The Victorian Letter Card has a red-rose 2d QV printed stamp with a ONE PENNY overprint and this postcard was introduced following the reduction of the postage rate to one penny within Victoria on 1 April, 1901. The redundant instructions concerning the original card’s use were crossed out by three diagonal lines. This was the first of the two different 2d Letter Cards which were overprinted, and it was first issued on 26 April 1901. The card is simply addressed Dr. Gutheil, Sturt Street, Ballarat and the postmark may be Clarke’s Hill which is 12 km NE of Ballarat, and a date of 1901 is confirmed by the reverse (Figure 1).
The message on the reverse reads: Clarks (sic) Hill, 19/7/01, Dr. Gutheil, Sturt Street, Dear Doctor, I find I cannot remain and place myself under your treatment. As I have to return to Gippsland at once on private business. However I will return at the earliest opportunity and go under treatment at once. Thanking you for your kindness and skill. I will ( —- ), Yours faithfully [name not seen] (Figure 2).
John August Emil Gutheil was born at Daylesford (35 km NE of Ballarat) in 1867, a son of Emil Gutheil, and he, the son, was always known professionally as Dr. Emil Gutheil. Emil junior was educated at All Saints Grammar School, St. Kilda, Melbourne and the Melbourne Grammar School. In 1889 he graduated at the University of Melbourne with the degrees M.B. and B.Ch. (Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery) in 1889. He was a resident surgeon at the Eye & Ear Hospital, Melbourne and he settled in Ballarat in 1890. His first professional address was listed at 10 Lyons Street South, Ballarat, as a specialist in Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat diseases in 1894. By 1904 his address was 298 Sturt Street, the main street in Ballarat, and his wife and daughter (Elsa and Elise) were domiciled there. In 1906-07 his practice had moved to 802 Sturt Street.
He became the Honorary Oculist to the Benevolent Asylum and Orphanage and was a lecturer on Botany and Materia Medica to the School of Mines in Ballarat, as well as the medical representative to the Pharmacy College, Melbourne. He was a lieutenant in 1891 in the 3rd Infantry Battalion and was involved with the St. Paul’s choir, as well as St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He was a member of the Lyric Orchestra as well as the local secretary of the University Conservatorium of Music. He was an honorary member of the Australian Natives Association, which applied to native-born Australians, fostering political reform and patriotic causes.
Set in rolling green countryside 2 km north-west of the infant Melbourne township, the Benevolent Asylum was opened on 27 November 1851 to ‘relieve the aged, infirm, disabled or destitute of all creeds and nations’ in the town’s early days. The asylum was built by the Victoria Benevolent Society, a group of philanthropic citizens determined to house the colony’s ‘deserving poor’ in more dignified fashion than the dreaded workhouses of the new English Poor Law. In accordance with a pattern already established for the development of charities in Victoria, the government granted the land and provided funds to match private subscriptions to build the asylum. The overwhelming influx of immigrants to Victoria in the early 1850s placed enormous demands on the asylum, which initially served as an immigrants’ home, blind asylum, orphanage, lying-in hospital and lunatic asylum. However, as other institutions were established, it focused increasingly on housing the aged poor. Dr. Gutheil was a busy specialist who found time for additional services to the community