This is one of several pages relating to the history of the automatic totalisator, its invention in 1913, the inventor George Julius and the Australian company he founded in 1917 which became a monopoly in this field (later part of an oligopoly). If you wish to start from the beginning then go to the index

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George Julius Genealogy and other Latterday Tote Interest

I do not wish to get too involved in George Julius' genealogy; I do not have the time for my own family genealogy! However I have received some Emails from people interested in tracing his descendents and I have provided some contact details, to facilitate communication amongst them. If you wish to be added to this list please send me email via the email button at the bottom of this page.

Contact details

Wendy JonesGeorge's great granddaughter lost contact
Susan JuliusGeorge's cousin
Diane McCarthyResearching Wendy Whiteley George's (sister's Email address)
Lexie OldlandGeorge's great
Tony ShellshearGeorge's great
Dermot ElworthyGeorge's great
Edward FennGeorge's cousin once

A list of George's close ancestors

A list of George's immediate descendants

Having mentioned Roderick Julius in the list above, I notice that in newspapers of the time, a Roderick Julius was billed in plays. As Roderick Herbert Julius' associate, Clarence Stumbles, was the Publicity Officer of Kings Theatres Pty Ltd, perhaps the aviator Julius and actor Julius are the same person. Charles Stumbles was also the manager of the Rose Bay North Theatre in Sydney.

There is much more information available regarding the Julius family at, following are a few interesting extracts.

The name The Kings Candlesticks comes from candlesticks that King George IV gave to George Alfred Julius' great grandfather Dr. George Charles Julius. King George IV used to stop his carriage when he saw George Charles Julius to tell him There is nothing in the window today. This referred to the way the King signalled whether the royal family had any need for the doctor to visit, by sticking some putty on a window.

This family is traced back, but not proven to John Julius, of Nth Yarmouth, who, in the 17th C, became a sugar planter on the Island of St Kitts, (St Christopher) West Indies. His son Capt William Julius RN was honoured with burial in Westminster Abbey for his success in capturing French naval "Prizes". William's descendants worked the land with their slaves, becoming wealthy and influential. Spreading out across the world.

There is an interesting anecdote relating to William John Julius born in 1726 in St Kitts, which I have summarised. When William lived in Cavendish Square London, he was secretary to the Prime Minister, The Marquis of Rockingham. He lived the life of a fashionable man about town. At this time highwaymen abounded, one of them was Sixteen Stringed Jack considered second only to Dick Turpin. The nickname refers to the 16 various coloured strings he wore on the knees of his silk breeches. The Duke of Argyle out riding one night was bailed up by an armed robber who threatened to shoot him. In reply the Duke drew his pistol and fired at the robber who fled back to London. The Duke who had recognised this renowned highwayman gave chase but was given the slip. The Duke was taken by the highwayman's fine grey horse which reminded him of William Julius' very celebrated four grey horses. He then went to visit William and found he was out to see a play. The Duke interrupted William in his box at the theater and William informed the Duke that he must be mistaken as he had travelled to the theater with the four greys hauling the carriage and that the horses were at the local stables. The Duke convinced Julius to accompany him to the stables. Three of the horses were cold and calm and the fourth was panting and foaming. The Duke recognised William's coachman as Sixteen Stringed Jack who was arrested, tried and hanged at Tyburn. Note: the original document from which this summary was derived is the Julius family magazine Julius Jottings No 4 Jan 1901. I have seen another version of the demise of John Rann (Sixteen String Jack).

New Zealand Holiday

Whilst on holiday in New Zealand in September 2007 I visited Christchurch Cathedral. I spoke to one of the guides indicating that I was interested in Archbishop Churchill Julius, George's father. I was surprised to find that he knew about George and that George was regarded as somewhat of a curiosity considering his business association with gambling. George's mother was Alice Frances Rowlandson.

Churchill Julius was appointed Archdeacon Ballarat in 1884, nominated to the Diocese of Christchurch in 1889, consecrated Bishop of Christchurch in 1890, Anglican Primate and Archbishop of New Zealand commencing 1922. He was on the Board of Governors of Canterbury College (University). He was known for his liberal views. The year of my visit was the 90th anniversary of Bishop Julius Hall. Bishop Julius gave his home Bishopscourt Park Terrace to be a dwelling for women students in Christchurch. Churchill's father was Dr. Frederic Gilder Julius a surgeon who was married to Ellen Hannah Smith.

There is a list of Deans inside the Cathedral, John Awdry Julius, George's brother is amongst them. George had 2 brothers and 5 sisters.

I noticed that there was a "Julius Place" whilst visiting Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. Checking to see if this had anything to do with the Julius family, I learnt that Alfred Henry Julius first cousin to Churchill Julius was Vicar for the Akaroa Diocese.

Canterbury College Image of Old Canterbury College buildings now the Arts Centre

Whilst in Christchurch I visited "Rutherford's Den". It is a tourist attraction at The Arts Centre which is now located in the buildings that used to be Canterbury College later known as Canterbury University. Rutherford's Den consists of the cloakroom where Rutherford used to conduct his experiments and the surrounding rooms and lecture theatre. Ernest Rutherford was a world famous scientist who discovered the nuclear structure of the atom and was the first person to knowingly split it. It has been suggested that this claim should be to split the nucleus of an atom! He is pictured on the New Zealand $100 bill. Both Ernest Rutherford and George Julius obtained degrees at these premises and they both started in 1890. (post-script: July 2011, I have just discovered an article in Nature, International weekly Journal of Science, reference Nature 158,124 (27 July 1946) which states that George "attended classes with his contemporary and friend Ernest Rutherford.")

I also visited Riccarton Racetrack. I had no prior knowledge of it and had a look purely as a result of having seen a signpost to Riccarton Racetrack. I was surprised to find a barometer indicator on an old tote building reminiscent of the ones which were part of the Julius Totes. The tote house was occupied by a Veterinary company and an employee there knew that the building used to be the main tote house, that it had historical significance and that the old electro-mechanical Julius tote was still upstairs but not easily accessible. On further investigation I found that Julius tote installations were performed here in 1921 and 1935.

Riccarton Park old main tote house. Canterbury Jockey Club Riccarton

I informed Prof. Bob Doran of this system. He subsequently visited this site and documented his findings regarding the Julius tote machinery which was still present. Amongst his findings was a drawing which he photographed and is shown below.

Julius Poole and Gibson blueprint Bluprint of wiring to Grand Total Units

I find this drawing of particular interest for two reasons. Firstly the fact that it is a blueprint. I recall there being a proliferation of blueprints in the AWA print room at North Ryde in Sydney in the early 1970s. This was a once common means of reproducing engineering drawings. Despite Blueprints becoming so common that the word became part of the English language, they now seem to have disappeared into antiquity as I have not seen any blueprints in decades. Secondly, the drawing was produced by Awdry Julius, George's son, for Julius Poole and Gibson.

Having mentioned the print room at AWA, I recall my first visit to this room to collect a drawing. You waited outside the room at a long counter with a large opening above it through which you could see the inside of the print room. Staff on the other side of the counter would attend to your requests for documents or accept documents to be stored. This opening had a shutter which I first thought was purely for securing this room. This I found a little odd as it secured the print room from the rest of the factory and other staff on the outside. It was a bit like a small shop front or canteen servery. As I waited to be served, my attention was drawn to a sign on the wall inside the print room. It was a set of instructions regarding the possibility of a fire. Evidently in the event of the fire alarm being triggered, the personnel in the print room only had seconds to exit the room before the fire system automatically closed doors and shutters and flooded the room with fire extinguishing gas! I wonder what occupational health and safety issues there would be with that nowadays. I suppose in those days these rooms contained the Knowledge Base for the organisation and this made it extremely important to preserve the contents. In addition this predated the widespread use of computer based drawing and document creation and storage and database systems with off site storage for backup.

An email from Bill Chalmers

In March 2007 I received an email from John Shoebridge enquiring about a Model City that George Julius owned. John had been communicating with Bill Chalmers who wrote about it. Following is an extract from his email.

I don't know anything about the abilities of Sir George Julius in model-making, but can certainly add something about the "Model City". It was built over a period, probably about 1937-39, at the opulent Rushcutters Bay home of the Julius family right on the waterfront. I think his chauffeur had a lot do with the construction. It was offered by Sir George as a Red Cross fund-raising display in 1940 and went on display at, I think, Grace Brothers in Sydney. It was later moved to the then Myer Emporium in Melbourne, being set up in the basement during 1941 It consisted of a plaster-of paris mountain-side built on transportable wood frame sectons and was about 13 metres long, 3 or 3.5 deep and about 3 high. It had an extensive Lionel "0" gauge layout with fiddle yards behind the scenes. Trains operated on a programmed sequence, as did various cranes, conveyors, barges, coalmines, etc, with a commentator describing the action. My father, the late A.M. Chalmers, was employed by Sir George ( but maybe the Red Cross - not sure) to manage, set up and operate the display with a small staff. I remember the maintenance technician was Ted Beckett and there were girl operators and a professional commentator - the programme ran for about 40 minutes. I still have my father's draft set-up and operating notes, also some large photos of parts of the layout.

I emailed with Bill in August 2008 and following is an extract from his reply providing additional information.

To add a little to my reply to John Shoebridge; I remember accompanying my father to Sir George's home right on the shore of Rushcutters Bay, probably in 1940. The home was quite large, of three levels, I think. The Model City was housed in a large room in a lower level - the memory is really vague on that, but I clearly remember being introduced to Sir George and a member of his staff, who was probably his driver/mechanic or whatever, and the impression on a nine-year old of the huge model. In fact, the plaster-of-paris mountain construction was painted in rather garish colours, as I remember.

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney have the remnants of this model city.

The following is an extract from the book Julius Poole and Gibson The First Eighty Years:

In the early years of the practice George Julius, with the help of his sons, made great progress in constructing the model railway set which gradually grew to be a model city measuring 13 metres by 4 metres, and up to 3 metres high.

Many years later on the occasion of its exhibition in Melbourne, "The Argus" gave the following description (26 June, 1941):
"The model city is a perfect miniature township, with railways, lakes, a park, windmill and street lighting.
Behind the town is a mountain made of seven tons of plaster. The mountain is criss-crossed by railway lines and is full of tunnels. It has several deep gorges crossed by suspension bridges and is dotted with miniature engineering devices. There is an excavator digging soil from the hillside and depositing it in waiting trucks, a dredge scooping gravel up from the dock, a coal mine, complete with its own railway services and loading cranes, post cranes for loading timber and a mine from which iron ore is carried in buckets on a belt conveyor to an electric grab which deposits it in barges. There is also an iron foundry and a farmyard all to scale."

Lent to the Red Cross in 1941 to raise funds, the model city was exhibited in an annex to the toy department at Myer Emporium in Melbourne. The model city was insured for 10,000 pounds and received nationwide newspaper coverage. It was eventually presented to the Sydney Technical Museum.

An email from Tony Shellshear

In March 2009, I received the following email from Tony Shellshear, George's great grandson.

Not sure if it is of interest, but I am Sir George Julius’s great grandson.
I have just taken delivery of the original lathe on which Sir George created the first totalisator prototypes, along with many cogs and wheels, which are presumably ‘left over bits’ or spare parts.
I have only just started doing an initial assembly of the lathe, as I received it in parts, with no drawings or notes. So far so good.
Once I have it figured out, or at least as far as I can, I will send some photos.
Have not yet managed to determine the make of the lathe, however some of the gear and thread cutting accessories carry the name ‘Evans and Sons, London’.
My intention is restore it ‘gently’, so as not to lose the sense of age of the machine, but to hopefully get it working for display purposes.
It was originally a pedal powered machine, but has had an electric motor conversion at some stage. Sadly, the original pedals and flywheel are no longer with the machine, but I am going to do some net hunting to see if I can firstly determine what they would have looked like, and start the hunt for replacement parts.   

Will keep you posted as the mysteries unfold.


Image of the ATL reunion dinner held in December 2008
Tony Shellshear visiting the Julius tote at the Eagle Farm Racing Museum April 2009, which was manufactured by his great grandfather's company Automatic Totalisators.

It is now March 2014 and Narelle and I have had a wonderful lunch at Tony and Cathy Shellshear's place. Tony is engaged in a rigorous project to return George Julius' lathe he mentions in the above email to its original condition. It has already undergone a major transformation to be in the condition shown in the following photograph. The lathe was manufactured by Evans and Sons of London in 1830.

George Julius' Evans and Sons Lathe George Julius' original lathe

Tony also gave us a look over his extensive collection of George Julius memorabilia including his degrees, knighthood certificate and medal, slide rules, tools, documents, other awards and achievements, his induction document to the Racing Hall of Fame, membership and family documents and George’s lathe, as well as many photos. It is an astounding collection. I have presented images of medallions from Tony's collection in the Sir George Julius chapter of this website. Whilst on the subject of Tony Shellshear, I will mention that Awdry Julius who created the Julius Poole and Gibson blueprint drawing shown above is Tony's Grandfather.

The ATL reunion dinners

Nick D'Angelo, a long serving ATL manager has created an ATL tradition. Every year in December he organises an ATL reunion dinner in Sydney which is usually very popular. I have included a photograph of the 2008 reunion mainly because it is the smallest of these gatherings I have been to and everyone attending fits onto the one photograph. Usually these reunions are at least twice this size with a lot of dropouts this year due to business meetings that could not be broken and people being overseas. My apologies to the people down the far end of the table and if anyone has a better photo I am happy to replace this one particularly since Narelle would have preferred to be down the other end.

These reunions are something that many outsiders do not comprehend. They wonder why it is that a group of people saw something so special about the company they worked for, the relationships they made whilst employed by that company and the work they performed there, that they make the effort to come to a reunion often travelling long distances or international to celebrate a company deceased for decades.

The 2008 ATL reunion Dinner Image of the ATL reunion dinner held in December 2008

An email from Mike Bell, a long serving ATL projects manager captures the sentiment of these occasions.

I just wanted to say “thanks” on behalf of all the guys and girls (whether or not they could make it) for arranging the dinner last night – good food, good wine / beer and good company (well, mostly – right Ziz? :-) ). It’s a great tradition that you’ve established (and maintain) and long may it continue.
Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas and a great 2009 to you and the rest of the gang.

And the reply

Hi Mike,
Thanks, it's always good to catch up with everyone and share some merriment around this time of year.
A special thanks to those people that travel the long distances to attend, and I hope to see as many as possible of the gang again next year.
Till then, stay safe and well, have a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

Britain Holiday 2009

The Church of St Peter Mancroft Norwich Image of the Market Church and Norwich Castle
In September of 2009 I visited Britain again. I did some flying in a Cirrus SR22 from Humberside airport near Hull to Manston in Kent pursuing another historical interest the Battle of Britain. I noticed that George Julius' home town Norwich was in the vicinity so I went to have a look at it. The photo is of The Church of St Peter Mancroft in the foreground and Norwich Castle in the background on the right hand side of the Church. I am presently reading A History of Norwich by Frank Meeres. It is said that Norwich has a pub for every day of the year and a church for every Sunday of the year. It is ironic that George invented the first automatic totalisator and came from Norwich known as a city of firsts.

Dermot Elworthy informed me that Archbishop Julius, George's father, started his career at St Giles in Norwich.

Britain Holiday 2010

I visited the UK in 2010 again. I always used to think that the concept of Best Friend was a childhood concept. I am starting to think that it permeates throughout life. Whilst in London I spent several occasions with Charles Norrie, the northern hemisphere expert on George Julius and his totes. Charles has definitely become what I would call one of this 60 year old’s version of a best friend. Maybe the correct term is Soul Mates! We have been Internet acquaintances for many years and I have spent time with him during my antipodean visits to the UK for the last 3 years.

I had planned to do some flying in an SR22 again this year in the UK. I planned to fly from Humberside to Exeter to meet Dermot Elworthy who is George Julius’ grand nephew. Dermot and I have been Internet friends for a long time and share many passions such as aviation, motorcycles and steam engines and of course Julius family and totalisator history. Dermot’s career was in mechanical design and development engineering with a change to corporate aviation when the company he worked for purchased its own aircraft. The aircraft I was hoping to fly had a faulty transponder, eliminating the possibility of flying under instrument flight rules and in controlled airspace. This left the possibility of doing any aviation in the aircraft dependent on visual flight conditions which did not exist during the period of time I had allotted to aviating. This resulted in two aborted attempts to fly to Gloucester to have the transponder repaired and to Exeter to meet Dermot.

Whilst spending time in Doncaster, waiting for suitable weather to fly out of Humberside, I visited Doncaster Racecourse. This Racecourse is where The Doncaster Cup is run and this is the oldest continuing regulated horse race in the world. I was there shortly after the St Leger Stakes had been run and witnessed a massive two story marquee being dismantled. We have set up tote facilities at Eagle Farm Racecourse in two story marquees during carnival events before however the sight of this behemoth made me pleased that we have not had to do something on such a huge scale.

After Doncaster we travelled to Edinburgh which I found an extremely impressive and historical city. I am not going to diverge into a travelogue of Edinburgh but try and keep some reference to the topic of this website. Whilst in Edinburgh I took photos related to two people who had a big impact on electronics engineering. John Napier the inventor of Logarithms who is interred in the graveyard of the Church of St Cuthbert, and the birthplace of Alexander Graham Bell, the man who invented the telephone. These two men are linked as the unit of measurement of gain or attenuation, the Decibel, named after Bell, incorporates logarithms in its calculation. This preservation of technology and engineering history is something not strongly practised in Australia.

Narelle, Brian, Dermot, Charles and Danny at the meeting at the Bridge House Image of meeting to determine if GAJ society should be formed October 2010

Whilst in London I attended a meeting to determine if a Julius Society should be formed. It was held at The Bridge House at Little Venice. I eventually met Dermot here at last! I attempted to convey the message to the other attendees at the meeting who thought George Julius should have been recognised in Australia as an Australian Engineering hero and found it anomalous that we do not value these people. Professor Trevor Cole recognised this anomaly when he wrote of Julius We need to be aware of our engineering heroes. Similarly Prof. Martyn Webb wrote of Julius One can hardly believe that such a man could go almost unnoticed and unrecognised. Danny Hayton made a statment at the meeting that I found particularly poignant. The concept of what he said is that it is ironic, considering the amount of energy that goes into the history of the arts, and how comparatively little goes into engineering and technology history as it is the latter achievements that emancipated the human race sufficiently from the basic requirements of life to be able to engage in the former.

Whilst in the UK, I received an email from Prof. Bob Doran to inform me that he had found a website Exploring 20th Century London that indicated the Museum of London had an exhibit containing a part of the Harringay Julius tote that operated at the Harringay Greyhound Racing Track. I spent an afternoon in the London Museum with Charles Norrie and could not find any evidence of this exhibit. I eventually found a curator who knew of it, Jim Gledhill at The Department of History Collections Museum of London, who was very helpful and keen to show it to me. Unfortunately he was not available till after my departure home. I have included a link to this website in the link page of this website.

Whilst in Edingburgh I went looking for Powderhall Stadium where a Julius tote was installed in 1936. Another Julius tote was installed in Edinburgh in 1930 for the Greyhound Racing Association however I do not know where that one was installed. I discovered that the Stadium no longer exists. Bob Wilson from Leeds wrote in his contribution to the Growing Up in Broughton website:


Powderhall Stadium, was originally built in 1870 for cycling and athletics. It fell into decline and was converted to a greyhound racing stadium. Over 10,000 people attended the first meeting held 3rd August 1927. The long, grass straights from the dog release traps meant safe running conditions and fast times.

1930s to 1960s

In its early days as a greyhound stadium, the main racing event was the Edinburgh Cup, first run in 1933. Greyhounds trained in London won the Scottish Greyhound Derby ten times before 1960, including wins for one of the greatest greyhounds ever to race at Powderhall stadium, Pigalle Wonder.

In the 1940s, the stadium was the pride of Scottish greyhound racing. My gran lived within walking distance of this track, and I spent many a pleasant summer evening there on my annual visits.

The sport of greyhound racing thrived throughout Britain, in the 1940s, but in 1960 it was killed off by the arrival of the national TV service. No one wanted to go to a often cold, blustery dog track when they could sit at home and watch free TV, especially Coronation Street.

1980s and 1990s

In 1988 the Greyhound Racing Association, the GRA, sold the track to local businessman Norrie Rowan, who sold it on to Coral the Bookmakers for an instant profit.

In 1992, the stadium was taken over by Eddie Ramsay, a nightclub owner, but in 1995 it went bankrupt. Its terraces were bulldozed for housing development.

In transit between London and Edinburgh, on the way up and back, I drove through Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I contacted Brough Park Newcastle Greyhound Stadium where another Julius tote was installed in 1936. There was another Julius tote installation for the Greyhound Racing Association in Newcastle in 1931. I received a reply from Marjorie Jackson indicating that the system was no longer at the track and that it had probably been moved to another track in the 1960s, however no one at Brough Park knew where.

Bob Moran's Interactive Julius Tote Displays

Bob Moran, a Sydney based engineer with an interest in totalisator history has built a Julius totalisator single adder interactive display module which provides a safe hands on experience to understand the workings of the shaft adder, odds calculator, odds relay, scanner and ticket issuing machine parts of the Julius tote. The unit is work in progress and will be fully enclosed when complete. He is also working on a 4 shaft adder Julius tote demonstration unit. I visited Bob in December 2010 at the premises of his company Precision Dynamics. He showed me his Julius Tote demonstration units. I find this inspirational work and it amazes me how devotees such as Bob invest so much in time and materials, in the interests of preserving history, with little probability of any return. Bob also showed me his Babbage Difference Engine 1 project which is taking shape. It is a sight to behold!

Bob Moran's Interactive Julius Tote Display Image of Bob Moran's Julius tote demonstration system

Bob sent me the following email on 30 August 2010.

Hello Brian,

Quite a few years have past since we last communicated, this is when I put together some of the Broadmeadow tote for the PHM, you kindly put me in contact with Neville Mitchell. Well things have gone the full circle again!! I am trying to retire from the business which I sold off a couple of months ago to someone with their own workshop etc and am now cleaning things up which has turned out to be quite an job. I still have the factory and machines which I need to finish the Babbage DE1 project. From the tote wreckage left over, I have worked out I have most pieces to build two four adder displays (ie 2 win and 2 place) and two single adder displays. The design drawings are finished and I have commenced making the framework which will use up material around the place. A lot of the framework and bits were lost when Allan transported it to his house plus the Newcastle Museum grabbed a lot of it. Hopefully these units will be small hands on interactive displays which will properly demonstrate the workings. The PHM machine was too big and posed safety and reliability issues, which should be easier to overcome with these units. The other day I contacted Neville Mitchell and Bob Doran to touch base and keep them informed. I feel you too would be interested in what I am up to.

Absolutely love your web site. For years I have been meaning to come up and look at the E/F Museum

Best Regards
Bob Moran

And an extract from another email on 31 August 2010.

It is not great news yet, but I am trying, will keep you informed. The tote was in my mind a very important milestone in data processing and proves somewhat that innovation is demand driven. The bits I have are too important and just can't be junked. ...

Yes I would like a copy of "Totalisator History in the Eagle Farm Racing Museum" whenever you get around to it, might help me get my head around some of the issues.

Thank you Brian you are a font of information, have a nice holiday and I will have to make it to Brisbane soon.

And an extract from another email on 15 October 2010.

Welcome back trust you had a great trip. Thank you for the photos very interesting and timely as I am trying to put together a modest display on computing before computers leading up to Babbage's printing of tables etc with DE1 and what calculating devices were available in the early 19th century. Napier and his logs figure greatly with htis, nice to have some background information on the man, wish I had a set of "Napier's Bones" anyway I have a 2' Gunter's scale and a Sector, then slide rules then some old mechanical calculators etc. (please not I am a mech engineer and not too good with the electronics your DVD was great and opened my eyes to a lot of computing issues)

Please see attached file of where I am at with the single adder interactive still WIP but very close now. The four module unit is on hold till I sort the single on out, ideas change all the time and I am finding the more manual I can make it the easier it is to understand.

Thanks again for your input.

And finally another email on 18 October 2010.

Dear Brian,

Thanks for the Tote encouragement and the great picture of Faraday, he is also on my hero list, it is amazing how many brilliant minds have enabled us to be where we are! Regarding what is happening here, with the interactive display, Bob Doran knows what I am up to in some detail as they are scrapping a tote in Palmerston North which I would love to get some parts from. As for other people, not many others know as I am still finishing a few things on the Tote and want to make sure I am happy with its performance before I say too much. Matthew was to visit last month but he is very busy. I am just forging on to set up a 'Discovery Shed' here at Precision Dynamics in Mona Vale, the tote is just one of the things I have that hopefully will make it an interesting place to visit. I have a window of opportunity here at the moment with an empty factory and plenty of junk to maybe do something for the community, I need to cover overheads but everything else will be voluntary. I welcome your interest in what I am doing and if you wish pass on information that is fine, just be aware the interactive is not finalised yet there may be changes and when it is I need to finish the four adder unit which needs to incorporate a grand total unit (some of the parts I need). Feedback and suggestions would be most welcome. If you are in Mona Vale in December that would be great timing to come and have a first hand look ! Tea and coffee are on all the time here. Hoping to see you in Dec.

Regards Bob

A trip to Perth March 2011

In March 2011 Narelle and I visited our elder son Paul in Perth. I took the opportunity to chase some totalisator history in the West.

Gloucester Park Perth Gloucester Park Trotting Track Tote building

The first automatic totalisator in Australia was installed here at the Western Australian Trotting Association Gloucester Park in 1916. Another Julius Tote was installed for the WATA in 1929. The first floor level of this building was the Julius tote machine room. The slots below the runner numbers on the first floor provided a public view of the runner total counters installed in the machine room. The part of this building on the nearest side of the central tower displays runners 1 through 9 and the far side of the tower displays runners 10 through 18. The top row relates to the Win Pool and the bottom row the Place Pool. The nearest Place Pool runner total display windows relating to runners 1 through 9 have now been filled with some of the signs that identify the 1936 Inter Dominion Final Field. These signs have been placed on the building after the Julius Tote ceased operation. Automatic Totalisators invented the world's first odds computer in 1927 and after that year Julius totes displayed the odds instead of the runner totals. The central tower housed the pool total display and manually operated dividend display. The Club Management was very obliging and interested in the history of their tote and I was shown over the ex Julius Tote Machine rooms. This was not as straight forward as it sounds. In the case of the one in the photograph, as I have observed at other locations, there is no fixed staircase to this level. A metal retractable staircase has to be lowered by electric winch to gain access to the first floor. This photograph was taken in 2011 and the Julius Tote machinery is all long gone. The only remnant was a solder terminal block still attached to a wall with the stubs of removed cables still attached to it.

I was informed by a manager of Perth Racing that there is nothing left of the Julius totes at the West Australian Turf Club. The computer room and main tote at Belmont was demolished circa 1979 and the computer room remnants at Ascot were cleared out circa 1982. ATL (Automatic Totalisators Limited) finished at Belmont and Ascot in 1977.

A 1959 WA Report of a Royal Commission On Betting indicates that Automatic Totalisators operated a mobile totalisator at Pinjarra, Northam, York, Toodyay and Beverley. It states that Automatic Totalisators has approximately 80% of totalisator turnover in Australia and in Perth has systems at the three West Australian Turf Club metro tracks presumably Ascot, Belmont Park and Helena Vale. The Perth Racing manager informed me that Helena Vale racetrack closed in 1973. According to Wikipedia, Helena Vale was the original name for the area now called Midland where Paul now works as a software engineer. The Commission Report also indicates that as well as Gloucester Park Trots, Automatic Totalisators had a totalisator operation at Richmond Park Trots. This trotting track seems to have been in Freemantle. Mr. Fairburn was the General Manager of Operations at Automatic Totalisators at the time and in the Royal Commission Report he notes a decline to totaliastor turnover comparing 1959 with 1955 which affects the gallops more than the trots.

There is a link to the Royal Commission report mentioned above in the links page of this website. Additionally there is an extract relating to The Canning Greyhound Racing Association's Greyhound racing track at Cannington in the Tote Topics chapter of this web site. Select "Go to the index" at the bottom of this page and then select Tote Topics in the index and then scroll down to the Perth heading.

More Perth January 2012 - An email from Tim Vickridge

On the 3rd of January 2012 I received an interesting email from Tim Vickridge relating to George Julius and Fremantle.

I stumbled upon your excellent website on Sir George Julius and was fascinated by his incredible story. I do remember reading the Time magazine article on him and managed to obtain a copy.
I lived in Fremantle and our family bought the home from the Julius family in the early 1900s. My late mother told me a story that her mother had told her that Lady Julius had said that "George would tinker for hours out in the backyard working on a contraption with belts and pulleys"
I thought you might find that of interest.

On the 10th Tim wrote again, after I replied and asked if he knew of C.Y.O'Connor and his relationship to George Julius as well as infoming him that I had placed his email on this website. I also suggested I could show him the Julius Tote in the Eagle Farm Racing Museum. His response follows:

Hi Brian
I'm honoured to be included on such an informative website about a hugely influential man.
Richmond Raceway was a trotting track in East Fremantle.
Yes I am very aware of C.Y. O'Connor as he supposedly lived in the house before his daughter and George Julius bought it. The only conflicting story is that CY did not ever own a property and died with only a few assets having rented all his life. I find it difficult to believe, given his position and salary, that this is true. I'm told that he only lived in the house for a short period. There is a CY O'Connor pub in Piara Waters, south of the Fremantle.
Yes the article was Chris McConville's.
If I get to Brisbane I will definitely make contact, I'd love to see the Tote Machine.


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