Royal Reels: Gambling


The brown ONE PENNY South Australian postcard was addressed to Leo Buring Esq, Spring Vale, Water Vale, (South Australia) and it was postmarked with a ‘Squared Circle’ ROSEWORTHY/ SE 19/ 99/ S.A (Figure 1).

The reverse had a transit ‘Squared Circle’ SADDLEWORTH/ SE23/ 99/ S.A and an arrival ‘Squared Circle’ WATERVALE/ SE 24/ 99 S.A. The manuscript is initialed by the sender ‘A.C.R.’ and is dated 29/9/99 (more likely 20/9/99) and it reads: “Dear Sir, Drago will be meeting the mid-day train from Adelaide in Gawler to-morrow. It would be best for you to come by one of those. I do not know what will be at Roseworthy. Yours truly, G. S. Malpass” (Figure 2).

Leo Buring was born on 7 October 1876 at Friedrischwalde, Germany the son of Friedrich Adolph Buring and his wife Caroline, and the family arrived in South Australia in the Princess Louise from Hamburg in August 1849. He was educated at Prince Alfred College in Adelaide in 1883-1894. After 2 years at Roseworthy Agricultural College he went to Europe, where he attended viticultural colleges in Germany 1896-97 and in France in 1898. He returned to South Australia to become a cellarman at Springvale in June 1898. He managed wine cellars at Rutherglen in 1900 , at Great Western in 1901 (both in Victoria) and at Rooty Hill, N.S.W. in 1902-19. He acted as a technical adviser to various Australian wineries from 1919-23 and was governing director of Lindeman Ltd. in 1923-30.

In 1931 he set up his own business, Leo Buring Pty Ltd. and was a director of H. Buring (his brother Hermann) & Sobels Ltd. in 1934-60. His great interest was the promotion of Australian wines. He established ‘Ye Old Crusty Cellar’ in George Street, Sydney where special vintages were stored in casks and bottles and where many distinguished guests were entertained. He was a life member and honorary vice-president of the Royal Agricultural Society of N,S.W. in 1926, a member of the Australian Wine Producers’ Association and the Chamber of Commerce.

Leo Buring finally achieved his dream at the age of 68 when he bought the Orange Grove Winery at Tanunda, in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, which he renamed “Chateau Leonay”. The company website heads their information page with one of Leo’s sayings: “Winemaking isn’t a matter of life or death – it’s much more important than that.” A signed photo of Leo Buring is seen in Figure 3.

He was president of the Federal Viticultural Council in 1931 and represented N.S.W. and Queensland on the Australian Wine Overseas Marketing Board in 1929-36. His Australian Wines was published in Sydney in 1931. Like his brother he established a trust fund for a gold medal to be presented each year to the dux of the diploma of oenology at Roseworthy College. His one hobby was gardening on a grand scale: he grew winter-flowering roses and asparagus as commercial ventures. He married Ida Agatha Sobels on 21 May 1902, and they had no children. He died on 29 September, 1961 at Penrith N.S.W.

A map of the South Australian towns mentioned on the postcard, all north of Adelaide, shows Gawler (green arrow) in the south, Roseworthy is at the site of the green balloon ‘A’, Saddleworth is to its north (blue arrow), and Watervale is shown as the green balloon ‘B’. Tanunda, the site of Leo Buring’s “Chateau Leonay” is shown with a red arrow (Figure 4).

Acclaimed wine critic and judge, James Halliday, once described Leo Buring as “the greatest maker of Rhine Riesling in Australia” and “Australia’s foremost producer of Riesling’s over a 30-year period.” The product is featured in Figure 5.

When Leo was visiting European viticulturist colleges in his early years he made and kept copious notes on what he saw and learnt. The cover of his log and a single page of his text with a figure of a grape press are seen in Figures 6 and 7.

I have a confession to make, “I can’t drink wine !

I acknowledge that most of the information in this paper was extracted from the Australian Dictionary of Biography, a valuable resource.  I have been informed by an email correspondent, a Buring family member, to-day (December 19, 2010) that the information concerning Leo’s parents is incorrect, and I am waiting for more information, before making a correction.

A second person (? a family member) has contacted me with information that the parents names given in the ADB for Leo Buring are incorrect.  They were in fact Leo’s grandparent’s names.  Leo’s father was Theodor Gustav Hermann Buring and his mother was Henriette Friedricke Louisa Lina Dohrenwendt.

Categories: Business, Postcards