Royal Reels: Gambling


The cover has a strip of 3 imperforate deep purple TWO PENCE ‘Queen on the Throne’ 1855-56 Campbell & Fergusson printing of stamps of Victoria (S.G. 36a) cancelled with an indistinct barred numeral of a Melbourne ‘1′. It is addressed to Messrs Rodd & Dawson, 21 Pitt St, Sydney, N.S.W. (Figure 1).

The position on the plating of the stamps is readily identified by the 2 letters at the left and right of the base of the stamps, which from the left to the right of the strip are #23 ‘XB’, #24 ‘YC’ and #25 ‘XD’. The diagram of the entire plating of the 50 stamps is shown highlighted in yellow in Figure 2.

The reverse of the cover shows 2 partially superimposed cancels an unframed Melbourne JA 8 1857 and an unframed SHIP LETTER/ A/ JA [rosette] 15/ 1857/ SYDNEY(Figure 3).

Brent Clements Rodd, solicitor, was born on 10 December 1809 at Barnstaple, Devonshire, England, son of John Tremayne Rodd, hydraulic engineer, and his wife Bridget (Lucy). After the death of his wife, John with his three young sons reached Hobart Town in January 1822 in the Tiger and arrived in Sydney in April in the Castle Forbes. He was superintendent of convicts at Newcastle and became a successful pastoralist on the Hunter. Brent became a store-keeper but in 1829 was articled to Edward Keith and was admitted as a solicitor in 1833. In 1830 he bought land and town lots in Newcastle, Raymond Terrace and Clarence Town, In 1838 he bought 50 acres of the Five Dock Estate in Sydney. In May 1839 he married Sarah Jane a sister of Sir John Robertson.

Successful in his profession, Rodd for a time specialized in debt collection and till the early 1860s he was the senior partner in the firm of Rodd and Dawson. Thereafter he practised on his own at 132 Pitt Street in Sydney. The following advertisement appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald on 3 January 1863, as well as 22 January 1863: ” Partnership – Rodd and Dawson – The partnership hitherto existing betwixt the undersigned as Attorneys, Solicitors, and Proctors expires this day by effluxion of time. All moneys payable to this firm will be received by other one or the other of them. Dated at Sydney, this 31st day of December AD, 1863, B.C. RODD/ JOHN DAWSON (Figure 4).

In the 1860s, well known Sydney people began to construct family mansions and John Dawson constructed a home named Humberstone. He had married Emma Jones, the eldest daughter of Robert Jones, of Hunter Street, Sydney. He did not give up his practice, which was now at 136 Pitt Street, Sydney and he took his eldest son, John Acton Dawson into his practice, as reported in the S.M.H. on 25 March 1875, the practice being described as Attorney, Solicitor, and Proctor, under the style of “John Dawson and Son”. Another son of John Dawson, solicitor, Arthur F. Dawson was appointed a Crown prosecutor, as reported in the S.M.H., on 11 May, 1888.

In 1851 Rodd had been on the management committee of the Australasian Botanical and Horticultural Society and he retired from his practice in the 1870s. He diedat Barnstaple, Five Dock of heart disease on 26 November 1898 and was buried in the family vault and was survived by three sons and two daughters. Rodd Point, and Rodd Island in Sydney Harbour is named after him, and it has an usual history. When Premier Henry Parkes posted a £25,000 prize for the person who found an agent that could be used for rabbit genocide, Louis Pasteur sent his nephew, Dr. Adrien Loir. He was armed with Pasteur’s chicken cholera, and he spent six years on the island, developing a strain that would kill rabbits. Parkes considered it to be a failure and withheld the prize.

The information on Rodd was derived from the Australian Dictionary of Biography, whereas the information on the Dawson family was found in the Sydney Morning Herald as NLA beta newspaper entries.

Categories: Legal