JOHN GEORGE SAUERBREY (1830-1919)
This 1886 1d Victoria "Astley" stamp design was issued as a postcard on 1 June 1886, eight weeks prior to the design's issue as a stamp. The initial card was for use in Victoria only at the one penny rate, and use to other intercolonial destinations required a further 1d stamp. The 3-line instruction to this effect was altered on a reissue on 4 July 1887 following an agreement between the Australian Colonies to accept each other's postcards without additional postage. Both the 1886 and 1887 postcards were printed in violet-brown on either cream or grey-buff card, from a plate of 36 impressions.
The present mint postcard is an example of the reissue on a cream card and as it was undated probably was issued on or later than July 1887 and before or on September 1888. The revised 3-line instruction of use on the front reads as follows:
"This Card may pass through the Post without additional postage to any of the following Colonies, namely:-- New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, and Western Australia; but an additional One Penny Stamp must be affixed if addressed to New Zealand or Fiji."
The additional printed matter on both the front and reverse of the postcard bestows a degree of uniqueness, as it gives an insight into the political process in Victoria in the late 19th Century. The front has in print: " Mr. J. G. SAUERBREY,/ Beehive Chambers,/ Sandhurst," Sandhurst being the former name for Bendigo (Figure 1).
The reverse has in print:
"PLEASE SIGN AND RETURN.
You may add my Name to the List of Signatures, asking MR. HALFREY to come forward for the Northern Provinces, at the coming Election in September next [September 1888, see later].
SIGNED," as in Figure 2 below.
The Beehive Chambers (corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, Bendigo), was an impressive building which once housed Australia's first mining exchange, and a photo was available on the State Library of Victoria's website (Figure 3).
The Beehive Stores or Chambers was opened by the Francis brothers in the early 1850's and despite changes of ownership and having to rebuild due to a fire in 1871, it traded until 1987. The "new Beehive" was completed in June 1872, at a cost variously cited as being £19,000 or £27,000, a large sum of money in those days.
Mr. Sauerbrey's history has been much more elusive, although a living relative states that he married Annie Gibson Cruikshank. He was born in 1830 and an obituary in 1919 stated that "Mr. J.G. Sauerbrey was a colonist of 63 years, the greater part of that time having been spent in Bendigo. He was a Government auditor, and he prominently identified with the masonic fraternity". A reply to my enquiry at a Freemason's website stated he was an accountant, and was a foundation member of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria, and a prior Master of the Zenith Lodge which was incorporated into the former in 1889.
Subsequent research at the State Library of Victoria site showed that the Northern Provinces Election occurred in September 1888 and that Mr. Halfrey was successful in that election. He was born on 16 September1825 in England and arrived in Melbourne 1852. After a speedy success on the goldfields near Bendigo he followed mercantile pursuits in Melbourne from 1855 and became a Director of mining and other Victorian companies.
He held a succession of political positions, being elected to the Kew Council 1861, and was its chairman in 1862-63. He became a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Sandhurst 1864-68; Richmond 1871; Southern Provinces 1868-84; and, Northern Provinces 1888. He was also appointed in 1872 to the important position of Assignee of Insolvent Estates for the Melbourne District and Official Liquidator and Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Thus, an inexpensive postcard has given an insight into Victorian political history in the late 1800's.