In 1872, a decision was taken to amalgamate the activities of several sporting clubs such as the hockey, football, golf, cricket, gun and boat clubs into one association and, as an early brochure published by the Club decreed, "to offer young sportsmen of small means the opportunity of indulging their proclivities at a minimum cost to themselves and at a maximum production of enjoyment to the general public". The establishment of the Club was largely due to the steadfast efforts of Captain Ernest Lindsay Marryat and Lieutenant Carmichael Light Young.
The historic meeting of members of the various clubs to formally establish the Bombay Gymkhana was held on 19 June, 1875 in the offices of W Nicol & Company. The first President of the club was Justice Sir Lyttleton Bayley of the Bombay High Court, who served in this capacity for the following 20 years until his retirement in 1894. Social status and an interest in sports were important criteria for membership and 200 gentlemen were enrolled as the first members of the new Club.