Royal Reels: Gambling


Two Thomas C. Lothian Pty Ltd covers were found recently and I was surprised that I had never heard of the company before, not only because of its longevity but also because of its importance to Australian publishing. The first was a WW II censored cover with the usual red label of ‘3 Opened by Censor’ as well as the purple hand stamp, and it was addressed to an important English publishing company of Messrs. F. Lewis Publishers Ltd., Essex, England. The red 2½d KGVI stamp was postmarked with the fine SHIP MAIL ROOM / 2 15P 1AP41/ MELBOURNE and there was a partially obscured by the label of the Lothian address and insignia (Figure1).

The reverse was of interest in that there was a map of a block of the business district of Melbourne, showing the position of Lothian House (Figure 2).

The second cover of lesser quality and was addressed to New Zealand and the red 2d KGV Silver Jubilee stamp was postmarked in 1935 with a Melbourne roller cancel (Figure 3).

However the identical address and company insignia of the first cover were both shown completely. The address was given as 1 Fleming Place off 350 Little Collins Street, Melbourne and the blue insignia of T.C.L. over a ship in full sail was totally seen (Figure 4).

Thomas Carlyle Lothian was born on 7 May 1880 at Newcastle upon Tyne, England the eldest child of John Inglis Lothian, bookkeeper and his wife Lillias Charlotte née Smith. The family arrived in Melbourne in 1888 for John had come to represent the publishing firm of Walter Scott. Thomas attended the Brighton Road State school and then he worked for four years at the famous Coles Book Arcade, Melbourne, learning the book trade and furthering his education.

About 1897 Thomas entered his father’s business, and by 1901 he was showing samples and circulars to booksellers in the capital cities, in country towns of the eastern states, as well as New Zealand. In 1911 he established the Standard Publishing Company to sell directly to the public. In 1912 he married Effie Marian Vines who had worked for several years in his father’s office. On his father’s retirement in 1912 he formed the Thomas C. Lothian Pty Ltd to carry on the business of representation, which included many well-known British and American publishers.

He had become a publisher in his own right in 1905 when he published Bernard O’Dowd’s The Silent Land and Other Verses, and this was followed by further poetry, natural history, stories, educational works, books on health, cookery and business skills. He published several magazines, including titles of literary and general interest, and another on golf and motoring. He came to represent many authors, including the famed Henry Lawson. Following the outbreak of WW I he sought to expand his publishing interests and by 1918 he had published more than half of his total of some more than 230 titles. In 1916 his 2 most ambitious publications were Elves and Fairies illustrated by Ida Outhwaite, and The Art of Frederick McCubbin.

After WW I Thomas handed over his various publishing businesses to his 2 younger sons, but he retained his office where he continued his interest in the Melbourne Rotary Club. He died a widower, survived by his 5 children, at his home at Mont Albert on 19 April 1974. A picture of Thomas Carlyle Lothian is shown in Figure 5.

This paper was derived from the on-line Australian Dictionary of Biography.

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