Royal Reels: Gambling


The printed stamp cover of New South Wales has a duplex postmark of THE EXCHANGE/ 4/ OC 31/ 95/ N.S.W with the barred numeral ‘1134′. It was sent from Winchcombe, Carson & Co., Wool Brokers and Produce Salesmen, Sydney and addressed to W. Richardson Esq, Bogalong, Grenfell, (N.S.W.) (Figure 1).

The spectacular reverse is printed in blue and shows an extensive one-storey beflagged building with an advertisement for Sydney Wool Sales with sales of wool for the past five years: season 1889-90 – 12,734 Bales; 1890-91 – 21,152; 1891-92 – 26,947; 1892-93 – 36,559; 1893-94 – 53,354 Bales. The Winchcombe, Carson & Co’s Wool Stores, Wattle & Jones Streets, Pyrmont have an area of 41 acres and the Offices & Produce Stores are at Centennial Buildings, Bridge St. Sydney (Figure 2).

Frederick Earle Winchcombe, woolbroker and politician, was born on 26 April 1855 at Brunswick, Melbourrne, the second son of John Winchcombe, a quarryman from Wales, and his English wife Julia née Earle. In the 18660s they moved to the Young and Yass districts, N.S.W. and after Frederick was educated in Sydney he joined the woolbroking company of Mort & Co., becoming a wool expert and auctioneer. He married Annie Henson on 25 September, 1878. Winchcombe resigned from the firm and became a partner with Duncan Carson to form Winchcombe, Carson & Co. in 1899 and later Winchcombe, Carson Ltd., of which he was chairman. It soon became one of the best known pastoral firms of eastern Australia with over 30 branches in N.S.W. and 25 in Queensland. A picture of the wool store of Winchcombe & Carson at Bulimba, Brisbane is seen in Figure 3.

Frederick was prominent in the public and business world of Sydney, being 3 times president of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce. He represented Ashfield, Sydney in the Legislative Assembly in 1900 but resigned in 1905 due to business pressures. On his return from Europe he was nominated to the Legislative Council where he generally adopted a conservative stance on industrial and rural issues. He outlined his political views in a series of articles in the Brisbane Monthly Record which were republished under the tile of As it Strikes Me in 1910. He went to England in 1917, and on his return the Mongolia was struck by a mine; He was rescued , but died of pneumonia on 29 June 1917. His youngest son Kenneth joined the firm in 1907 and became a director of the firm in 1926. A photo of Frederick Winchcombe is seen in Figure 4.

Duncan Carson, woolbroker and pastoralist was born on 8 November 1860 at Clutha, Kew Victoria, son of John Carson of Glasgow and his wife Elizabeth née Duncan. The parents arrived in Melbourne in 1842, Duncan was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne and his attention was turned to wool; he gained information whilst in employ of other companies, working for his brother as a woolbuyer and valuer, as well as earlier experience in England and France. As a partner in the Winchcombe & Carson firm he succeeded Winchcombe as chairman in 1917. He had many interests pastoral, financial as well as horticultural and he travelled widely in Australia, Japan, China, the East Indies and South America, acquiring one of the finest collections of orchids in Australia. He was survived by his wife, 4 sons and a daughter when he died of a cerebrovascular disorder on 6 January 1931, at his residence in Wahroonga, a suburb of Sydney.

Text on both Winchcombe and Carson was taken from the Australian Dictionary of Biography.