Opening of the Darwin Club

28 January 1996

The opening of the Darwin Club at its new location, Old Admiralty House, The Esplanade Darwin. The land was originally purchased by a postal worker and amateur botanist Florenz Bleeser in 1931; the dwelling was constructed in 1936. Blesser erected his home on one bock and established a small museum on the adjacent land, designing and planting a garden with unusual trees, palms and orchids in a shade house. Bleeser died during World War II and the family did not return to Darwin. The house continued as the home of the most senior naval officer in the north until 1983. It suffered minor damage during Cyclone Tracy and was used as an art gallery and coffee shop until early 1993. Thereafter it sat vacant until it became the new home for the Darwin Club forced to vacate rented space on the Esplanade. Member for Port Darwin Shane Stone committed to saving the Club and its relocation. Refurbishment funds were raised from the business community let by Neville Walker AM and Fraser Henry AM. Regrettably, the Club did not endure and was ultimately sold to developers who onsold it to famed Brisbane restauranteur John Kilroy who opened Chars Restaurant. The house is a good example of an amended Burnett "B" type tropical house, the grandest of a series of tropical designs by BCG Burnett. It is one of only two "B" type houses remaining in the Central Business District of Darwin. Lord Mayor George Brown, Hunter McPhee and Jim Cooper.

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