’ membership was successfully met.

One of its most enthusiastic members was the late rogue businessman and former State and Federal Chairman of the Liberal Party and Chairman of the Carlton Football Club, John Elliott.

When a bankrupt Elliott was ousted for some unstated reason after 32 years of membership in 2005, members fell silent and refused to speak.

A former chairman of the club, John Tidey (a former executive of the Age newspaper) told the Financial Review at the time: ‘We have a longstanding convention that what happens inside the club stays there. Of course, we are not talking about individual members.

The Walls Of The Savage Club Are Adorned With Portraits Of Former Presidents, Like This Painting Of Australia'S Longest-Serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, Which Hangs In The Long Room.

The walls of the Savage Club are adorned with portraits of former presidents, like this painting of Australia’s longest-serving prime minister, Sir Robert Menzies, which hangs in the Long Room.

The Chairman Of The Liberal Party And Carlton Football Club Was Sacked In 2005 For Reasons Unstated By The Club Which He Said He Had

The Liberal Party and Carlton Football Club chairman was sacked in 2005 for reasons unstated by the club which he said had “a long-standing convention that what happens within the club stays there”.

Melbourne Human Rights Lawyer Julian Burnside Was Forced To Leave The Club Under Electoral Pressure As A Greens Candidate That The Men-Only Establishment Was An Anachronism.

Melbourne human rights lawyer Julian Burnside was forced to leave the club under electoral pressure as a Greens candidate that the men-only establishment was an anachronism.

In 2019, then-Greens candidate and Melbourne human rights lawyer Julian Burnside was forced to leave the club under electoral pressure that it was an example of traditional male dominance and prestige and that “people-only clubs of the same sex are a relic of the past.

Sharyne Railton’s assertions about the inner workings of the club through her lawsuit are understood to be unwelcome.

During his time there, the Savage club hosted society meetings and drinks in the Savage’s small upstairs bar.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Officer and Mediation Counselor, Ms. Railton’s tenure at the Savage Club included coordinate the self-publishing of the club’s weekly newsletter and the club’s menu for musical and etiquette events, as well as process membership applications, take reservations and secretarial tasks.

She claims the loss of ten weeks of annual salary of $63,900, plus compensation and damages.

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