Royal Reels: Gambling


Over the past 5 years I have seen many covers addressed to the above and still I have not been able to access a coherent account of this man. Several dealers dismissed these covers as “part of the Dyason correspondence” without any attempt at elaboration. To make matters worse there is an abundance of information on him at the State Library of Victoria (SLV), but they were not forthcoming even with a paragraph on him. They have his extensive diaries (linear length of 91 cms) which were donated by a family member, and the collection has been characterised by the following description:

“Isaac Dyason (1832-1915), an accountant and mining company director, kept extensive diaries for most of his life. The first of these concerns his experiences as a gold miner in 1851. The following 41 volumes contain entries almost daily for the years 1859-1915, giving a valuable account of both Dyason’s business career and his private and social life in Bendigo”. All that the SLV could offer were photostats at a considerable cost or a paid private researcher. Fair enough, but the volume of the data would almost be overwhelming to copy, sight unseen.

The aim of this paper is to describe four covers with the hope that this will spur me on to continue my relatively fruitless research, or that some knowledgeable person will afford me some relevant data. The first undated cover is an example of the first stamps of Victoria issued, known as the ‘Half Lengths’. An American auction company described this cover as follows:

“Printed by Messrs. Campbell & Fergusson, 1d Eighth Printing – Stone 3- Retouched – S.G. 27c 1d dull rose-red [19] showing retouched lower corner, three large margins and (cut) into at right; and, Stone D 3d indigo [21] tied by Barred Oval “1” on cover front pre-paying inland letter rate from Melbourne to Bendigo. The cover was addressed to I.E. Dyason, 6 th White hill, Bendigo”. Nodate was seen or provided, but it would have been the very early 1850’s (Figure 1).

The second cover appeared on Ebay and it had four green 1d ‘Queen on Throne’ stamps (S.G. 40), and the vendor described the cover as follows:

“A vertical strip of 3 and a single on a ‘Dyason’ front with unknown cancellations. Isaac Edward Dyason (born Thanet, Kent, England, shortly, one would assume, before his Christening on 30 th March, 1832) was a storekeeper at 7 th White Hill on the Sandhurst (Bendigo) goldfields. The Dyason family are still very prominent in the area.” The cover was addressed to Mr. I.E. Dyason, 7 th White Hill, Bendigo. Again no date, but this imperf. stamp with the large star watermark was placed on sale in October 1856 (Figure 2).

The third cover had a single grey 2d ‘Laureate’ stamp of Victoria tied with an indistinct BN ‘38′ confirmed by the unframed ELPHINSTONE/ SE 10/ 67/ VICTORIA and it was addressed to Dyason at 7th White Hill, Bendigo (Figure 3).

The reverse had a fine octagonal handstamp DOWN/ TRAVELLING/ POST OFFICE/ SE 10 67/ VICTORIA/ M.G. 4, a small transit framed SANDHURST/ SP 10/ 67 and an unframed oval reception WHITE HILL/ SE – 11/ 67/ VICTORIA. The vendor stated that this cover had the “best strike (T.P.O.) seen from the Dyason correspondence” (Figures 4 & 4A).

The fourth cover addressed to Dyason at the same address had a single lilac TWO PENCE ‘Bell’ stamp of Victoria cancelled with the barred T.P.O./4, an UP TRAIN/ G.M 4/ JA 19/ 76/ VICTORIA, as well as a boxed POSTED OUT/ OF COURSE (Figure 5).

The reverse had an octagonal DOWN TRAIN/ MG 3/ JA 19/ 76/ VICTORIA, a small framed SANDHURST/ 2 D/ JA 19/ 76 and two strikes of the arrival postmark an unframed WHITE HILLS/ JY 20/ 76/ VICTORIA. The vendor pointed out that the cover travelled to the Bendigo terminus by train, and then returned some distance by rail to Seven Hills (Figure 6).

To date, very little else has been learnt about Isaac Edward Dyason who married Harriet Mason on 9 May 1881, and their unnamed children were born in February 1882, March 84, April 86 and March 89, and one of the children died in February 1891. Dyason was one of a handful of speculators who were involved in deep quartz gold mining, and these speculators reaped substantial rewards from the Bendigo quartz reefs. Frank Cusack, in his book “Bendigo, A History”, [Heinemann Australia 1973] refers to the First, Fifth and Seventh White Hills, which were areas of alluvial gold. The Fifth was the site of a mass meeting of gold miners on 13 June 1853 agitating for diggings licence reform, land auctions and the lifting of restrictions on liquor sales on the goldfields.

A little more was learnt of Isaac Edward from an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography about his third child, Edward Clarence Evelyn Dyason (1886-1949), who was born on 8 April 86 at Sandhurst, a company director, economist, mining engineer and stockbroker. In this biography, his father Isaac Edward was described as a property manager from Kent, England and his wife was Harriet Eastwood Mason, from Guernsey, Channel Islands. They saw that their son Edward had a good education at St. Andrew’s College, Bendigo and at the University of Melbourne.

These four covers have a range of 20 years in the life of Isaac Edward Dyason during a time that he lived in the same area of Bendigo. The covers have a considerable interest philatelically, particularly in regards to their postal cancellations. Much more is to be learned about this Bendigo pioneer, gold miner, accountant and mining company director.

Addendum (August 2009):  An additional cover has been seen addressed to Mr. I.E. Dyason, White Hills, Sandhurst.  The ‘TWO PENCE’ stamp has an indistinct BN ‘192’ from CAMPBELLS Ck/ SP 1/ 73/ VICTORIA  [the ERD for this postmark] (Figure 7).

The reverse has a transit CASTLEMAINE/ SE 1/ 73/ VICTORIA,  a transit at SANDHURST/ SE 1/  73/ VICTORIA and an arrival at WHITE HILLS/ SE 2/ 73/ VICTORIA (Figure 8).

There was a short obituary notice in The Argus (Melbourne) on 15 July 1915 p. 8 that gave information I had not previously seen, and it is presented as Figure 9.

Addendum (September 2010): An example of a Miners Rights certificate in the Colony of Victoria made out to a John Armstrong who paid 5 shillings for it in 1891, under the provisions of the Mines Act 1890 is seen in Figure 10.

Addendum (October 2010):  Probably another Dyason cover with the name mispelt as ‘Diason’, but addressed c/o H. Fisher esq., White Hills Brewery, Bendigo. There were some 15 breweries in the Bendigo area, and this brewery was not specifically identified. The cover has the red 1d and blue 3d ‘Half Lengths’ stamps cancelled with the barred numeral ‘1’ in 1855 (Figure 11).

Addendum (April 2011):  Andrew Bailey  who is writing a book on all the breweries of Victoria and I have agreed to his using Figure 11.  He provided me with additional information (Figure 12).

Addendum (November 4, 2011): A further Dyason cover, the second in this paper addressed to him at the 6 White Hills rather than at the 7th White Hills.  Frank Cusack in his book “Bendigo, A History (book not seen) refers to the First, Fifth and Seventh White Hills, which were areas of alluvial gold.  This front only with no date, is seen as Figure 13.

Categories: Business, Mining, Postmarks