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).

Neville Mitchell, a long serving Automatic Totlisators Limited Manager and Engineer made the following comment about George's son Awdry Julius:
The only one I met was Awdry Julius, the chairman of the ATL board about the time when the NYRA project was in progress. We were developing the J11 Issuer. He was a quietly spoken man not terribly tall but he held his position and status very well.
The NYRA project Neville refers to involved the development of the world's first digital computer based totalisator. This was a big project for Automatic Totalsators Limited, the customer being the New York Racing Association (NYRA). The project involved multiple racetracks and massive turnover. The annual turnover at the Aqueduct racecourse alone, exceeded the GDP of two countries at the time.

2015 A Dream Come True

I have presented this event first, out of sequence, as it is the most significant of events in my time associated with this history.

Unbeknown to me at the time, it all started when Joan Coghlan, as tours coordinator with the Sherwood Probus Club, arranged a visit to Eagle Farm Racecourse and the Eagle Farm Racing Museum, when Paul Coghlan, although a Civil Engineer, recognised the totalisator as a unique piece of mechanical engineering. Without Paul initially realising its full significance, it was the spark that set the ball rolling for the Julius Tote's engineering recognition.

On the 5th August 2013, I received an email from a friend of mine from Queensland Racing, David Rowan. It passed on a comment received from Paul Coghlan who had been reading the Queensland History of Racing website. Paul read some of my content on that website and his comment read: I'm from the Qld Engineering Heritage Committee of the Institution of Engineers. I would like to speak to you (Brian Conlon) about the Julius Totalisator at Eagle Farm. Thank you. I had no idea at the time, however this was the seed that resulted in an outcome that really goes beyond the title of this section. It is what I would have described as beyond my wildest imaginings, when I embarked on what turned out to be a rather lonely campaign, to try and preserve some of this totalisator history in the early 1980s, when it was rapidly being eradicated. The most dramatic evidence of this disappearance was my seeing three electromechanical Julius Totalisators bulldozed on three racetracks in Queensland.

Paul was looking for some technical information relating to the Julius Totalisator for an Institution of Engineers Australia function being held on the 19th of August, celebrating 100 years since the first Julius tote. I provided information I thought would be of interest and his reply was Thank you so much. It is what I was looking for. As a Civil Engineer I don’t pretend to follow it, but I imagine it should be of interest to the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers present.

Tony Shellshear, Sir George Julius' great grandson, who has a segment below on this page, attended this function on the 19th and made the following observations:
Just touching base quickly after the presentation last night. The evening went very well and had a good attendance; about 50 or so I would guess. The tote itself received a lot of attention.
I took along the old Evans Lathe and some pictures / memorabilia from Sir George which also attracted a lot of interest. During the evening I spoke with several people who raised your name and spoke very highly of the work you have done.
I am keen to get you over for a BBQ to show you what I have accumulated here, and as a means of thanking you for the wealth of information you have provided, not to mention the shaft adder.

And so the dream begins. On 28th April 2014 Paul sent me an email. The opening sentence read: I am working on the submission to obtain Engineering Heritage recognition of the Julius Totalisator which will be awarded by the Institution of Engineers Australia, National Heritage Committee. It contained some outline ideas and solicited more information. This entered a period of collaborative work on the submission with Paul.

Fast-tracking past the project details, on 20th September 2014 I received the following email from Paul: For your information, attached please find the complete submission submitted to the Engineering Heritage Australia Committee who hopefully will grant the award. Thanks to you for your help. It was much appreciated.

Paul's final submission had a title page which credited me for my contribution to it. I found this an amazing recognition of my input to it, and it was like a breath of fresh air from the usually thankless task of trying to preserve some of this history not to mention contending with some of the absolutely opposed opinions and politics. The following is an extract from the title page:
Submitted by: Engineering Heritage Queensland Panel
Prepared for E.H.Q. by Panel Member Paul D. Coghlan
With major information supplied by: Brian Conlon (Retired – Ex Chief Engineer of the PDP11 computer totes that superseded this and other Julius totes in Brisbane)

On 3rd November 2015 Don McKenzie wrote regarding my name on the title page mentioned above. An extract reads: Brian, I can't think of anyone more deserving than you being on the title page of the submission for the award, as you are the one that kept at it, and made the history of ATL really come to life. Many of us tried to get the racing industry involved in the historical support of the tote and failed, but your approach appears to have been extremely successful.

Then on 11th October 2014 I received an email from Paul, the wait was over, he informed me we had been successful and that the Julius Tote had been awarded an Engineering Heritage Marker. And there was More! Not only had it been successful, the submission hit a jackpot that we had not anticipated. It was awarded an Engineering Heritage International Marker. As Paul put it, An International award is very rare. He further informed me that it was the first in Queensland! Then in an email dated 13th October 2014 he informed me that it was the fourth awarded in Australia, the prior ones being for The Carnarvon Deep Space Tracking Station, the World War 2 Liberator Bomber and the Gladesville Bridge in Sydney.

Next came the preparations for the award presentation ceremony. Paul wrote amongst other things, on 24th November 2014 Meeting with the Race Club in a few weeks time to get the totalisator function under way so will keep you posted.

And loose ends to be finished for example Paul's email dated 3rd April 2015 Attached is a photo of the Julius Tote in the Racing Museum in Brisbane. It is a photo which I copied from your website and I am wishing to use it on the Interpretation Panel.
I have sent it to Richard Venus, who is doing the graphic work for the Interpretation Panel; (who may or may not have contacted you on other matters) but he feels the photo itself is not 'big' enough (mb), (this probably because we have copied from the website).
Would you by chance have the original and if so, would it be possible for you to send a copy of it to me to use on the Panel.

I did have the photo, as I had taken the picture decades prior before the frame was repainted. It is the top left hand image in the Interpretation Panel Below.

The Interpretation Panel The Institution of Engineers Australia Interpretation Panel

The Interpretation Panel above was a demonstration of what I found to be unbelievable recognition. There are two names on this panel. Sir George Julius' and mine. It leaves me speechless! Praise beyond my wildest imaginings! Thank you Paul and anyone else involved in putting me on that pedestal. Perhaps this is fitting, as some have thought me possessed by George. Neville Mitchell wrote after seeing the panel: I think you deserve to be mentioned on the Interpretation Panel, you have poured your heart and soul into the Tote history like no other.

Then came the Engineering Heritage Australia National Committee meeting. It was held at Eagle Farm Racecourse Brisbane, to see the Julius Totalisator in the Racing Museum and was held on June 13th 2015. I was asked if I would like to attend as Richard Venus had expressed a desire to meet with me. I attended with the only intention of being an observer and engaging in casual conversation. However when Paul asked if I would like to say a few words about the Julius Tote to the committee, this avalanche effect took place, as happens when a group of intensely interested engineering people keep asking pertinent questions inspiring me to keep going. I felt afterwards that I had gone overboard in monopolising their visit!

Then on 17 August 2015 I received the following from Paul: We have finally got a date for the ceremony for the Totalisator so am just letting you know so you can mark it in your diary. You will receive an invitation in due course. The date is Monday 26th October, 2015. The Governor is going to do the unveiling. The time set is 2.00pm but this is not confirmed yet.

Then on 7th September 2015 Paul sent an email suggesting that I might like to give a talk about the Julius Tote with a list of suggested topics. I was concerned that I was already working on my lateral thinking Father Of The Groom speech for my younger son's wedding which was looming. After some thought, I concluded that being limited to 10 minutes it could not be a major undertaking and accepted.

The day after, Tony Shellshear who had also been asked to give a speech suggested that he and I collaborate so that we avoid presenting the same information. We agreed that I would stick to the Automatic Totalisators side of the History and he would cover the Sir George Julius side of it. Tony has contributed mammoth effort in providing support information for these events. He sets up display panels crammed with information and puts on display major pieces of memorabilia, even George Julius' lathe that he restored to perfection.

On 8th October 2015 I received an email indicating that the dictates of protocol demanded that no speech be in excess of 5 minutes and Tony and I had to rearrange our talks accordingly.

On returning from our son's wedding in Lawrence NSW, where my unconventional speech generated considerable interest, we brought a virus home, which we shared. Just as I was thinking it was a mild dose of flu and I was recovering in time to attend the Award Ceremony at Eagle Farm, the virus rallied and I ended up recuperating in bed as the ceremony was in progress.

When Tony Shellshear, received my apology for not attending the Award Ceremony Event he wrote on the day of the event 26 October 2015: I must say I am devastated to hear you will not be able to attend today; of all people you are the most deserving in terms of your contribution to the assembly and preservation of the history of the totalisator, not to mention the huge effort put into making that history accessible through your website.

And Paul Coghlan wrote: As you say, everything is done for a reason, but we don’t always know what that reason is, do we. I am very sorry you won’t be there today for more reasons than one. I know you would have enjoyed the Totalisator getting some recognition after all your many years of hard work, and it would have been hard for you to make this decision today, but your own welfare comes first. I hope the recovery process is speedy and that you will soon be your 'old' self again.

The decision Paul refers to was not hard to make, there were no options, it was hard to comprehend why now, however I have learnt to be a lot more philosophical about life these days and this event remains a dream beyond my wildest imaginings come true.

Working with Paul Coghlan and Tony Shellshear on this project was a delight in itself. One thing is for sure: I would not have undertaken a project the likes of this during retirement, without someone like Paul to provide all the knowhow regarding the protocol of making a submission such as this and providing the drive and energy to bring it to fruition. Paul was pivotal in this 3 year project. Thank you Paul. Also thank you Tony for your major contribution of time effort and historical knowledge to achieve this outcome. I have not met anyone who knows more about Sir George Julius or has a collection of his memorabilia that is a scratch on yours. And thank you for your major contribution to this website.

Paul Coghlan and the Interpretation Panel Paul Coghlan standing next to the Interpretation Panel

On 2nd November 2015, Rod Shellshear sent an email, following is an extract: May I take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of others within the Julius family and me for all the work you have done to bring this award to fruition.

On the same day Graeme Twycross, ex Automatic Totalisators Limited, who spent decades in the industry as an engineer and manager wrote: It is a credit to you in your perseverance and dedication in collecting, collating and distributing the history of the tote. You deserve the accolades that come your way.

On 7th November, Dermot Elworthy, George Julius' great nephew wrote regarding this event. Following is an extract:
Firstly, please may I add my congratulations to those you already have received.
Preservation of artefacts representing past national achievements is not easy in a country like the UK where, sadly, national achievement generally is viewed through the prism of history but in a young, infinitely more vibrant and forward-looking nation like Australia, engendering a public appreciation of these historic milestones must be so much more difficult, particularly when faced with the degree of apathy evinced by the Antipodean racing fraternity. You have promoted the cause of Australian engineering and assiduously sought to achieve a wider recognition of the Julius tote and what it represented. This was an unique concept and something of exclusively Australian development - things nationally to be celebrated. Your website is a tremendous accomplishment and the prestigious acknowledgment by the Institution of Engineers Australia is nothing less than you deserve. I have some idea of how much Narelle must have supported you in all this, so my hat goes off to you both.

I have presented Tony's and my talk for this event next. I have used the original 10 minute versions as they convey more information about the history.

Tony Shellshear's 10 minute speech

If I were to ask an average group of Australians what an Irish engineering genius with a wicked sense of humour, an Anglican Primate with a strong stance against gambling, and the inventor of the automatic totalisator, had in common, their response might possibly be ‘not very much?’. To which my response would be ‘Want a Bet?’

George Alfred Julius was born at Norwich, England on 26th April 1873, to Churchill and Frances Julius. The Anglican Primate I referred to was his father Churchill, an Archbishop of New South Wales, before taking on the role of Primate of New Zealand. Many may be familiar with just one of his contributions to the church in Christchurch Cathedral, sadly lost in the more recent earthquakes in that city. He was also very active in promoting women’s rights, and in his stance against the dubious practices and corruption in the gambling industry.

The Irish engineer was C.Y O’Connor, the Chief Engineer in Western Australia at the time, and is remembered for the famous water pipeline to Kalgoorlie, and for Freemantle Harbour, which caters for the world’s largest ships even today, virtually unchanged in over 100 years.

Evidence of his wicked sense of humour is seen in his choice of names for his newly born daughter. Charles was in Ireland at the time at an engineering conference, and visited a local library to find the most ancient and odd names he could find, which he duly sent by telegram to his wife in Perth. Sadly, (?) had no sense of humour at all, and the girl was christened ‘Eva Dronghsia Odierna O'Connor’; the ‘Eva’ being added by her mother so she didn’t have to go through life being introduced by those dreadful names.

The connection? George married Eva on 7th December 1898, at St John's Church, Fremantle. I still have fond memories of this fine and strong lady, who survived until I was around 20.

George and Eva were blessed with three sons, the youngest of whom, George, became famous in his own right … as the ‘tidy’ bandit, ‘Gentleman George’. Whenever he broke into houses he found in a mess, he would take the time to tidy them up. And he always made sure the house was securely locked before leaving; still taking the valuables I might add.

The second Rod, was a celebrated commercial airline pilot, sadly killed at just 39 in a plane crash.

The eldest, Awdry, followed in his father’s footsteps as an engineer, in time assuming the role as head of the highly renowned consulting practice his father would establish.

In his early years, Awdry was his father’s ‘tradesman’s assistant’; whenever George was working on a mechanical project, Awdry was expected to be able to predict what tool his father would require next, and what size, and to have it to hand when required. There are many similar recollections on a series of radio interviews done by the ABC with Awdry in the 1970’s.

Early years

George was educated at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School and then at Canterbury College in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he completed a Bachelor of Science (Mechanical Engineering) in 1896. Later, in 1919, has was awarded a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Sydney; engineering was no longer a science?

Between 1896 and 1907 he worked for Western Australian railways, during which time he published three important works on the physical characteristics and economic uses of Australian hardwoods. These are still considered valuable references today.

In 1907, George moved to Sydney as consulting engineer to Allen Taylor & Co. Ltd, timber merchants, at the same time establishing his private practice, later to become Julius, Poole and Gibson. His farewell card from WA Railways indicates clearly the high regard in which he was held.

Between 1907-1910 George used an old English ‘ornamental turning lathe’ to create the components for the first totalisator prototype, which still exists, and is now acknowledged as one of the more treasured exhibits in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

The lathe, made by John Evans of London in around 1830, was originally owned by one Richard Crawshay, one of two brothers who at the time were iron and steel magnates, with ironworks in England and Wales. This lathe too, still survives, and I have spent the last five or so years restoring it, and trying to figure out how half of the tools and accessories work!

There is no record as to where and when the lathe came into Sir George’s possession, but I now strongly suspect he inherited it from his father, the Archbishop. Churchill loved things mechanical, as evidenced by his passion for the newly invented and terrifying ‘motor cycle’ and ‘motor car’. Churchill is documented to have had a lathe as part of his workshop, and his reputation as the person to whom to turn to have complex mechanical devices, particularly clocks, fixed, was quite significant in his later life.

I now also have, to display alongside the lathe, a shaft adder from one of the early totalisators, courtesy of Brian Conlon, who will talk in more detail on the totalisator history. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the immense amount of work Brian has put into accumulating and documenting the history of the totalisator, and of Sir George. I’m very grateful for his efforts, and continue to find his website a great source of information.

Sir George grew to acquire a reputation for his technical genius; some referred to it as ‘engineering wizardry’. Over the ensuing years, Julius Poole and Gibson, and specifically Sir George, were retained by Commonwealth and State Governments as advisers in many national engineering projects.

In 1913 he was elected president of the Engineering Association of New South Wales, and in 1925, President of The Institution of Engineers, Australia. He was also a member of Council of the Electrical Associations of New South Wales, and its President in 1917-1918.

As one of the founders of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, ( now CSIRO ) he was appointed the first Chairman in 1926, retaining the position until 1945. Also in 1926, having fostered the formation of the Australian Commonwealth Engineering Standards Association, ( the Standards Association of Australia), he became President until 1939. Between 1940 and 1945 he was Chairman of the Australian Council of Aeronautics, having been instrumental in establishing an Aeronautical Research Laboratory

Other of his numerous roles over the years included Chairman National Research Council, Chairman of the Army Inventions Directorate, and President of the Rotary Club of Sydney.

Awards and Achievements

It probably comes as no surprise then that George was created a Knight Bachelor in 1929, becoming ‘Sir George’.

In 1927 he was awarded the Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal of The Institution of Engineers, Australia; in 1938 the William Carlos Kernot Memorial Medal by the University of Melbourne, and in 1940, an Honorary Degree as Doctor of Science of Canterbury University College, Christchurch, New Zealand.

In his honour, the Sir George Julius Medal was initiated by Engineers Australia shortly after his death, and is still awarded today.

Public service

Sir George was also a man who gave selflessly of his time, and money, to the public welfare and education sectors. One of Sir George’s hobbies was playing with model trains would you believe; and he had constructed over the years a model town, centred around the railway. But this was a model town ‘Sir George’ style! A Model City no less. It is recorded that he had put some £10,000 into its construction.

During the Second World War, the model city was placed on display in each capital city, with visitors charged 6 pence for a half-hour tour. All funds raised went to the Red Cross.

He devoted time to providing what were no doubt celebrity lectures at Universities in engineering and science. By all accounts students were then as they are today, often noisy and somewhat inattentive at times. Sir George had a ‘party trick’ that was apparently very effective; on entering a noisy call room he would simply walk up to the blackboard, pick up the chalk, and draw a large circle. The lecture room would instantly go quiet, following which applause often broke out. Sir George had an uncanny ability to draw a virtually perfect circle freehand – He had their attention!

Sir George’s wife Eva, ( she of the ‘orrible name ), now Lady Julius, also devoted significant time to community causes and activities, becoming a Patron of the Country Women’s Association, and State Commissioner for Girl Guides, an organisation in which her grand-daughter, my mother, was also heavily involved.

The Man

Sir George passed away in Sydney, Australia, on 30th June, 1946.

On his passing, many tributes were written and published in a myriad of newspapers and magazines, although nothing, thankfully appeared on Facebook… These, along with his eulogy, provide a small window into the character of a man of strength and of genius. In closing, I can do no better than to quote from these sources -

‘With his rather gaunt face, his crop of curly brown hair, and his very luminous blue eyes', Julius was slight in build. He was always mentally alert and spoke in a staccato manner. He could be autocratic, impatient, even choleric, but those qualities were disciplined by his sense of fair play, his quick sense of humour, his objectivity in scientific judgement and his keen political sense'.

‘His faults were the faults of greatness, the kind that those who knew him well smiled over and rather liked him for. His conviction. of the soundness of his views made him a difficult opponent to deal with in debate. His hatred of all the meanness of the spirit made him intolerant of pettiness, small-mindedness and mental weakness. He could not dissemble when disgust at evidences of such attributes swayed him.’ (He spoke his mind)

‘He had the gift also of understanding the other man's point of view, and this enabled him to become a convincing exponent of the practical value of scientific research when governments had to be persuaded to make adequate funds available, and other interests had to be won over to co-operative effort.’

To me, one of his finest legacies to us as a family, was his documentation of the Julius Family History compiled during his brief period in retirement.

‘Sir George Julius will ever be remembered as a notable engineer and scientist, a successful leader and administrator, a truly great Australian citizen, and a generous-hearted and lovable man.’


Brian Conlon's 10 minute speech

History of the Julius Tote

How does one present 150 years of totalisator history in ten minutes? By concentrating on 50 years and then fast tracking past next to all of that.

It is an irony that for a nation that stops for a horserace and one in which most citizens know what a TAB is, that next to nothing is known about the 50 years of rich, uniquely Australian, totalisator history that existed prior to the advent of the TABs.

The world’s first automatic Totalisator was invented by George Julius here in Australia in 1913 and was installed at Ellerslie in Auckland New Zealand where it operated successfully. The second installation, was at Gloucester Park in Perth in 1916 and the third installation was here at Eagle Farm in 1917 and the one here in the museum was installed around 1948.

That first system at Ellerslie, which was purely mechanical, was described as a giant tangle of piano wires, pulleys and cast iron boxes and although many racing officials predicted that it would not work it was a great success. This disbelief from people observing Julius installations for the first time continued even after it was a well-established product. As Jack Bell wrote in his 1932 Miami Herald article regarding the Julius Tote being installed at Hialeah which was electromechanical, the old time horsemen around the track will tell you in no uncertain terms that the damn thing will never work. They look at all the Mechanism and shake their heads knowingly. Jack calculated it had 195 miles of electrical cable.

George founded the Australian company Automatic Totalisators Limited in 1917 to further develop and export these systems. It started out dominating the industry globally and later became part of an oligopoly.

Where were they installed

One chronological snapshot of installations during the Julius Tote era has a full A4 page of installations in Australia and two and a half A4 pages of New Zealand ones and includes many others overseas. A 1970 company article during the computer tote era indicates ATL had installations in 29 different countries.

Automatic Totalisators had subsidiary companies overseas, I will mention only one Atusa renamed Autotote which was a major manufacturing subsidiary in the USA, with a history equal to that of the parent company that it outlived.

In the home region, Automatic Totalisators had branches in the North and South Islands of New Zealand and in every state of Australia with a head office and factory in Sydney.

How the tote works

For those who do not know what a totalisator system is, if you know what a TAB is, then very simplistically, their computer systems, networks, peripherals, software and a myriad of display electronics providing the betting and information services are the totalisator of today.

We did not arrive at this level of functionality in a hurry however, it was a result of continuous development over the 150 years since Catalan come Frenchman Joseph Oller, invented the Pari Mutuel method of betting on which all totalisators are based and he started operating a manual totalisator conducted from horse drawn wagons.

Two of these developments stand out. First George’s automatic totalisator and second the computerisation of the totalisator pioneered by George’s company which developed the world’s first electronic computer based totalisator system for the New York Racing Association. You might think this would have been a small trial system, it was a big project involving multiple racetracks and massive turnover. Aqueduct racetrack alone had an annual turnover exceeding the GDP of two countries.

Having mentioned large, the French contract for the Julius Tote in Paris was Australia’s largest financial transaction with France at the time. This system at Longchamps took the title The Largest Totalisator in the world from the Julius Tote in Bombay India and later lost it to the Julius tote in White City London.

Significance of the Julius Totes

It is interesting to compare the Julius tote with its successor, electronic digital computers. The simplest block diagram you can draw of a digital computer consisting of four boxes can equally be applied to the Julius tote however below that level the architectures are radically different.

I have some video clips on my website on this subject, produced by the Greater London Industrial Archaeological Society as a part of their study of the Harringay Julius Tote. I don’t think there would be anyone today seeing the clip showing the Julius Terminal in operation that would not say this is part of a computer system.

Dr. Doron Swade MBE, wrote, relating to the London Science Museum that the Julius tote is the earliest on line real time data processing and computation system that the Curators of the London Science Museum had identified.

The Computer Conservation Society, a sub group of the British Computer Society, indicated that they regarded the Julius Tote to be a computer.

Many of the metrics are the same. Regarding metrics, a system was built and tested Sydney 1920 capable of supporting 1000 terminals and a sell rate of 250,000 transactions per minute; This is good by today’s standards.

The Julius tote had electromechanical Time Division Multiplexers. I have not met any technologist who is not astounded to hear that Time Division Multiplexers existed prior to the electronics that made them a common concept.

Early Julius Totes, also had a device called a storage screw. Storage is an essential concept to digital computers and perhaps the storage screw is the first use of the word storage in the sense of artificial memory.

An Automatic Totalisators France Limited Prospectus written in 1927 refers to computing and indicating of totals. If this is the first use of the word computing to refer to a machine, as previously people performed computing, then by deduction the Julius tote is the first machine to be called a computer.

I end this talk with a comment from Emeritus Professor Trevor Cole from Sydney University who said of George Julius We should be aware of our engineering heroes. Hopefully this award will raise Australia’s awareness of George Julius their engineering hero and this Australian achievement.

New Zealand Holiday 2007

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

Jumping to 2nd November 2015, I received an email from Bob as a result of my email requesting permission to present one of Bob's magnificent engineering drawings of Julius Tote shaft adders on this website.

Bob Moran's 1926 Tote adder 10 register schematic Image of Bob Moran's shaft adder diagram

When I harbour thoughts contemplating that I have a ridiculously obsessional interest in this subject, I look at work like the drawing and interactive displays above produced by Bob, and I realise I am just a beginner. This and other drawings Bob has produced are of Julius Tote machinery that has not been used for 33 years and will never be used again. He has produced drawings that are probably equal if not superior to the drawings Automatic Totalisators Limited had when these devices were being manufactured. In other words, these professional quality drawings were produced without any possibility of having commercial value. I have long thought that engineering drawing and art are linked. I think Bob's drawings are definitely pieces of artwork. Following is an extract from Bob's reqply. I would be delighted and honoured to have my drawing on your site, maybe this might precipitate a challenge as to its correctness or otherwise.

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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