Royal Reels: Gambling


For more than 5 years I have wanted to write about a particular rare Victorian postmark, but could not find a suitable way to introduce a discussion on this subject. The present postcard gave me a means how to broach this subject. The card has a Victoria green ½d ‘Bantam’ stamp cancelled with the double circle thick double-barred arc at both sides MELBOURNE/ AM/ 4 30/ 8 11 02/ 2 postmark, plus 2 incomplete purple ‘—–OO Posted’ hand-strikes. It is addressed to Warrion (which is ca.15 km north of Colac in South-West Victoria (Figure 1).

The reverse has printed matter which includes:


We beg to advise you that our price for Prime Cream, Butter Result,

will be ‘9′ Pence per lb, for week ending ‘8th Nov 1902′.

Consignments of Cream and other Dairy Produce received daily.

Returns sent weekly. —— Thanking you for past favours, and soliciting your

future support, we remain, yours faithfully,


Butter Manufacturers, Dairy Produce Merchants & Commission Agents,

521-527 Flinders Street, Melbourne.

Our Butter obtained First Prize Royal Agricultural Societies Show, Melbourne.

There are three vertically placed scripts, 2 printed and 1 hand-struck in red on the card, as follows:

On the left side of card,

Sole Agents for the famous Danish Separators


Awarded Grand Prix PARIS 1900

On the right side of card,

Cream & Milk Cans, and all Dairy Requisites

Supplied at Lowest Rates.

Centrally placed, in red,

We pay Rail Freight/ and charge No City/ Cartage. (Figure 2).

The first mechanical milk separator patent was granted to a Swede, Gustaf de Laval, and this apparatus permitted butter manufacture to begin as the milk was received. This type of machine was introduced into Australia in 1881 at Mittagong, N.S.W. Victoria, particularly the South-West, rapidly became a major dairy area and by 1895 there were 200 butter factories and 300 creameries in the Colony. A strong export trade in dairy products emerged quite quickly but it was found that their quality was mot good enough. Various Colonial and then State governments were forced to take action to improve the dairy products. An amusing picture concerning butter grading and its quality is seen in Figure 3.

To-date it has been difficult to obtain information on Holdenson and Nielson, the individuals who started the firm, in spite of the fact that there are multiple entries on the web which mostly give one line of information about the company. An entry for the Holdenson & Nielson Lake Boga Butter Factory was found for March 1910, and a Birregurra site for Holdenson & Nielson Fresh Food Pty Ltd ‘Butter and Cheese Manufacturers and Dairy Produce Merchants’ was found in December 1913. Both entries described repairs to the concrete floors of their buildings. Other company sites are mentioned at Cororooke, Korumburra, North Wharf, and Wangaratta and there is a notation for Holdenson & Nielson (Products) Ltd’s involvement in a law case as late as March 1961. The present postcard is dated 1902 and it suggests that the firm was well established before that date in Melbourne. The presumed main site of the firm’s Melbourne building (ca. 1906) is shown in Figure 4.

This brings me to the subject of the unusual postal listings to be found in Gary Watson, John Webster & David Wood’s The Post Offices and Hand-Held Datestamps of Victoria, Melbourne 1989, Volume 1, pages 30-68, in which they give a ‘Reversed Listing of Post Office Names’ of Victoria. There are 22 Post Offices (more correctly Receiving Offices), open almost exclusively in the first 2 decades of the 1900’s listed as ‘Creamery’, 9 listed as a ‘Factory’, of which only 7 are dairy-related with 1 ‘Cheese Factory’, and 6 are listed as a ‘Butter Factory’. I am unaware that any of the other Australian colonies had similar dairy-related post office listings.

The listing for Appin may be unique, in that the listing is in the order ‘Butter Factory Appin’, rather than the usual order of town, followed by factory or creamery. I was surprised when this postmark turned up in my red 1d KGV Heads collection, and although the cancel is incomplete, it has been confirmed by David Wood as a bona fide copy of the postmark. The stamp is postmarked (—— ——-) APPIN/ (-) 8 AP 15/ VIC. The entry in the Victorian Postmaks book reads:

BUTTER FACTORY APPIN This office is known only from the CDS. It is not listed in any PO Guide nor is it in any Mail contract.

#10 VIC Arcs: ? , ? [right arc 5½ mm] Circumference ? [29 mm] LDL [large date line confirmed] ERD (earliest recorded date) 14 MY 14 LRD (latest recorded date) [8 AP 15] RRRR (greatest rarity of one to three copies known). The bolding in the square brackets are the data for my stamp’s postmark (Figure 5).

An interesting and rare finding for an unusual postmark, finally put to rest!