Royal Reels: Gambling


The New South Wales Letter Card with a printed red 1½d stamp was cancelled with the barred numeral ‘1897′ and there was a circular cancel alongside of BULLI RST/ OC 19/1897 ,which confirmed the veracity of the numeral. It was addressed to Mrs. A.C. Rofe, Livingstone Road, Petersham (N.S.W., Sydney) (Figure 1).

The other half of the card had a transit postmark of SYDNEY/ OC 19/ U/ 97/ 28 and an arrival cancel of PETERSHAM/ OC 20/ 1897/ N.S.W. The message side of the lettercard was not seen (Figure 2).

Arthur Camden Rofe was born at Brickfield Hill on 19 December 1866, Rofe was the son of Alfred Rofe a well known Sydney solicitor (d.1902) and his wife, Sarah Fulton. Arthur was educated at Christchurch School and Sydney Grammar School, being the winner of the Mort’s Prize. In 1884 entered the employ of T.R.Hogg and Co.,and two years later he joined Cramsie Arthur & Co. He had been a bit of a rebel in his younger days and was sent to Newcastle because of female problems. In 1900 he formed a manufacturing partnership with Mr.Mathews, at Newcastle, the firm being known as Rofe, Mathews Ltd, and three years later he moved to Sydney to look after his own financial interests.

While a member of Marrickville Council he was mainly responsible for the foundation of the Livingstone Park Cricket Oval. He was also a founder of the Petersham Electorate Cricket Club and Petersham Baseball Club, a life member of the Marrickville Cricket Club, and of the Petersham Bowling Club. He toured England with the Australian Bowling team in 1930 as honorary treasurer. During 1914 he was elected captain of the Petersham Rifle Club and held this position for seven years. He was an alderman of Marrickville Council for six years and Petersham Council for six years. He was a Past Master of Royal Prince Alfred Masonic Lodge, Petersham, and was also a director of the Great Britain Tin Mining Co.,Ltd.
He had split with his mother and was left very little in her will after claiming she was not of a sound mind.

He married Ethel Dugdale on 26 June 1889 at Marrickville, a suburb of Sydney and they had 8 children, 5 daughters and 3 sons, and another girl died at birth. Ethel Rofe died in 1928 and Rofe married Dorothy M. Smith in 1930 at Sydney, and she had been a nurse for Arthur Camden Rofe before she married him. They had no issue, and Arthur died on 6 December 1933.

The heritage house ‘Candilgy’ had been purchased in the name of his first wife, Ethel Rofe and after Mrs Rofe’s death in 1928, the estate was transferred to the ownership of Arthur Camden Rofe. After his death at Burwood, N.S.W. in 1933, the property was transferred to his sons, who acted as executors of his estate. The house was then renamed ‘Camden Lodge’, an obvious reference to the late Arthur Camden Rofe, and was occupied by members of the Rofe family until 1942, likely by his son Eric Charles Rofe (1905-1974), a real estate agent. In 1942 ownership of the house and grounds were sold for £3000 to Arthur Bush of Strathfield, carcass butcher of A J Bush & Sons, one of Australia’s largest butcher shops. Bush was the owner of the property until 2009, when it was sold. A picture of the heritage home ‘Candilgy’ is seen in Figure 3.

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