This advertising cover for L.L. Earl, Fruit Merchant, The Fruit Exchange of N.S.W., Sydney, Established 1883 had the 1d red ‘Shield’ N.S.W. stamp with a roller cancel of Sydney OC 26, 1908. It also had a faint impression of a red rubber stamping of ‘Commercial Matter’ and it was sent to Messrs Earl Bros, Orange (Figure 1).
The enclosed personal letter was written on a ‘Memorandum’ sheet identifying the company and was addressed to Miss C.J. Earl, Orange (N.S.W.). “Dear Sister, A few lines, perhaps the last to Miss C.J. Earl, hoping you & yours are quite well. Rhuun (?) is leaving, to-day for Orange, but I very much regret I shall not be able to come. If all the family had been going, I intended to be there also, although at great cost, but learning from Humphrey that he was unable to go, the sentiment at all meeting disappeared & I resolved as above. I don’t think we could all do the journey with attendant expenses under £10.0.0, which is more than I can afford, so instead I am sending you a little clock also providing the fruit & when you are here we will have an evening I hope together.
I am looking up an investment for you
Wishing you a jolly good time. Love to mother & all Your affect Brother
L.L. Earl” (Figure 2).
This letter must have been a ‘downer’ for the future bride, and why does he not mention the name of the groom, unless the doubtful ‘Rhuun’ is the intended spouse. It sounds as if the fruit business needs an injection of cash! The research of this cover was totally unrewarding on several separate occasions, and the eventual findings were quite serendipitous, for the clues were found at a Rugby League site and a Society of Australian Genealogists’ members’ enquiries site.
The latter site provided the following information: Lancelot Lewis Earl was born in London England in 1862, a son of Lancelot Earl and Elizabeth, nee Lewis. He arrived in Australia in 1883 by the Duchess of Argyle and he married Ann Edwards in Wollongong, N.S.W. in 1886. They lived in Orange and the Arncliffe suburb of Sydney, and Lancelot died at ‘Earl Park’ in 1938. The former site provided a picture of a memorial stone laid in the ‘Legends’ Walk’ in 2004, commemorating Lancelot Lewis “Daddy” Earl who became the ‘savior’ of the rugby league club years ago (Figure 3).
“Born in London in 1861, Lancelot Earl lived an interesting and varied life. After arriving in Australia, Earl worked as a fruit merchant and became a trustee of Wentworth Park. Between 1906-1909 he was a Glebe alderman and was an asset to the community he represented. For a period of 15 years, Earl was to solve a problem for St. George (Rugby League Club) …(for it) had difficulties in securing an adequate home ground when they entered the Sydney first grade competition in 1921…..Earl offered his property to St. George as a home ground and headquarters…and it became one of the finest rugby league grounds in the Sydney competition”.
“The NSWRL signed a ten year lease with Earl, a formidable character with sprouting whiskers and paid him 1500 pounds. He spent the same amount to make the ground, and build the grandstand. The ground stood on what once was a flourishing Chinese market garden….when Earl passed away in 1938 the ground was put on the open market….(and) it was eventually sold to Cook’s Caramels who constructed a factory on the site.”
The two paragraphs in quotes are from the Rugby League website.