Royal Reels: Gambling


The cover has a pair of the green ‘ONE PENNY’ KGV Head stamps postmarked with a roller cancel, a circular BRISBANE/1934/ 1000 PM/ 11 FEB/ QLD. Associated with a slogan cancel VICTORIA AND/ CITY OF MELBOURNE/ CENTENARY 1934. It is addressed to Mr. C.W. Poulton, 41 Tamworth St., Dubbo, N.S.W. The G.P.O. Box address of the sender has been crossed out and replaced by 236 George St. (Brisbane) (Figure 1).

The reverse shows a circular ringed red map of Brisbane suburbs, and situated in a box at the top of the map there is a description: R.G. Estates Ltd Showing Estates in the Actual Radial Miles from the G.P.O. or Estates Planned & Subdivided on the Most Up To Date Town Planning Lines. Note all roads formed, drained & graded. (Two of the estates, Darra and Seven Hills Gardens are discussed later). The lower box describes Seaside Estates: Main Beach, Southport, Los Angles, Mermaid Beach, Currumbin, Kirra, Southport (sic), Tugun, Redcliffe (Figure 2).

This advertising cover suggested that Robert GeorgeOates, Realtor, had considerable flair and this was borne out by finding that he had published in 1922 sheet music, the frontispiece stating that ‘DARRA IS THE PLACE FOR ME’. The aim was to promote the then semi-rural lifestyle of the district (Figure 3).

Biographical information on Robert Oates was hard to find and he was an alderman of Belmont Shire from 1913-14. The earliest advertisement for R.G. Oates Estates was found in the Brisbane Courier on 5 January 1923 which was headed: MODERN TOWN PLANNING.

The modern town planner’s mission should be to provide conditions for healthier and happier living. “Emoh Ruo,” which sparkles through the night from our Headquarters at the corner of George and Queen Streets, carries a message which embodies something worthwhile – “Our Home.”

We will assist you now, as we have assisted others in the past under the guiding star that our clients’ satisfaction is R.G. Oates Estates best recommendation. R.G. Oates Estates (Figure 4).

The latest advertisement found for the R.G. Oates Estates was in the Brisbane Courier on 7 April, 1952.

In 1912 the Belmont Shire Council (an area east of Seven Hills, extending to Tingalpa Creek) built a tramway from Belmont to the Norman Park-Morningside railway line, passing through the empty spaces of Seven Hills, following approximately Oateson Skyline Drive and Ferguson Road. The line, with a station near Aventine Hill, ran at a loss but was kept open until the shire joined Greater Brisbane Council. It was closed in 1926.

The tram service was an encouragement to urban development, and in 1913-14 Robert Oates, a Belmont Shire Councillor, was principal of Oatland Estates. In 1920 the firm, having acquired the Seven Hills site, sold it to the War Service Homes Commission. Representatives of the Commission had attended the second Australian town planning conference in Brisbane in 1918 at which ‘garden city’ suburbs were discussed, and the commission had already used the design concept for Sunnybank. A garden estate design, focused on the seven hills, was developed and he named it after the Seven Hills of Rome. In 1924 the Commission sold the estate to R.G. Oates Estates Ltd. The closure of the tram service struck at the estate’s viability and by 1932 Oates was declared bankrupt. Many of the subdivisions came into Brisbane City Council’s hands because of unpaid rates. Very few houses were built at Seven Hills and its chief attraction was vacant bush land for ramblers and picnics.

The Oxley Library in Brisbane has an undated photo of a Belmont bus with an advertisement for R. G. Oates Estates, Brisbane, on its rear, which is shown as Figure 5.