Royal Reels: Gambling


The entire is addressed to W.T. Mollison Esq J. P., Pyalong, Kilmore and the 1853 Ham printing Queen on Throne violet-brown (S.G. 18b) has the ‘1/V Barred Oval’ of Melbourne cancel and a reception postmark of KILMORE/ AP 12/ (—-)/ VICTORIA (Figure 1).

The reverse shows that it was sent the same day from MELBOURNE/ [CROWN] AP/12, but the year was not legible (Figure 2).

William Thomas (1816-1886) and his brother Alexander Fullerton Mollison (1805-1885) were the sons of Crawford Mollison and his wife Elizabeth née Fullerton. The older brother Alexander was born in London whereas William was born in Sussex. William spent time in Jamaica and New York before he arrived in New South Wales in May 1834. Alexander finally settled on Tarringower on the Coliban River between Mount Macedon and Mount Alexander in Victoria.

In 1838 William joined his brother and Tarringower was subdivided and extended to Pyalong, which was occupied as a cattle station. Whereas his brother Alexander became involved in politics in 1844 (particularly in regards separation of Victoria from N.S.W.), William made his first appearance in public affairs when he was elected to the Legislative Council in 1853 until 1856, where he moved for an enquiry into the administration of justice on the gold fields, probably being influenced by another brother, Crawford, who was a gold commissioner at Sandhurst.

In 1858 William was elected to the Legislative Assembly. There he introduced the Oyster Fisheries Act, the Pleuro-Pneumonia Act and the 1862 Scab Act. He retired from parliament in 1864, having been described by a contemporary as ‘more than any other member, the exponent of the opinions entertained by the educated classes’. He gave £5,000 for scholarships in modern languages at the University of Melbourne in 1884. He died in England on 9 November 1886. A picture of William Thomas Mollison is seen in Figure 3.

Much is written about the Mollison brothers, and Alexander was the dominant figure. He never married and he traveled extensively in Britain and Europe with his 2 sisters, Jane and Elizabeth. In 1859 he came back from Britain and sold his interest in the Pyalong Station (60,000 acres of pasture land) to his brother William. Alexander was a generous supporter of the local parish of Holy Trinity, Kew, of Trinity College and of the Bishop of Melbourne’s Fund. He donated £2,000 to provide for a lending library for the use of the clergy, and it was in memory of the late Alexander Fullerton. Alexander died in his home in Kew, Melbourne on 10 April 1885.

This paper was derived from the entry for the two Mollison brothers in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, as well as three other websites.

Categories: Family History, Political