Tearful true believers embraced one another as the curtain came down on another shattering election failure.
Bill Shorten's concession speech was a painful footnote for Labor supporters, drawing a line under Saturday's stunning loss.
"We are a resilient and proud movement and we never give up," he told them.
Sadness and disbelief prevailed in the room as nightmares came true.
As the results came through, the crowd thinned out.
Many worked tirelessly to elect Mr Shorten prime minister but now, Labor will spend three more years in opposition.
Nick Wilson, a branch member in Mr Shorten's electorate of Maribyrnong, said Queensland had been an issue.
"I'm still trying to take it all in really," he told AAP.
But the 20-year party member hopes Labor's work on developing a comprehensive policy platform doesn't get thrown out.
"Whether a different leader could sell it in a more positive way, I don't know."
Another Labor diehard said the result wasn't good for Australia's future.
"This is a bad call," she told AAP.
"We need to look after our young people, we need to look after the climate and to make sure housing is affordable."
Peter Dutton, who received a savage chorus of boos when his speech was shown, used Paul Keating's "sweetest victory of all" line.
As the results turned sour, the bar line grew with people looking to douse nerves and drown sorrows.
The excitement of earlier in the night evaporated, replaced by agitation and finally grief.
A raucous cheer broke out when the news former prime minister Tony Abbott will be booted from parliament was shown on the big screens.
But aside from that, there was little to cheer about.
Red balloons adorned the room but there was nothing festive about the mood.
Billionaire Anthony Pratt, Father Bob Maguire and Will Connolly, who shot to national attention for egging far-right senator Fraser Anning, attended the party.
ALP president and outgoing MP Wayne Swan, Labor frontbencher Brendan O'Connor and Victorian senator Kimberley Kitching were also there.
Australian Associated Press