Royal Reels: Gambling


The Tasmanian postcard with the 1d red QV sideface stamp was postmarked HOBART/ A/ MY 5/ 1903/ TASMANIA and addressed Messrs Chas Atkins Co., 472 Flinders St, Melbourne and it also has a MELBOURNE 7 5 03 reception postmark on the front. In manuscript at the bottom right corner there is an F. & E. Crisp 4/5/05 inscription applied by the sender (Figure 1).

The reverse side is the most interesting on account of the penned message. “Melville St. Hobart, May 4, 1903 Dear Sirs Your Invoice for Barrel Oil per “SS Victoria” is to hand & we note you have increased the price by 3d per gal. As we bought at same price as last barrel supplied, we must ask you to send corrected Invoice or we must refuse to take delivery. We can buy best castor oil @ 2s8d delivered at the mill. Yours faithfully FRED & ERNEST CRISP.” The underlined manuscript appears to be in red crayon and the FRED & ERNEST CRISP appears to be a red rubber stamping. In addition there is a purple double ringed oval of the receiving company “Charles Atkins & Co./ 8- MAY 03/ MELBOURNE” (Figure 2).

The Charles Atkins & Co, Melbourne manufactured lubricating oil, grease, disinfectants, paints, dry colours and varnishes and was founded by Charles Atkins in 1883. The firm expanded into other States and in 1971, the company merged with Carlyle and Company to form Atkins Carlyle, which company changed its name to Alesco Corporation Limited in 2001.

The Crisp family of Hobart has its roots in the County of Suffolk, England when George Crisp aged 4 years, arrived with his father and family in Hobart. He served his apprenticeship with his father Samuel who had a timber yard in Hobart and stayed on with him until taken into partnership. George also entered into the saw milling business and admitted his brother Alfred into partnership (business known as G. and A. Crisp), and on George’s retirement sole control was left to Alfred.

Frederick Henry Crisp (1863-1907) was the second son of George, and he is the Fred of the postcard’s company who started off independently in1886 when he bought a property on Melville Street, Hobart. He was the most innovative and successful of the Crisp family timber merchants. Ernest Thomas Crisp (born 1870) was the son of Alfred Crisp and he and Fred became partners in the postcard’s company, which is shown in the advertisement (Figure 3).

I have not been able to trace a photo of Ernest Crisp, whereas a photograph of the short lived Frederick is available as Figure 4.

This short paper has not done justice to the Crisp timber men of Hobart, who were not only successful but also very public spirited.

The excellent assistance of Margaret Harman, Tasmaniana Library, State Library of Tasmania, Hobart is gratefully acknowledged

Categories: Business, Postcards