Royal Reels: Gambling


Three entires were found addressed to James Denham Pinnock over a period of 1847-1851, in his capacity as a public servant serving in two different roles in Melbourne. The first dated was addressed to him as the Deputy Registrar General, Supreme Court, Melbourne, Port Philip (sic) in July 1847. The front had a black rectangular boxed ‘JERRRYS PLAINS/ FREE’ and the ‘FREE’ was black-inked out with a wavy line and a rating of ‘1/7′ (a red one shilling seven pence) was added (Figure 1).

The reverse showed an overinked oval ‘JERRYS PLAINS/ [crown]/ JY 10/ 1847/ NEW S. WALES, a circular transit ‘GENERAL POST OFFICE/ [crown]/ JY 13/ SYDNEY’ and a reception oval ‘MELBOURNE/ [crown]/ JY 19/ (1847)’ postmarks (Figure 2).

The second was dated March 1849 and was addressed to him as Curator of Intestate Estates, Melbourne, Port Phillip and it has a manuscript O.H.M.S., yet has black manuscript rating of 1/3, and there is a red rounded-corner rectangular ‘FREE/ BROULEE’, with the free obliterated with black manuscript (Figure 3).

The reverse shows a red oval ‘BROULEE/ [crown]/ MR 19/ 1849/ NEW S. WALES’, a circular transit ‘GENERAL POST OFFICE / MA 24/ SYDNEY’ and an oval reception ‘MELBOURNE/ [crown]/ AP 2 / (1849)’ as well as an illegible manuscript (Figure 4).

The third is dated February 1851, has a manuscript O.H.M.S. and is addressed to him at the Supreme Court Registry Office, Melbourne. There is a red boxed ‘THE GRANGE/ POST PAID’ and a red crayon 2d rating (Figure 5).

The reverse has 2 areas of legible manuscript, at top left ‘Reporting Sale of Portion of Property’ and at bottom left ‘Grange Police Office, 7th Feby 1851′. There is a poor ‘THE (GRANGE)/ FE ( )/ 1851/ PORT PHILLIP and a partial reception of ‘MELBOURNE / [crown]/ ( )/ PORT PHILLIP, partially obscured by an illegible manuscript (Figure 6).

James Pinnock was born at Winchester, England, the son of Timothy Denham Pinnock and his wife Maria née Doswell. He became a clerk in the Colonial Office, working in 1831 with the London Emigration Committee. In 1835 he was appointed emigration agent in London, to scrutinize all would-be emigrants seeking bounties. His salary was £200 paid in equal parts by N.S.W. and VDL. Governor Sir Richard Bourke (N.S.W.) complained that Pinnock was not satisfying the wishes of the colonists, for they needed to have confidence that the agent had an intimate acquaintance of their needs. Pinnock continued until he was appointed emigration agent in NSW, where he arrived in July 1838 in the ‘Amelia Thompson’. The ship arrived in Port Jackson on 1 July, but due to quarantine, he did not land at Sydney until the 23 July 1838. His salary was now £500 (Figure 7)..

Pinnock was one of five on a Board which strongly favored ‘bounty’ ships as distinct from ‘government’ ships, as being cheaper, healthier and otherwise more satisfactory. In July 1841 he was replaced as emigration agent, for he was accused of having a pecuniary interest in the bounty ships. Pinnock was transferred to Melbourne and became the deputy-registrar of the Supreme Court of Victoria, at a salary of £450 per year, holding this office until the Port Phillip District was separated from NSW.

He went back to England in 1851, but returned in 1854 serving briefly as registrar, then as immigration agent in 1857-60 and land titles commissioner in 1862-63. He retired in 1863, was elected to the Legislative Council for Eastern Province from January to October 1864, having previously served as an alderman in the Melbourne Town Council and on the committee of the Horticultural Society. His chief interest was financial: He was a director of the Bank of Victoria, the Victorian Life and General Assurance Company and in 1870 the Melbourne Banking Corporation. A photo of James Denham Pinnock is shown in Figure 7.

As a churchman he served on the building committee of St. Peter’s, Melbourne and in 1846 he became a member of the Anglican Church Assembly in 1858. In 1844 he had married Lucy Ann Hull of Melbourne, and they had 4 children, and after her death he married Sibil Herlock Richmond in 1859, and they had 3 children. Of his sons, James Denham became a manager a bank in St. Kilda, and Robert Denham MD practiced at Ballarat. James died on 20 May 1875 at the age of 65 at his home in East Melbourne.

It is interesting to note that the second cover was addressed to J.D. Pinnock in his position as the Curator of Intestate Estates, a position not mentioned anywhere, particularly in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Addendum (September 2009):  This entire sent from London on 26 February 1850 (indistinct blue oval handstamp clearly shows Pinnock’s title as Curator of Intestate Estates and it was sent p(er) Princess Helene and arrived at  Port Phillip August 8 1850 Melbourne.

Categories: People, Postmarks