Brimbank's Hidden Gems: Hunt Club Community and Arts Centre
Much like Brimbank itself, part of the current day charm of the Hunt Club comes from its diverse and significant history.
Located in the heart of suburban Deer Park at 775 Ballarat Road, Council’s Hunt Club Community and Arts Centre began life as a hotel in the 1880s. Today the Hunt Club is a centre that offers both community and arts activities, and is home to arts exhibitions and Artist-in Residence programs.
If you’ve never visited the Hunt Club, pop in the next time you’re in the neighbourhood.
Last year Brimbank Council expanded the function of the Hunt Club from ‘a community arts centre’ into a ‘community and arts centre’ which offers neighbourhood house as well as arts activities.
This has created a better space where the community comes together to meet and, create and share art, culture and wellbeing activities. As a result, the number and variety of activities has increased, along with the diverse community group meetings held at the Hunt Club.
Drop in to check out the activities.
Hunt Club’s colourful past
What is now Deer Park suburb began life as a farm for deer. It’s said that the wealthy eastern suburb folk would come and hunt deer back in the 1800s, giving rise to the name of the area and later on to the Hunt Club.
First constructed back in 1886, the Hunt Club was originally built as a hotel to serve the traffic to Ballarat and the Western District. It stood out in the local district with its two-storey structure and wrap around veranda - which still stand today with the addition of a single storey brick building added in 1930.
Once gold was discovered, it played a significant local role in connecting the farming community of Deer Park, and the Deer Park explosives factory (the Australian Explosives & Chemicals Company, formerly the Australian Lithofracteur Company).
For 50 years the building also became the property of ICI Australia (now Orica) being used as a staff residence and later as a training and research centre.
The City of Sunshine purchased the Hunt Club and adjoining oval from ICI in 1982 and converted it into a community arts facility, which was officially opened by Joan Kirner in 1985.
The Australian Bicentennial Authority and the City of Sunshine contributed funds toward the restoration of the centre and The Hunt Club Community Centre was officially opened in November 1988, by then Federal Minister for Lalor, Dr Jim Cairns.
The Sunshine and District Historical Society is still based at the Hunt Club in the original caretaker’s cottage (built 1930).
There’s also whisper about a resident ghost, some say that her presence is still felt to this day.