The R.A.C.V. is considered one of the premier table sports venues of the whole country with its magnificent 8 table room housed in their headquarters on Bourke St. in the city of Melbourne.
It is and has been, the home of the Australian National Snooker Championships continuously since 2003 except for the year 2004 when it was held in Brisbane to help accommodate the R.A.V.C.s move from Queens Street to their new home in Bourke Street. This tournament is rightly considered the pinnacle of any Australian player’s career outside any possible international success.
The room is situated on the ground floor with very easy access both from the underground carpark and the main entrance on Bourke Street down one flight of a sweeping circular staircase. There is a bar with very comfortable seating next to this room where both liquid and solid refreshment can be sourced from the very friendly staff.
The Billiard room itself has one table at each end of the room with more than ample space around each of them, table 1 to the left as the room is entered and table 8 in a pit with excellent spectator facilities to the right. The other six tables are arranged at right angles to tables 1 and 8 and between them. The odd numbered tables, 3, 5 and 7 on the far side of the room when entering and the even ones, 2, 4 and 6 on the nearside.
The odd numbered tables on the far side each stand beside a raised platform with chairs and a small table for the players or spectators and with a scoreboard affixed to the wall behind.
These areas are bounded by glass display cabinets which house some magnificent and ancient trophies and other Snooker and Billiards artefacts. The floor of this room is also covered in a deep and luxurious patterned carpet.
The opulent effect created is tempered somewhat for the referees by the lack of easy access to the scoreboards on the far side because of the constant stepping up or down that raised platform to reach them and the dearth of space on the nearside between the scoreboards there and the sides of the even numbered tables. Similarly, table 1 has a downside to the relatively vast amount of space around it with what can sometimes be a long walk to the scoreboard, at one end and to the side, if positioned at the opposite end of the table at the conclusion of a player’s scoring visit.
The show table in the pit at the opposite end of the room has no such negative connotations with the scoreboard positioned centrally to the far side of the table and within easy reach. This scoreboard is unique due to the fact that a mistake was made when the rollers were hand printed with numbers whereby the number 32 on the top roller was omitted in favour of the number 33 being repeated twice.
Table 8 itself is also unique, in Melbourne at least, with its magnificently grained timber rails and carved legs. It also sits in more than ample space and is a pleasure for referees and players alike due to this very rare feature.