Royal Reels: Gambling


A front of a very simple cover was sent to Professor Liversidge, Sydney University and readdressed in manuscript to the Union Club, in Sydney. It had a duplex cancellation different from the first duplexes in that the date stamp part was upright instead of sideways and had a double circle instead of one, and the obliterator oval had 4 rings instead of 3. It was probably of local manufacture and the 2 parts of the cancel could be used separately. In the concentric circle the letters A, C, D, E, H, I, K?, & L are found, and it was in use from 1871-1881. The double circle datestamp had an L, and was dated SP/ 76/ SYDNEY on the 1d N.S.W. stamp (Figure 1).

Archibald Liversidge was born on 17 November 1846 at Turnham Green, London. After graduating as a Royal Exhibitioner (1867) from the Royal School of Mines and the Royal College of Chemistry, he entered Cambridge in 1870. In 1872, Liversidge came to Australia as Reader in Geology and Assistant in the Laboratory at the University of Sydney. In 1874 he was appointed Professor of Geology and Mineralogy and in 1882 became Professor of Mineralogy and Chemistry.

He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of London before he was 40 years of age, and after many years of being on the Council of the Royal Society of New South Wales, he became its President. Largely through his drive and enthusiasm, the Australian Association for the Advancement of Science was founded in 1888. He remained Secretary of the Association for 20 years until 1907, and to honour his outstanding scientific and organisational achievements, the Liversidge Lecture is given at each Congress by a distinguished scientist in some related field.

Liversidge was appointed first Dean of Science at the University of Sydney (1874-1907) and was a Fellow of the Senate (1879-1904). He later became an Emeritus Professor of the University. Liversidge was Honorary Secretary of the Royal Society of New South Wales (1874-1884) and was a founder of ANZAAS (1888). Liversidge died in 1927 and bequeathed funds to support lectures in Chemistry at the University of Sydney.

When Liversidge first arrived at Sydney University he had about 10 students and 2 rooms in the main building, but by 1879 he had persuaded the University Senate to open a Faculty of Science and he was its first Dean from 1879 until 1907.

For all his achievements, Liversidge was a somewhat shy and retiring man and he never married. He was living at the Union Club in Sydney when the cover was posted to him. He returned to London after his retirement in 1907 and died from a heart attack on 26th September 1927. The Tomaso Sani sculpture of ‘The Professor’, (Archibald Liversidge) was placed in a spandrel on the General Post Office, Sydney, which was completed in1883, and is shown in Figure 2.

Addendum:  Anothe cover was found addressed to Professor Liversidge, Bridge St., Sydney with the dull red 1d New South Wales stamp, postmarked with the rays ‘186’  of St. Leonards, as well as an illegible manuscript (Figure 3).

The reverse had an originating postmark od ST LEONARDS/ OC 14/ 1874/ N.S.W, as well as a transit mark  of C/ SYDNEY/ OC 14/ A (Figure 4). 

This postmark is unusual for 2 reasons as it is uncommon for SYDNEY to be placed in a straight line, and the date 1874 has been omitted.  It was produced by a Pivot Machine designed by Pearson Hill and it is described and shown on pages 62 – 63  in J.S. White’s The Postal History of  New South Wales 1788-1901, in which it is described as Type M4 1874.  The early date is 7 January 1874 and late date 17 July 1875, and it is provided with a code letter above and below.  An example from White’s book is seen with the year date in Figure 5. 

Addendum (August 2009):  Another cover addressed to Professor Liversidge was found addressed to him at the Union Club, Sydney and the ‘ONE PENNY’ N.S.W. stamp was postmarked with the B.N. ‘186’ of St. Leonards, N.S.W. (Figure 6).

The reverse had an originating ST. LEONARDS/ AP 10/ 1877/ N.S.W as well as a reception at SYDNEY/ AP 10/ 77/ N.S.W (Figure 7). 

 The Australian Dictionary of Biography has much more informarion on Professor Liversidge.

Categories: Postmarks, Professors, Science