Royal Reels: Gambling


This ONE PENNY Queensland postcard is postmarked with ‘214’ rays and an unframed TOOWOOMBA/ QUEENSLAND (with an indistinct date). It is addressed to Mr. Julius Levy, 127 Pitt St., Sydney NSW and has an arrival duplex SYDNEY/ MR 11/ U/ 96/ 29 with N.S.W. between 3 horizontal bars, above and below. Neither the time code replaced by ‘U’ nor the ’29’ are recorded in Tobin & Orchard’s ‘The Standard Circular Datestamps and Related Markings’ of Sydney, Volume 6, 1995 (Figure 1).

The manuscript on the reverse can be read except for the sender’s name:
“Toowoomba, March 10/96, Dear Sir, On receiving the truss ordered I was much disappointed to find that #33 had been sent instead of 36 although invoiced as 36. Am afraid it will be useless sending me another now as it entails so much delay. Yours faithfully, ……. (Figure 2).

Julius Levy was born in Segeberg, Holstein in Germany on 20 March 1848, and he emigrated to New York in June 1866. He went to London in April or May 1871 and was listed as Levy, Julius & Co., cigar merchants, 91 Leadenhall Street, E.C. in the London Post Office Directory of 1872. On 29 November 1874 he married Jeanette Mayer and the couple emigrated to Australia in 1879, arriving on a ship called Ly-ee Moon, and he founded his store in Sydney in 1879. Four children were born to the couple in Sydney, between 1882 and 1887, but only 2 boys survived infancy. The family emigrated to Belgium in 1899 and by 1905 Julius had sold the Sydney business to his general business manager, William Boekemann. Julius died in Brussels 18 May 1926, and his wife died in 1936.

The store was listed in the Sands Directory for 1896 as Julius Levy, wholesale druggist and indentor, Angel Place, off 187 Pitt St., place of residence “The Lea”, Liverpool Rd., Burwood. The importation agency relied for most of its revenue on Lysol, then the world’s most widely used disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner (based on carbolic acid). Over the years though, Levy built up his business to include import of drugs, chemicals and chemists’ supplies. From what the disgruntled buyer said it would appear that the truss may also have been imported, for this is consistent with the delay that was unacceptable to the buyer.

Julius was forever expanding his business and he built up a sizable business importing industrial alcohol and cylinders of carbon dioxide from Germany. He later approached the Colonial Sugar Refinery (CSR Ltd.) to produce both items locally as by-products of sugar; and by 1887 Julius was appointed selling agent for CSR. He also expanded his business to other sites with a branch in Wellington New Zealand, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. He opened a buying office in Brussels, the firm’s first and only office in Europe.

The internet was the source of an interesting letter, sent out by J. Levy-Lennard, formerly Julius Levy of Angel Place, 127 Pitt Street, Sydney 1st June 1900, which will be quoted in its entirety:”Dear Sir, I beg to inform you that having for family reasons assumed the name ‘Lennard’, my business will for the future be continued under the name and style of J. Levy-Lennard and as heretofore will have my personal attention.”

“Having now established a buying office in Brussels under my immediate supervision, I shall be able, by more direct control over purchasing and shipping, to better conserve the interests of those friends and clients who will do me the honour of continuing the support, which in many instances has extended over the last twenty years. Yours faithfully, J. Levy-Lennard.”

The letter head also gives the following information: Established 1879 Post Office Box 179 Telephone 569 Addresses in Brussels, Melbourne, Wellington N.Z. and Brisbane. Registered Cable Addresses: Levy Sydney Lennard Brussels plus Cable Codes in Use ABC 4th Edition Manufacturer’s Export and Lieber’s. The company has assured me that the printed letter is an original (Figure 3).

Julius must have been a very astute business man to have got to such levels in the last 2 decades of the 19th Century. We now fast forward to present days, for the company known as J L Lennard Pty Ltd, has grown to become one of Australia’s largest importers of packaging machinery, graphic art supplies and food service equipment. The company has teams of in-house technicians strategically located in each Australian State, reinforced by a well developed network of service agents throughout the country. The family-owned company distributes a range of equipment imported from world renowned manufacturers in Europe, America and Japan.

From humble beginnings in Sydney, an international company was born.

Three people have greatly contributed to my knowledge of Julius Levy, his travels, his family and his business ventures: David Boekemann, managing director of the modern firm of J. L. Lennard who confirmed and expanded the information on the web, and who introduced me to Justin Levy, of Dublin Ireland, who has shared with me an extensive history of the Levy family. In addition, Gwenda Johnston, State Library of N.S.W. supplied information which included data concerning the original business in Sydney, from the Sands Directory.

Addendum (July 2010):  AnothQueensland postcard has been found addressed to Julius Levy Esq., Wholesale Druggist, Charlotte Place, Sydney, N.S.W.  The printed ONE PENNY stamp has been postmarked with a duplex  BRISBANE / 1/ AP 13/ 93/ QUEENSLAND as well as a QL obliterator.  The reverse was not seen (Figure 4).

Two advertisements were seen in The Sydney Morning Herald on 9 June 1883, which gave considerable information on the variety of trade done at the store at 310 George street (Figure 5).

The same newspaper on $ November 1897 describes the send-off for Mr. Julius Levy, his wife and 2 sons (Figure 6).

Categories: Business, Postcards