Royal Reels: Gambling


Two New South Wales postcards and one NSW Letter Card, with all 3 addressed to either Mrs. E. or Mrs. Edward Cameron, with slight variations of the address have recently appeared on the internet (December 2004). The composite address was as follows: Mrs. Edward Cameron, Government House, Grand Turk (Island), Turk’s Islands, West Indies. The earliest is a REPLY POST CARD and has the printed blue 1½d stamp postmarked SYDNEY/ DE 26/ 93/ 34, N.S.W duplex, as well as a receiving postmark of TURKS ISLANDS/ FE 27/ 94 (Figure 1).

The second (non-reply) POST CARD has the same printed blue 1½d stamp postmarked SYDNEY/ JA 29/ 1-PM/ 04/ 38, N.S.W duplex as well as what I interpret as a London transit with a purple ‘quartered circle’ with MR / 6 / 18 / 94 in the quadrants and ‘L’ in an inner circle. There is a receiving postmark of TURKS ISLAND/ AP 22/ 94, as well as a manuscript routing ‘via London’ and an ornate printed blue waratah on the left hand side of the card (Figure 2).

The red 1½d letter card was postmarked twice with the PARRAMATTA/ OC 8 / 6-AM/ 94, N.S.W duplex, with the numeral ‘2’ in 3 ovals, and there is a faint additional receiving postmark on the front with TURKS ISLANDS/ DE 16/ 94. There is a manuscript routing, ‘via England’ and the 1½d printed stamp is supplemented with the N.S.W. lilac 1d ‘View of Sydney’ stamp (Figure 3).

Review of Grand Turk’s Island on the internet gave no clue as to the identity of Mrs or Mr. Edward Cameron, but the Turks and Caicos National Museum site seemed to be my best chance of obtaining information. My email request was answered rapidly and the following is a summary of its contents: “Government House is also known as Waterloo. It is about 2 miles south of the main town, Cockburn Town. Waterloo was built in 1815 just outside the original town on Grand Turk at the southern end. The main town had moved in ca.1799 to the present site of Cockburn Town, in the centre of the island. This isolated house became the residence of the Commissioner of the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

“At the time of the postcards, the Turks and Caicos Islands were governed by the Governor of Jamaica on behalf of Britain. The most senior ranking British Government Official permanently on the islands was the Commissioner, who was given the task of managing the day-to-day affairs of the country. Mrs Edward Cameron was the wife of Edward John Cameron who was the Commissioner for the Turks and Caicos Islands from 1893 to 1901. Unfortunately our records do not have any further information of the Camerons, nor any photographs”.

Additional information was found later about Edward John Cameron in that he was a career diplomat, born 14 May 1858, the 4th son of John Charles Cameron MD, Deputy Surgeon-General and Juliet Mooyaart, daughter of James Mooyaart, Auditor-General, Ceylon. In 1887 he married Eva Selwyn, the youngest daughter of Robert Mackintosh Isaacs LLD, of N.S.W., and they had one son and 2 daughters. Edward was educated at Merton College, Oxford, England and he held many positions in the Colonies: Sierra Leone 1884; Virgin Islands 1887-1893; Commissioner Turks and Caicos Islands 1893-1901 (as above); St Vincent 1901-1909; St. Lucia 1909-19 ; Governor, Windward Islands, on several occasions; Governor and Commander-in-chief, Colony of the Gambier (Africa) 1913-20; and, he retired in 1920. He was knighted (K.C.M.G. 1916), and he died 20 July 1947. He was predeceased by his wife in 1944. One of the important points that arises from this paragraph is that his wife had relatives in N.S.W., Australia which probably accounts for the present postcards and lettercard.

The Turks and Caicos has an estimated population in July 2004 of 19,056 and the total land area is only 430 sq. km with a coastline of 389 km. The highest point on the islands is only 49 metres. The position of the Turks and Caicos Islands in relation to Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic is shown in the first map, and the position of Grand Turk Island in relation to the Caicos Islands is shown in the second map (Figures 4 & 5).

The research assistance of Nigel Sadler, Director of the Turks and Caicos National Museum is gratefully acknowledged.

Categories: Islands, Postcards