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‘RAMORNIE WORKS’ UNCOMMON CANCEL: C.G. TINDAL’S MEAT WORKS

The ‘socked on the nose’ postmark on the green ½d KGV head stamp is difficult to read as RAMORNIE WORKS/ -3 OC 1917/ N.S.W. On two accounts it is particularly interesting and uncommon to even scarce. The first point of interest is the addition of ‘Works’ to the village of ‘Ramornie’, and this conjunction with ‘WORKS’ is uncommon in the whole of Australia. Hopson and Tobin in ‘N.S.W. and A.C.T. Post, Receiving, Telegraph & Telephone Offices (Volume 3, 1988)’ class this postmark as Type 2 iii, which is characterised by the single-line date stamp, the year in full and the ‘stop’ after the ‘W’ in ‘N.S.W.’, as well as the side arcs being level with the top of the letters in ‘N.S.W.’ (Figure 1).

The Type 2(iii) postmark is better seen in this example of Burraga which is shown as Figure 2.

Referring back to Hopson & Tobin on page ‘R1' there are 2 entries, one for RAMORNIE and the other for the present postmark, RAMORNIE WORKS. In their remarkable thoroughness they have presented their data with multiple abbreviations that require amplification, and this is presented as Figure 3.

The amplification for the data concerning Ramornie is as follows: ‘X4' denotes the co-ordinates for Ramornie’s site on H & T’s map, and it is 20 k from the much larger town of Grafton. ‘RO’ denotes that the office first opened only as a Receiving Office on 16.8. 1887; ‘PO’ is a Post Office; & ‘TO’ is a Telephone/Telegraph Office with no outgoing postal services; the dates and name(s) of the postal officers are supplied; ‘CL’ describes closure of the office; ‘TS’ denotes the office was involved in telephone service; ‘CN’ means that the name of the office was changed to Ramornie Works on 1.8. 1906; ‘NC’ is the Numeral Canceller/obliterator No. 1684; ‘[1Di ?]’ suggests that there may also have been a differently classified type of cancel, in which the date was in 2 lines, with the year shown as only the last two numbers.

The amplification for Ramornie Works is the same with additional information; CN fr is changed name from Ramornie; MOO, the office had a Money Order Office; CSB, it had a Commonwealth Savings Bank agency; TX, it had a manual telephone exchange; TC, the office was temporarily closed from 26,11. 1941to 17.12.1941; and again for additional time periods in 1943, 1945 and 1946; CL, the office closed completely on 15.7.1955, and the Type 2(iii) postmark was the only type of postmark seen for Ramornie Works in the years 1908-18. I believe that this post mark is uncommon. Can you imagine how much meticulous research was performed for just these 2 entries by Hopson and Tobin?

I have found only one other similar postmark combined with ‘Works’ in New South Wales, that of ‘Nyngan Freezing Works’; none in the Australian Capital Territory; one of ‘Salt Works’ in Victoria; two in South Australia, ‘Milbrook Water Works’ and ‘Gawler Water Works’; one in Western Australia of ‘Canning Water Works’; but none in Queensland or Tasmania.

Charles Grant Tindal (1823-1914), cattle-breeder, horse breeder and canned meat manufacturer, was born on 31 July 1823 at Littleton, Devonshire, England, eldest son of Lieutenant Charles Tindal R.N.(1786-1859), and his wife Anne Sarah (1794-1879). Educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham, he spent two years farming in Norfolk which he considered a waste of time 'tho' it was useful in other ways'. In 1843 he brought out rams for his father's naval colleague William Ogilvie, arriving in Sydney on 17 December in the Hamlet. Unable to get work as a station superintendent he accepted Ogilvie's invitation to work at ‘Merton’ on the Hunter River. In the next five years he accompanied the brothers W. K. and E,D.S. Ogilvie and others on various expeditions in northern New South Wales.

By September 1850 when his brother Frederick Colquhoun Tindal (1829-1855) joined him, Tindal had leased ‘Koreelah station’ near the headwaters of the Clarence. They worked hard and prospered. In September 1852 he bought Ramornie near Copmanhurst which was to be the headquarters of his Australian enterprises. A local map shows the proximity of Ramornie (at the red balloon) to Grafton (red arrow) (Figure 4).

Early in 1855 he sailed back to England and on 14 August 1856 he married Anne Amory Travers (1832-1901). After sight-seeing and business trips in Europe and England, they returned to New South Wales in January 1857 and work was started on a stone homestead at Ramornie that was occupied in December 1858. A picture of the homestead is seen in Figure 5.

Tindal had brought with him four thoroughbred stallions including ‘Pitsford’ who sired ‘Ramornie’, a winner of the 1863 Australian Jockey Club Derby, and it was a great influence on Australian racing stock in the 1860s. In June 1858 Tindal claimed 'I have now the best English and the best Colonial bred horse in the country'. From the early 1850s Tindal was also a celebrated breeder of draught horses. In the 1850s he ran mainly Shorthorn cattle but later set up Devon and Hereford studs.

In 1862 Tindal and his family returned to England, settling in the late 1860s at ‘Fir Grove’, Eversley, Hampshire. He made two long visits to his Australian properties in 1879-81 and 1886-89, and kept a very close scrutiny on his colonial ventures. In 1865 he launched the Australian Meat Co. in London with a capital of £100,000. Early in 1866 plant equipment and tin-plate were shipped to Ramornie for meat extract production. Within a few years Ramornie brand canned meats had become well established on the English market, with some 35,000 beasts slaughtered annually, the cannery ensured a regular market to the local cattlemen and one of the largest suppliers was Tindal himself. Preserved meat, tallow, artificial manure, hides and pelts were also produced.

Tindal's income from the company ranged 'from £10 to 20,000 a year', and in 1879 he bought out the other shareholders. Next year the first consignment of frozen meat from Australia to London marked the beginning of the company's gradual decline. The meat works had prospered so Tindal had increased his holdings in land and stock. In 1885 he purchased the amalgamated stations of ‘Bonshaw’ and ‘Gooniam’ on both sides of the New South Wales-Queensland border, near Texas, Queensland. Later he bought the adjoining property, ‘Trygamon’, and, at the end of the century, ‘Albany Downs’ in the Maranoa District, Queensland. In 1893 to evade being taxed as a non-resident he took his eldest son Charles Frederick (1857-1938) into partnership; in 1910 to avoid death duties he made over the properties to him.

Troubled by failing eyesight, Tindal died of senile decay at ‘Fir Grove’ in England on 16 January 1914 and was buried in the Eversley church-yard. He was survived by two sons and five daughters; his English estate was sworn for probate at £224,965. Hard on himself, his family and his employees, he had great physical strength and a strong loyalty to the Crown and to old servants; above all, he remained devoted to the Australian Meat Co., even in its days of decline. It was sold to the Kensington Meat Preserving Co. in 1915.

Additional information was found concerning how Tindal’s Meat Works was important to employment at Ramornie for by 1871, he was employing 150 men as slaughterers, plant operatives, tin smiths and packers. This compares with the total population at Ramornie to-day of 234.

I acknowledge that most of the text on Charles Tindal is derived from the Australian Dictionary of Biography. 

 

 
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