Royal Reels: Gambling


With the many thousands of Tattersall covers still available on the market, it is somewhat refreshing to find one that is a little different. The cover bears a block of the ‘Four Corners’ 1d orange Queensland stamp, cancelled with 3 complete and 2 incomplete TOWNSVILLE/ 6–A-1 FE O5/ QUEENSLAND postmarks. The cover is addressed to one of the myriad addresses that were used to send mail (in semi-subterfuge) to the lottery company, and this one was sent to Lovett Esq., 69 Collins Street, Hobart, Tasmania. It had the obligatory staple hole and the dull lilac-grey “TATTERSALL/ HOBART” label applied on receipt (Figure 1).

The reverse of the cover advertised Lowth’s Hotel, Flinders Street, opposite Bulletin Office, Townsville, N.Q. (North Queensland), which was printed by Willmett, Townsville. There was a reception postmark of HOBART/ 9–P 11 FE 05/ TASMANIA, which seemed to be rather an excessive 10 days’ transit (although it did involve both train and ship travel (Figure 2).

Thomas “Tom” Lowth’s name was involved with two Townsville hotels, the first being the Australian Hotel which opened on Wednesday 3 October 1888 with Lowth, as the first licensee. He remained in the hotel for only a few months, after which it passed through the hands of many licensees. Portion of the original hotel was destroyed by fire in 1902, requiring substantial rebuilding, and the Townsville Herald of 1888 was very impressed with its original design. Of course there was a good story associated with the hotel: The Australian-born Hollywood star, Errol Flynn stayed in the upstairs rooms and it was reported that he paid for his accommodation by selling signed autographs!

The Hotel bearing Lowth’s name is shown in the picture dated 1920, which emphasises the large verandahs on the corner lot. There is a story about the hotel (which may be apocryphal) involving Private Green of the 42nd Battalion who caught a large carpet snake on maneuvres. On returning to Townsville he put the snake in a sugar bag, and set it loose in Lowth’s Hotel, causing a commotion with the billeted Yanks during WW II (Figure 3).

Thus two quality North Queensland hotels were associated with Tom Lowth’s name, who was proclaimed to be a popular licensee.

Categories: Advertising Covers