Royal Reels: Gambling


It is not always easy to identify an addressee with great certainty, but there is no doubt with this cover which has a pair of the blue ‘Half Length’ 1858 stamps of Victoria postmarked with the B.N. ‘1′.  It is addressed to Mr R H D White, Bank of New South Wales, Deniliquin (N.S.W.) and there is a manuscript ‘Ans 8 Dec’ ( Figure 1).

The reverse has a clear origin datestamp of a framed (–)/ MELBOURNE/ NO-19/58 and there is according to the vendor, a very indistinct unframed transit mark for Moama (Figure 2).

Robert White, bank manager and politician was born on 19 May 1838 at Stroud, N.S.W., elder son of John Charles White and his wife Sarah Elizabeth nee Hoddle.  Robert spent 3 years with his Hoddle grandparents schooling in Melbourne before going to school in Sydney.  In 1857 he became a junior clerk in the Bank of N.S.W. in Sydney and then an accountant at the Deniliquin branch in 1858, and was responsible for recovering money taken by bushrangers.   In 1860 he became an agent for the bank at Toowoomba, Queensland, and in February 1862 was manager of the branch.  On 2 May 1863 at St Philip’s Church, Sydney, he married Eliza Jane, daughter of the  Rev. William Cooper.

He became a magistrate for Queensland from 1861, and then manager of the Rockhampton branch of the bank in April 1864.  He became captain of the Rockhampton company of the Queensland Volunteer Rifle Brigade from September 1864.  After conflict with some of his junior officers in May 1868, he reported the company for insubordination and tried to disband it. As a result, Acting Surgeon Robertson challenged him to a duel and White resigned on 28 October.  In March next year he returned to New South Wales as manager of the Mudgee branch of the bank and was briefly relieving manager at Kyneton, Victoria, in 1874-75 and in 1877 opened the branch at Coonamble, N S W.

Living on expectations of inheriting his grandmother’s property, White had run into debt through speculating and in 1869 he quarrelled with his grandfather after asking him for assistance. Learning of a deed of settlement, in August 1880 he sued Hoddle for his share of the property in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, valued at £250,000.  White finally accepted a compromise amount of £49,000 (half the accrued rent) as well as half the property.  He resigned from the Bank of New South Wales on 31 December, took his wife on a visit to England and later bought Tahlee House and estate, Port Stephens.  White represented Gloucester in the Legislative Assembly in 1882-87A060230b.htm.  He was a N S W commissioner for the exhibitions in Melbourne (1880 and 1888), Calcutta (1883) and Adelaide (1887), and was a representative commissioner for the colony at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, London, in 1886.  He was appointed to the Legislative Council on 30 December 1887, was a member of the Aborigines Protection Board from 16 February 1893 and sat on the royal commission on fisheries in 1894-95.

White was popular with the miners, selectors and graziers.   He was a fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute and a foundation life member of the NSW branch of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia..   He died in the Hospital for the Insane, Callan Park, Sydney, on 20 October 1900 and was survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.  A080186b.htmHis estate was valued for probate at over £20,000.  A NSW Parliamentary photo of Robert White is seen in Figure 3.

Categories: Business, Political