Royal Reels: Gambling


The three items in the heading are tied together by three different, but related covers one each from New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, over the period of 1892 to 1905. The N.S.W. cover has a black double circle inscribed Australian Brewery & Wine & Spirit Company Limited with the Emu and Kangaroo on the side of a shield, with the motto ‘Advance Australia’, as well as a readdress to the company in Sydney. It is addressed to W. Ullmann Esq., C/o Messrs L. Ullmann Co, Bamberg. Bavaria. The ½d grey stamp of N.S.W. is postmarked with a duplex SYDNEY/ MY 2/ 4 P.M/ 92/ 15 cancel with the N.S.W obliterator (Figure 1).

The reverse has a block of 10 of the same ½d stamp handstamp with 7 copies of the large ‘PAID ALL’ cancel, and alongside there is a reception BAMBERG/ 4/ JUN/ Von 1-2/ 92. Also there is another handstamp of a small black ‘R over 15′ in a small oval (Figure 2).

The second cover has a red fancy advert for The Australian Brewers’ Journal, Robb’s Building, Collins Street, Melbourne and it is addressed To Mr. Leopold Ullman, Hop Merchant, Bamberg, Bavaria. The ‘TWO PENCE’ and ‘HALF PENCE’ stamps of Victoria are cancelled by MELBOURNE/ 25 P/ DE 5/ 99 postmarks (Figure 3).

The reverse has a BAMBERG 2/ JA 5/ 10-11 AM/ 00 reception postmark plus an illegible small circle handstamp (Figure 4).

The third cover is addressed to Messrs Leopold Ullman, Bamberg, Bavaria Germany with a return address to the Kalgoorlie Brewing & Ice Co. Ltd. Kalgoorlie. The two Western Australia ‘One Half-Penny’ and the yellow ‘Two Pence’ stamps are postmarked with the duplex KALGOORLIE/ 12/ NO 3/ 05/ W.A. cancel and the ‘PO’ Obliterator (Figure 5).

The reverse identifies the address of the Kalgoorlie Brewing & Ice Co. Ltd. as being Porter T. Kalgoorlie and there is a roller transit of PERTH/ NOV 4/ 9.45 PM/ 1905/ WESTERN AUSTRALIA. There is a reception postmark of BAMBERG 2/ 1 DEZ/ C1-2 N (Figure 6).

The obvious connection between these 3 Australian Colonies’ covers is the Hop Merchant Company of Leopold Ullmann of Bavaria who was a major exporter of Bavarian, Bohemian and other hops. To date no further information was found of him or his company.

The Australian Brewers’ Journal, Mineral Water, Wine and Spirit Trades’ Review was proclaimed as a monthly journal, containing original articles, extracts from foreign papers, full market reports of all the Colonies, statistics, and all that is in any way interesting to the brewing, cordial, and wine and spirit world. It was edited by M.J. O’Farrell in Melbourne. A total of 39 volumes were published between October 1882 and April 1921. The contents of the June 20, 1883 issue are shown in Figure 7.

The Kalgoorlie Brewing and Ice Company, Kalgoorlie Western Australia opened in 1896 and in 1943 the company was taken over by the Swan Brewery, and its name was simplified to Kalgoorlie Brewing Company. Examples of labels on 3 of their brews are seen in Figure 8.

Alice Mary Cummins (1883-1943) gained her LL.B. at the University of Adelaide, was admitted to the South Australian an Western Australian Bars, but never practiced as a lawyer. Beginning as a ledgerkeeper in her father’s Kalgoorlie Brewing & Ice Co. Ltd, Cummins soon mastered the financial, engineering, refrigeration and marketing aspects of the brewing industry. In the early 1930s she urged her father to turn from the production of English-style beer and introduce the top-fermentation process of German lager. He thought her brilliant and made her director of the Merredin brewery. Hoping to reconcile her parents who were divided on the issue of alcohol, Alice designed a substantial and elegant residence at Merredin for the Cummins family. She briefly employed her husband Charles, an ex-British army officer and failed Burracoppin farmer, to manage the brewery. When James Cummins died in London on 19 March 1936, Alice became managing director and the major shareholder of his enterprises. With support for the old-style beer flagging, rival breweries expanding and hotels being progressively ‘tied’ by competitors, her situation was critical.

Undaunted, she installed new plant and equipment, and boosted Kalgoorlie Brewing’s outlets by acquiring hotel freeholds and leases—for the company and in her own right—at Kalgoorlie, Merredin, Moorine Rock, Sandstone, Boyanup, Tammin, Yellowdine, Wagin and Meckering. She triumphed when the instant popularity of Hannan’s lager in September 1937 was reflected in its escalating consumption figures.

The account of Alice Cummins’ involvement in the Kalgoorlie Brewery & Ice Co. Ltd. was extracted from the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

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