Royal Reels: Gambling


This 1915 grey cover has a strip of three red 1d KGV Head stamps cancelled with a roller cancel of BRISBANE/ ( ) 11 15/ QUEENSLAND, and it has a corner advert for PERRY BROTHERS LTD, BRISBANE. It is addressed to The Thomas Laughlin Co., Portland, Maine (Figure 1).

The reverse describes the company as Builders’ Ironmongery and Brass Foundry and it advertises sash weights, Air Bricks, Stump Caps, Galvanised Iron, as well as Coach Builders’ Material: Traces, Backbands, Hobble Chains, Lamps, Horse Bells, Whips, Wheels, Coach Castings and Ironware, Brake Screws, Straps, Bits, Spurs. It has a purple handstamp ‘PASSED BY CENSOR’ as well as a black ‘27′ in a circle handstamp (Figure 2).

An earlier pink cover was found later from the same company and it had a single ‘Four Corners’ TWO PENCE stamp of Queensland postmarked with a duplex BRISBANE/ FE 26/ 09 with a QLD obliterator. The cover was addressed to 5 Hunter Street, Sydney (Figure 3).

The reverse advertisement described the company as Hardware Merchants for Heating Stoves for Wood, Coal, and Kerosene, Bath Water Heaters for Wood and Gas as well as Fenders, Register Grates Etc. There was a reception handstamp for SYDNEY/ MAR 1/ 7 AM/ 1909 (Figure 4).

Further information about Perry Brothers, Wholesale and Retail Ironmongers, Queen-st. North Brisbane was found in an advertisement at a much earlier period in the Moreton Bay Courier advert on 23 February 1861, as follows: Have Constantly on Hand Sorby’s Sheep Shears, 9 & 10; Turkey Stones and Slips; Horse and Bullock Hobbles; Stocks, Whips, Hobbles; Bullock Bows, Horse Shoes; Trace, Bullock, and Plough Traces; Coil Chains, Tinware; Oils – Colga, raw and boiled linseed; Window Glass, Putty, Pitch, Tar; Turpentine and Paints; Cross-cut, Pit and Handsaws; Manilla and Europe Rope; Cross-cut, Pitsaw, and Hand-saw Files; American, falling, broad, and other Axes; Wool wedges, Ruddle; Douglass’ Pumps, Galvanised Buckets; American Stoves; China, Glass, Earthenware, &c.; Bedsteads and Portable Stretchers; Nail – patent, clasp, wire, &c.; Galvanised iron – plain and corrugated; Iron and Steel of all kinds (Figure 5).

In 1910, Perry House was designed by Claude William Chambers to house the business of Perry Brothers, whose hardware firm had been in operation in Brisbane since 1860, the year before the above advertisement. William Perry (1835-1891), the father of the Perry brothers – Herbert and George – was a prominent Brisbane business man. Before the construction of Perry House, the brothers had operated a wholesale outlet in Queen Street, Brisbane. They were to expand their operation at Perry House, as every floor of the building was occupied with their business, wholesale and now also retail, as well as storage of their goods. A picture of the original business in 1902 has Perry Brothers adorned on the parapet and Perry Brothers outside the entrance to the building (Figure 6).

The construction of Perry House began in 1911 and did not reach completion until 1913, at which time it was the highest building in Brisbane. An extra storey was added in 1923. A picture of Perry House is shown adorned with Perry Bros. Ltd in 1914 (Figure 7).

Addendum (September 2011):  An anonymous correspondent has sent me a website that provides more information on the Perry Family.  I have not summarized this information, but it may be of considerable value to readers.