This Tasmania Post and Telegraph form is strictly non-postal, but it does have an OUSE/ AU 19/ 03/ TASMANIA postmark. It was sent from Macquarie Plains on that date to a Mr. Nicholas, Coroner in Ouse with the following message: Have made full enquiries case of Dr. Stewart. My opinion death due to failure heart. No suspicion of suicide. Consider Inquest unnecessary. Frank Allwork, New Norfolk. It was calculated as 27 words and ‘1/ 8 Pd’ (one shilling and 8 pence) was paid (Figure 1).
Dr. Frank Allwork (aptly named) was born in June 1858 at Wateringbury, Kent, the son of Henry and Mary Ann Allwork. He qualified as a medical doctor with a licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries of London in 1881. Later he was the Assistant Demonstrator in Anatomy at the Westminster Hospital School in London. In 1887 or 1888 he sailed for South Australia and he married Jane Malcolm at Gawler, South Australia, and they had four children. He became the Medical Officer for the Destitute Department of South Australia as well as Surgeon Captain in the South Australian Military Forces (prior to Federation of Australia in 1901 each State Colony had their own armed forces). There is a picture of him in a military-style uniform leaning against a desk (Figure 2).
By 1891 Allwork was the local doctor at Riverton S.A., a small town on the Gilbert River, 62 miles north of Adelaide and 30 miles south-east of Clare. In 1891 Riverton had a population of 588, and was in a gently undulating country on red-black loam soils, mainly devoted to wheat and sheep, with most of the land owned by the South Australian Company (London). The company offered 20 acre blocks of land for lease for 7 years rent-free with vine rootings provided, in order to capitalise on the wine boom in South Australia. That year, Dr. Allwork and Mr. Frederick Norton (local butcher and baker) leased 200 acres as a vineyard known as ‘Wooroora’, which became a successful wine-producing venture.
In 1899, Dr. Allwork sailed to Tasmania and settled in New Norfolk where he built up a practice, became medical officer to the New Norfolk Cottage Hospital, Health Officer to the New Norfolk Municipality and an official visitor to the Hospital for the Insane. He was also very involved with the local Anglican Church and with the Freemasons helping to establish the Derwent Valley Lodge, and becoming their first Worshipful Master.
In 1907 he presented a paper at the Seventh Australasian Medical Congress in Adelaide titled “The Ethical Relations between Town and Country Practitioners”. He was truly a man ahead of his time for it was a plea for recognition of the plight of the rural medico who had to work with “a candle or a bad lamp in the middle of the night” with little or no assistance. After a month’s long illness, Dr Allwork died on Saturday 26 April 1913 leaving a widow and three daughters.
I acknowledge that this information was excerpted from 3 of 422 pages in a PDF file on ‘Wine and Health Through The Ages’, and it is readily accessed by ‘Googling’: ‘Dr. Frank Allwork’. Additional information was provided by Prue McDonald, Research Services, State Library of South Australia, Adelaide. There were differences of year-dates in the information provided by the 2 sources, usually of two years.