Royal Reels: Gambling


This South Australian Post Card with a brown ONE PENNY imprinted stamp was canceled with a squared circle ROSEWORTHY, S.A. postmark (vendor states 1894). It was addressed by typewriter to eight men as follows: D.H. Hollidge Esq. A.M.; W. Trudinger A.B. Esq.; F.W. Wheatley Sc.B.; J.H. Royce Esq. J.G.F.; W.H. Williams Pro. Ag. Esq.; L.H. Nicholls Esq. B.A.; Fred W. Russack B.F. Esq.; Theo. Wheatley Esq. P.A.B., WAY COLLEGE, with an UNLEY manuscript (Figure 1).

The reverse had a partial UNLEY squared circle reception postmark and a single typed word, with a pair of horizontal black and red lines above and below ‘URANUTHER’ (Figure 2).

My entry into understanding this cover was through researching Way College and the Bible Christian Church. This religion was founded in Cornwall and Devon, England in 1850, it was brought to Australia by the Cornish miners at Burra S.A., and its first minister in South Australia was the Rev. James Way (1804-1884), who arrived with Rev. Rowe in the 1850s. In 1887 the denomination purchased the former Eye Hospital at Wayville with the intention of opening a Boys’ College. Initially it was to train young men for the ministry, but when a distinguished scholar and educationist (Dr. William George Torr) was chosen as principal, the focus changed.. He had very progressive ideas as to boys’ education, the school flourished, there were three tracks of learning, and it included an agricultural curriculum. A view of the Way College building is seen in ‘The Way College Boomerang, Vol.II, No. 4. Adelaide: June, 1895. Price, 3D’. The college’s motto was ‘Hoc Unum Facio’ [literal: This One Does] (Figure 3).

In 1900 the ‘Methodist Union’ took place with amalgamation of the Bible Christians and several other churches into the Methodist Church of South Australia. This amalgamation of churches also affected their colleges, and the Way College, which had seen 1100 boys pass through it, was closed in 1903. The Way College had been made redundant by the Wesleyans’ Prince Alfred College, Adelaide.

David Henry Hollidge (1883-1961), the first named on the postcard, was born in Adelaide and received his education at the Prince Alfred College and the University of Adelaide, where he completed his MA degree in Classics. After several teaching positions he became headmaster of one of the 3 educational tracks introduced by Dr. William Torr at Way College, the University School, from 1893 to 1902. He subsequently had several more senior positions at other Colleges and in 1907 and he was appointed to assist the Professor of Classics at the University of Adelaide. He was associated with the University until 1937, and he had a position as examiner in Latin and Greek from 1907-58. The term ‘Uranuther’ has no relation to either language. A picture of David Henry Hollidge is shown in Figure 4.

Closer scrutiny of the addressees showed that at least 5 of the 8 had University degrees or a diploma in Agriculture, and the remaining three had designations after their names which also might have meant they had some form of higher learning, such as ‘J.G.F.’, ‘B.F.’ & ‘P.A.B.’ The most interesting addressee was the third, Frederick William Wheatley (1871-1955) who was born at Kapunda S.A., educated at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide and he joined the teaching staff at Way College in 1890. There are some odd things about this man in that he did not gain his B.Sc. degree until 1913 (yet he was addressed as having a Sc. B.) and amongst his many accomplishments he became a noted cryptographer during World War One.

Joanne Cook, Research Librarian, State Library of South Australia, Adelaide has been able “to confirm that Hollidge, Trudinger, Russack and both the Wheatley’s were masters at Way College. I am not able to link Royce with Way College, however I have found his name given as Headmaster of Malvern College (which seems to have been a Methodist College), where Hollidge also taught for a period. I have not been able to locate Williams or Nicholls amongst the list of staff or students of Way College…… (but) I have not been able to rule them out.”

I had suspected that all those addressed were teachers or students of Way College and that they were possibly members of a Way College Society, and that the significance of ‘URANUTHER’ was more than something simple like it being a contraction of ‘You are another’. I was unable to confirm the seller’s description of the year (1894) that the postcard was mailed, but Way College existed from 1890 (also stated as 1892) until 1903. Even this latest date could not explain F.W. Wheatley’s degree of ‘Sc. B.’, although closer scrutiny of F.W. Wheatley’s degree looks more like ‘Sc. 8′. His initial degree was given by the Australian Dictionary of Biography as being a B.A. in 1904, obtained at the University of Adelaide.

An unusual postcard, possibly unique, a challenge to readers for further explanation.