History of the Tripe Club
The Tripe Club of Victoria was established in the late 1980s, and notably amongst it's founders was the late Michael Henry Winneke, solicitor and sportsman. The Club is now seen both from within and beyond as a well established luncheon association, within the RACV Club, which shares an intriguing heritage, an enduring legacy, and an extraordinary ancient culinary culture.
Michael Winneke, in forming the Tripe Club of Victoria, established a clear link to this heritage and legacy associated with tripe and it's consumption. This is formally recognised in the Grace which is used by the Club's President in opening each session of the Victorian Tripe Club:
Benedictus benedicadum, Tripus Invictus ad nauseum,
per Jesum Christum domenum nostrum, et Tripus addictum
'Tripus Invictus ad nauseum' - the ambiguity that exists in the use of the Latin word tripus not only defines the broad purposes of the Tripe Club but it also provides an obvious symbol for the luncheon club. On one hand, tripus is used to mean tripe, on the other, a tripod - a piece of furniture, a devise utilised by both ancient Greek and Roman oracles to assist in their tasks of explaining riddles or solving dilemmas for their enquirers.
It is ironic indeed because the notion of tripus can be understood in two ways. The ancient oracles and soothsayers foretold the future by placing the entrails (tripe) of animals on a burning tripodal cauldron, and reading the signs. It is an overarching symbol, emblem or even logo for an association such as the Tripe Club of Victoria because it can focus our attention on the association's origins, heritage and enduring legacy.
This intriguing heritage can be book-ended at one end with records of tripe use dating to around 500BC, and contemporarily at the other end with the existence of the Tripe Club of Victoria, some 2,500 years later.
Tripe was not only revered as a specialty food in both the ancient Greek and Roman worlds but was also featured in what is generally considered to be the first written cookery book in the Western World. Records exist to suggest tripe was used extensively, with Graeco-Roman recipe books dedicated to its use. With the arrival of the Renaissance in Western Europe, a fascination with ancient Graeco-Roman culture flourished and saw a resurgence of not on the culture itself, but the renewed value of tripe.
An enduring legacy, which is derived directly from our Anglo-Australian colonial beginnings, with direct links to the emerging club movement as we now know it, and continue to experience in Australia and New Zealand. It is important to note that this legacy is synonymous with, and shares in a similar evolution and development, related to the formation of the 'gentlemen's clubs' and associations, found in both England and Europe, as well as around the globe. It is a legacy the Tripe Club of Victoria, similarly shares, and which is also conveniently booked ended along a club-legacy continuum - and this connection is dramatically demonstrated in Jonathon Swift's satire, the Swan Tripe Club (1701).
An extraordinary ancient culinary culture, which draws on key elements identified in the heritage, and legacy found in the long history surrounding the variety meat - tripe, and it's consumption. This enduring presence throughout Western culture, with it's subsequent culinary evolution and development in national and regional cuisines has clearly encouraged contemporary culinary and community associations to continue the focus on tripe as a specialty food, and to acknowledge its cultural contribution.
It has continued to create the growth of new 'luncheon clubs' and associations in Australia, with tripe clubs now in Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Brisbane and Sydney to mention just some of the well-established associations. In Europe, the understanding and consumption of tripe is seen in a different light, with specialty butcher shops dedicated solely to variety meats such as tripe.
France, in fact, has been the centre of such culinary excellence in the sponsorship of tripe through the existence of such bodies as Le Conferie Gastron de Triperie de Caen, in Normandy.
Refer to our Events Past page for a list of previous Luncheon guest speakers.
You can view a list of Life & Foundation Members of the Tripe Club of Victoria here.