This page contains a photograph which is one of several belonging to the photo gallery pages which are part of several pages relating to the invention of the world's first automatic totalizator in 1913 and Automatic Totalisators Limited (ATL), the company founded to develop, manufacture and export these systems. It also contains part 3 of David Hamilton's tote memoirs.

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Selling Windows Harold Park- Electromechanical Computing

The image below shows some selling windows with ticket issuing machines at Harold Park in 1958. It has been included as it shows what the Julius Tote TIMs (Ticket Issuing Machines) looked like installed in a tote house. Although these machines look like J10s with their push button control, they remind me of what the J8s with their radial runner selector handles looked like in the tote houses in Brisbane, when the PDP11 computer tote systems with their J22 TIMs, which I was working on, were being implemented. The J8 and the J10 have exactly the same case so they look very similar.

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In Brisbane, after the new J22s were installed, there were still unused selling benches as crowds had moved to different areas of the track and several of the old Julius Tote TIMs remained in place. These were left unused for a a very long time, in some cases these old TIMs remained till the tote houses which housed them were demolished. It is interesting to see how methods of installation have changed. Have a look at the cable retaining system under the benches. It is quite a piece of carpentry looking like a long cupboard with access doors under each TIM. It looks like something that would be very expensive to build these days. Nowadays we would see the cables run in plastic cable ducts. Too often one sees them with their lids torn off in a frenzy when work needs to be done on the cabling, leaving the cables spilling out onto the floor, as there is no time to tidy them up and fiddle with getting the lids snapped back on. The cable retaining system in this image still looks very neat and tidy, probably a long time after it was constructed. The elliptical Automatic Totalisators emblem can be seen on the front of each machine, in the horizontal centre of the lower wooden half, below the lid lock in the front horizontal centre of the upper metal half.

If it would be possible for people today to see a Julius Tote in operation, I do not think there would be many who would not say this is an old computer system. It is interesting to note that the Julius Tote TIMs often outlived the Julius Tote era and continued to operate with new Minicomputer based totalisator systems. The TIMs in the above image are an example of mechanical computing as this whole system was electromechanical including the central processing system. The Julius totes preceded the advent of digital computers by decades.

Below is part three of a three part document which is an extraction from the memoirs of David Hamilton. David was the New South Wales Operations Manager for Automatic Totalisators Limited. He spent considerable time in the Tote House shown above. David is the most modest man I have ever met. He had a nickname at Automatic Totalisators Limited Commander Hamilton. It was not until after I retired that I discovered he used to be a Commander in the Royal Navy. Following is some information presented in part one, in case you are reading this without having read part one. Firstly, his wife Erella was a Director of Nursing at a Sydney Hospital and was awarded an AM. David mentions Fred Armstrong who was the Australasian operations manager. I find David's tote recollections very familiar as they mirror mine!

David Hamilton's Tote Memoirs Part 3

One soon got to know some people well. The Chief Stipendiary Steward. He and the Stewards (Stipes) under him are responsible for monitoring every race, track work, stables, drug testing, race rules, race protests; he would often appear after a meeting in the Committee bar where we would have a chat and a drink with other Club members and officials. He was a keen fly fisherman and got offers from umpteen racehorse owners to use the facilities on the properties they owned in the bush. I joined him in some of the expeditions.

Others I knew, AJC racecourse manager. I don't know if he was ever contacted by Wal but I made a point of seeing him at every meeting. After some months I started keeping a record on tote ticket sales, per meeting at each window, at each race venue - not done before, to my knowledge. It soon became obvious that, in some areas windows could be closed. Whilst the Club paid for the tote sellers wages I considered it was ATL's duty to keep the wage bill as low as possible. Harry would not take any notice of me to start with but slowly realised that I knew what I was doing and eventually agreed, without arguing, if I suggested closing a window. Basically I aimed that every open window should make a profit for the Club. Obviously the 50c window would have to sell a lot of tickets to cover overheads. It did not do, however, to close too many - this could cause elderly ladies to buy from higher value windows and there is nothing more annoying to a regular punter than an oldie in front emptying her handbag on the counter to scrabble for coins when the race is about to jump. Harry eventually retired and he was allowed to buy his Club car as part of his farewell gift. The day before he left he went to the garage and bought 5 new tyres and put that on the Club bill. When the new man took over he queried the contractor, who delivered all the grog, why there were 13 bottles to every dozen - Harry's perks. He was relieved by a chap who got involved in trotting later.

Sir Clyde Kennedy, Chairman of the STC was friendly and easy to talk to, I would class as very nice. One Saturday at Rosehill the heavens opened before the first race and flooding caused cancellation of the meeting. Sir Clyde sent for me and asked if I could organise staff for a meeting on the Monday. I said we could and he suggested that I return to the Committee room after that had been done. In there was a huge spread of food and wine and some of the Stipes, the racecourse manager, Dept. of Sport & Recreation inspectors and others. We had a great afternoon and when I left there was still flooding on the main road and I drove very carefully home. Erella asked if it had been a good meeting and I said yes. I never told her it had been cancelled.

STC Secretary Richard Boulter and his wife Royce became friends; we visited each others homes and continued after he retired. He had served in North Africa, including the siege of Tobruk. I met someone who was also there who told me he was known as Wah Boulter because he was always calling for 'more barbed Wah'. He wrote a history - "The Sydney Turf Club Forty Years On" a history of the first forty years 1943-1983 He kindly sent me a copy with his personal note on the inner page.
Webmaster's note: "barbed Wah" mentioned above is Barbed Wire.

There were only two people, ever, admitted to the STC as Members without references, Sir Robert Askin NSW Premier, and myself .

Members were invited to lunch in rotation and were seated among the racehorse owners and other guests. Once I shared a table with, amongst others, a couple who had a business in Papua New Guinea. They owned a horse called TANGFU and said it had a chance, so I backed it and it won at 10-1, not bad. I asked them what the name meant and was told Typical Air New Guinea F--- Up.! Apparently a thoroughly disorganised outfit.

The Harold Park President, Stan Hedges, ex three times Mayor of Lidcombe, a keen fisherman and general enjoyer of life. I stayed at his fishing lodge in the Snowys a few times. Very well fitted out for the main purpose. Two showers, four bunks in one room, two in another, his own ensuite, good sized kitchen and large wine store. Situated on the shingle banks of the Eucumbene Dam, one of the Snowy Mountain scheme dams, it had two roller doors at the back facing the water; open them and find two dinghies outboard engines attached, each boat had its own electric winch. Easy as anything to lower them down to the water, the level of which varied depending on the pumping in the Snowy system. Off early AM with a net, [Pedro the Fisherman] which was used when the fish were not biting well - usually winter time. Pedro was stretched across one of the tiny inlets and the fish scared into it. [This was illegal] Meanwhile I started a large bonfire from all the timber littering the shore line and had a bottle of sloe gin handy. As it was tradition to have a wee tot before a hunt set out, or before a winter pheasant shoot at home, I thought it would go down well here - it did - the whole bottle. The boat came back with 4 or 5 nice trout which I cleaned on the spot and just about lost all feeling in my hands, while the providers were recovering in front of the fire; we had a splendid breakfast.

On another occasion Stan and I paddled quietly along trolling and every now and then I dipped our glasses in the water, put in a bit of the ice that was floating about, and in with a wee dram for a perfect drink in perfect surroundings. He also carried a small folding iron grill so we could pull up on the shore and cook a fish if we wished.

Some years on one of ATL's general managers was the sort that tries to get rid of all the long service staff so he can mould the new boys to his satisfaction. He rang Stan, and told him he was thinking of making changes including me. Stan said that if he got rid of me ATL's contract would be cancelled. This GM was one of those, luckily rare, persons without any sense of humour. Absolutely impossible to work with. He finally got the push because he was using the Company's flyby points to take his family on holiday. He, having worked in the US, insisted that each department wrote a Mission Statement; load of bull.

The NSWTC Secretary was good and his Assistant also - her husband was a policeman who Invited me to a police dinner once and, thank goodness I had a hire car. He was another who always wore uniform when shopping, see Nirimba. Interesting that the trotting Club advertised for a female assistant and only had one applicant, this in the 80s when jobs were difficult to find.

A very nice man, and ex-Serviceman, Bill Small, was the racecourse manager, we often had supper at the track together. He used to put poison out around the track at Harold Park at 0500 for the pigeons and collect the corpses at 0630 before the do-gooders got out of bed. Pigeons always seem to be champion crappers. Sadly another friend who died of cancer, I went to see him a couple of times at Concord Hospital, when it was still veterans only.

There were other GMs, I recall one who came on loan from Aquila Steel, a very large man. He was the only one during my time in ATL that came to my office one day, plonked himself down and asked me if I had any problems. I did not have any at that time but mentioned a certain club and a few things that went on. He said "TEFE" pronounced teffy. I queried this and he translated "tell em f- em" One of his favourite replies to uncooperative bodies.

The Sec. GBOTA, was friendly and easy to get on with but one cannot say the same for the other association, generally a rough mob who also did not look after the track and its environs very well. Only went into their committee room rarely until one evening I was shouted at in a very rude way for letting my sellers drink while on duty. When I checked up, one of the regular punters who always went to the same window with the same girl seller gave her a drink of water as it was a hot evening. This happened a lot at the races, regular punters going to a favourite operator. I never went in to the Committee room again; if they wanted to complain they had to find me. There are still a lot of greyhounds being shot illegally because they did not win races.

We did have a windfall at Wentworth Park. In the tote house was a machine that worked in reverse. If a mistake was made by a seller by producing the ticket on the incorrect runner, it could be taken off with the machine. A doubles ticket was accepted back from the punter as it was wrong and before the Supervisor could take it off, the race started and we were stuck with the $50 it cost. But - the combination won and we got about $20,000. Don't worry we kept it, it compensated for the very rare mistakes the human dividend calculators made. The worst one I recall was at Gosford - quite ruined my day.

After I became Manager NSW I was able to win more contracts. Firstly I was accompanied by a sales team to one Club, and listened to them telling Club officials what they would get, rather than asking what they would like. I went to Fred Armstrong and told him that from then on I would do the negotiations myself. The matter of charges to the Club for our operation was on a sliding scale. First amount would cover our costs, second amount our profit, and after that a bit of cream on the top. The third section went mainly to the Club so our charge dropped as each increase in turnover was reached. With Gosford, a leading country gallop Club, where the drop was, say at every extra $4000 of turnover, I dropped it to a smaller charge every $3000. This was pleasing to the Club but actually did not make much difference. The Chairman was delighted and we won the contract. Another was Hawkesbury Gallops, in between Sydney and the Blue Mountains, was interesting to me because the Chairman was an ex Battle of Britain pilot. Relaxed like a country meeting.

With the Bulli Trotting Club, having looked at the operation I told them that I would double their turnover within 6 months if we had the contract. When that happened the Sec. presented me with a fine set of 6 whisky glasses engraved with trotting horses in action - a very kind thought.

Richmond G.R.C - the Sec. was sending details of my offer to the Wyong Club further north, also a contender. Luckily the Chairman was a very nice bloke and took that leakage into account. The watchword I used at all meetings with the Committee "no hidden charges" - the price I quoted covered every item. I won that contract. Later Del and I visited the Chairman, on invitation, several times for lunch at his home. That started the ATL gossips going! At the race meetings his wife ran the hot food outlet and made the tastiest hamburgers I have ever had. Guess where that Sec. went when he left Richmond. At one race on one night in the season the Club gave all the takings to the Blacktown District Hospital children's fund. So I attended that night and while Erella, in her Matrons uniform, did and said all the right things accepting the cheque, I sat in the Committee room, betting from the member's tips. Did not get one winner! I also had a small tote house, with three windows, built on the far side of the bookies ring.

Reminds me of the things I had to go through on behalf of the Hospital Funds over the years. Sometimes I knew how Prince Phillip felt - walking one pace behind the Boss. One visit was to the Penrith Leagues Club, who were to present a cheque to Erella for the Children's Ward improvements. Sat down and the Sec. asked us what we would like to drink and I chose a beer. Back he came with a loaded tray, tripped and I had a beer shower. And sat there all evening getting stickier and stickier. In those days each hospital was independent, ie it was run by the Chief Executve Officer, the Medical Superintendant and the Director of Nursing. They answered to a Committee made up of local businessmen. The hospital finances were a part of it. The local population considered the hospital as part of the community family. Everyone helped in different ways, Companies donated money or bought some apparatus, Ladies volunteered to be Pink Ladies and visited the sick, Erella cooked about fifty Xmas cakes every year. The Committee consisted of local business men and the two local MPs, one Liberal and one Labour both helped, often together. The hospital always had money in the bank. Along came the Government and introduced Medicare. Hospitals all over the Country were nationalised and their hard won bank savings, running into millions were snatched from them. Of course no local would donate anything to a Government department any longer. Again, that is called progress.

Other Clubs that I signed up were Bulli dogs, Dapto dogs and Bathurst Trots which was really too far away. The reason I made a point of winning these tracks was that it kept the rivals out, stopped them creeping in around the edges and slowly whittle our domain away.

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As computers were getting smaller I suggested that a trailer/caravan would be ideal as a control centre for the computer and the dividend calculators [human]. This being approved I hunted high and low to find a Company to build one. No one was interested. Finally found a bloke who said he could do it. Gave him all the details of the equipment, dimensions, weights, size etc and let him get on with it. The workmanship was OK and everything neat and tidy. Took it to our place and put in some gear - the van promptly sat down on one end - the axle was in the wrong place.!!!! When it was fixed we used it at the smaller tracks, like Bathurst. - 2014, I see that they are to spend $7 million to refurbish, not before time.

Myself and the engineers rostered would arrive a couple of hours before the first race, although on many occasion they had been working on the equipment for some time before. I would check that tests were going satisfactorily and say hallo to race officials, especially the Club Secretary. The casual staff did not come under my jurisdiction until selling started, usually half an hour before the first race. Therefore they were able to buy a drink at a racecourse bar and have a cigarette, if they wished but they knew they were in trouble if I could smell anything on their breath.

I nearly always, before selling started, had one drink with the Union representative, John Auld, as a good way of keeping in touch and getting his thoughts on matters concerning his members. We remained on very good terms during my time with ATL, and never had any industrial trouble. There was an interesting clause in their Union Rules. If the payout clerks lost any money by misreading the ticket presented or lost money any other way they had to refund it. This rule was put to good use by some of the old stagers. Go short before Xmas by pocketing some cash and repay it over some weeks in the New Year. One thing I forbade, when they came into use, were pocket calculators and sure enough one payer, at Randwick, got the decimal in the wrong place and paid out some hundreds of dollars instead of tens. We were able to trace the person and took him to court because if honest he would have returned the money at the window. This is where the vultures win - every court appearance was postponed for some reason by the defence and eventually we gave up. All I could hope for was that the solicitor would charge the man more than he stole. The payer lost his job as he did not want to, or could not afford to, pay the money back out of his own pocket.

Talking of payout clerks there must have been great temptation at times but we very rarely had trouble. I organised credit checks through a well-known company and Fred sent for me and questioned the move saying it was a waste of money and ATL had never done it. I stuck to my guns and was vindicated some weeks later when one who had applied for a job was found by the Credit Company, to owe money in three States.

Each totehouse had an area on the back wall with the usual counter and flap behind which would be a banker and sometimes an assistant or two. There was one stupid rule from the insurance companies --- because there was a lot of cash around we had to have a pistol in the main bank. A huge worry, no one had had any training [except me] and who, with any brains, would grab for it if some robbers came through the door. The armoured van personnel did not carry weapons! At the end of the meeting all the cash from the other totes was counted and amalgamated and packed into old ammunition tins, collected by Armaguard, owned by Mayne Nickless and taken to the main Commonwealth Bank, in the City who counted it early next morning. I found it interesting that it was always short by small sums - say $30 - usually coins. One time, after arrangement with the Bank, I took a team in and we counted the money under their eyes. We showed a surplus, as I thought we would. When you think about it ,the tellers counted a hell of a lot of money every day and if they went short a few dollars after every count it would be put down to the error of the depositor who would write off such a piddling amount. All those little amounts would add up over the days, weeks, months. Nice pickings !!! Anyway I hoped we got the message through that we were awake to the possibilities and to leave us alone.

One Saturday at Rosehill, Armaguard collected all the tins as usual, drove off and everyone went home. Ted started loading the machines to take to another venue and came across a money tin lying on the ground, opened it and it was full. He put it in his car and started ringing around. No answer anywhere and finally got in touch with me. There was nothing I could do except get him to bring it to me which I thought to be dangerous, suppose he broke down on the way. I told him to put his car in his garage and lock the car and garage. When Armaguard were contacted on Monday they behaved as though Ted Evans had stolen the money - some of us got very cross at their behaviour.

Familiarity breeds contempt and at Menangle I wandered over to the banking house - empty with all that money around. I Saw the banker and two assistants outside watching the race, they did not see me. I put about $400 dollars in my pocket. After the last race, when balancing the meeting, big panic, recounting and worry. Banker told me he was short and I reminded him that he would have to pay up. So it went on until I produced the cash. He never left the bank again - I did not lay him off as he was an old timer with a good record.

There was a suspicion that an assistant banker was stealing small amounts of money and a long serving banker told me who he thought it was. So, with his help I had some banknotes marked and their numbers recorded. It did not take long, we got him at Canterbury. Another banker who always worked in a tote house at Harold Park was an expert at "tatting" and used to bring a basket of bits and pieces to work so he could do a bit in the quiet periods. One night he pulled a bit of cloth out of the basket - a needle flew up straight into his eye. Awful business.

Over one period we started getting forged notes through the windows. I got a couple and showed them to the police who sent an appropriate officer along. He took all details and pocketed the notes. I said hey what's happening? And he replied that the notes were evidence and there was no compensation. After that I told all the payers to pass any forgeries back to a customer as change, quick smart.

The tote staff came from all walks of life: bus drivers and conductors, railway men, bank tellers, widows and housewives, all with one thing in common; a desire to earn some extra money. It also became a habit with some, almost a hobby. Some of the craftier types would go to, say, the bus station and sign on, then get a mate to look after things, come and earn his tote pay and then back to his work place and sign off. Being Government run no one ever seemed to be found out.

I gave a ticket seller's job to my niece's husband who was starting a business in the Rag trade. On one particular meeting at Randwick where we were operating a new form of betting, the Jackpot for the first time, we were so short of staff I talked Erella into manning a window but she hated it and made sure that she was never available again!! This jackpot entailed picking the winner of every race and naturally, selling stopped when the first race jumped. During the race there was a clumping of footsteps up the stairs of the main house at Randwick and Frank Packer, the biggest business name in Australia and Member of the AJC Committee, came up and told me that his friend had been a bit late and could I include his ticket in the pool. I took great delight in explaining to him, very politely, that this was not possible as it was against the law.

The Department of Sport and Recreation. A State Government outfit

Inspectors were present at every meeting keeping an eye on all things financial, checking on bookmakers, checking on us, and generally trying to thwart skulduggery. A very nice bunch of blokes who I got to know well, both on track and socially. After a year or two I had an idea of introducing something new to the sport and would make us money. I kept the matter to myself because my experience over the years taught me to present a fait accompli which had a chance of success. Discuss an idea straight away and some will rubbish it or say no good because it will alter the status quo, which means more work etc,etc.

We printed our own ticket paper, delivered in rolls that fitted into the ticket machines - like the rolls one sees on every till, only bigger. The front of the ticket when sold to a punter would have the date, the runner number, the cost and a serial number BUT the back was blank. So why not sell that side for advertising? Most punters look at the back when buying the ticket. One could also have a lucky ticket which would get a prize. ATL could either print the adverts at a cost to the advertiser, or sell the blank rolls for someone else to print - this could produce problems. I firstly contacted a company that made all types of tickets, such as the ones called scratchies where you scratched the numbers to see if you won a prize. Two people turned up in my office, a man and a woman who was an absolute stunner. One of the prettiest women I had ever seen, an Anglo-Indian and, funnily enough, Erella and I got to meet her socially and we saw her a few weeks ago at her mother Betty's 98th birthday party. The Company concerned explained all the matters regarding production and so I had back up if needed. They made all sorts of gambling tickets.

So I started work on the Dept. of Rec. and talked and talked and talked - [and had some very pleasant long lunches]. I proposed that as a start, tobacco and beer would be great to advertise. At that time the advertising of cigarettes was starting to be frowned upon but eventually they all agreed that the average race-goer was a smoking, beer drinker anyway. After 18 months work I had their permission - whoopee. I went to the GM with all the info and possible profits and he said No. I could have wept.

I suggested another thing, which I had seen at my brother-in-law's factory in the UK. He sold generators of his own design, Puma, including turbines, all over the world. Anytime a foreigner visited he flew the appropriate national flag on his mast. A nice complement. That was knocked back too.

This is probably a suitable time to draw a line over my business career which lasted twenty years, I retired when my superannuation became available - I was 63. A farewell with a difference was given me by the Dept. of Sport and Rec. in their office, I was told this had never been done before.

Our top salesman, Peter Rolls went to Hong Kong to negotiate there, hired a flat and took his family, local thieves broke in and during the ordeal Peter was stabbed to death. Apparently a mistaken identity. The whole Company mourned.

So ends David's memoirs. Webmaster's notes:

I never met Peter Rolls, however I recall him enthusiastically hobbling around the Meadowbank factory on crutches with a broken leg acquired in a car accident in Hong Kong, during one of his rare visits back from Sha Tin when the Sha Tin project was in full swing. I knew Peter was an excellent salesman and recall him as being the Sha Tin Project Manager at the time. I have heard on multiple occasions since his death that he was the driving force behind the Sha Tin project and that he was the only one who could have ensured its success. Without him, the project failed due to inability to deliver on time.

There is much of David's recollections that strike very strong accords with me. I have tried to refrain from excessively interrupting his text as it detracts from David's contribution. There are many things that to the reader will appear like common sense, but in reality presented significant problems.

As an example, David in his text above, refers to familiarity breeds contempt. I can remember security being a major concern. In my latter years working in operations on the Brisbane and Bundamba racetracks, OH&S (Occupational Health and Safety) became increasingly significant. Poor tote house security policy and or implementation creates potential for loss of money through theft and also places the employees subjected to the robbery at risk of injury and or being traumatised. Despite writing many memos to staff over the years and placing OH&S notices in tote houses asking operators to lock access doors during operations as well as talking to operations staff members to attempt to convince them to lock doors, there were always staff who continually left the doors unlocked. Tote houses, particularly ones containing banks, could house large sums of money. The most common reasons for leaving doors unlocked were inconvenience, opening a door for other staff members, or comfort, usually being in need of a breeze. Despite significant efforts to eliminate the reasons for unlocked doors, full compliance was never achieved. Periods of improvement were achieved however it was only a matter of time till the bad habits returned. We eventually introduced a policy of training Supervisors on how to act during hold-ups, in the hope that this would heighten awareness of the issues, however that was not particularly effective. We finally implemented a policy of having security guards on the doors of main banks. That was effective, however no party was eager to pay for this service. I have not met anyone in the business who has experienced a robbery, who is not a firm believer in the need for tote house security.

Following are some recollections from Chris Robertson regarding Harold Park. They relate to ATL's new at the time, PDP8 based totalisator system that replaced the Julius tote. Chris is the most informed punter on the subject of totalisators I have ever known. His reference to the two links are links to the previous two pages of this website accessible via the Previous page buttons at the bottom of this and the previous page.

Chris Robertson's memories of Harold Park

My first trip outside Victoria was to Sydney, by car with three like minded school mates, in September 1973 for the National Sprint Championship greyhound race at Harold Park. It was my first interaction with a computerised on course tote. There were J11 machines operating by then, as well as the machine I can't identify, but which seems to be a predecessor to the J18. On later visits to Harold Park I saw J11 machines adapted to sell trifectas: something I had never expected to see. I can't recall Universal Totalisators at Harold Park, though I certainly remember them at the four metro racecourses, as well as Wentworth Park greyhounds. At the thoroughbred tracks Universal operated the quinellas, as well as the Extra and Daily Double. The two links from your email were fascinating reading. They are part of the anecdotal history of racecourse betting in Australia, and deserve a place where they can be accessed by those who lived through those eras, as well as those who want to know more about racing's past.

Chris Robertson provided the following Harold Park ticket images.

ATL PDP8 Computer tote system tickets Harold Park
ATL PDP8 Tote System Tickets

Notice that on non-trifecta tickets the J11 had a meeting code (under the date) as well as a race code. I have omitted to include Wentworth Park ATL tickets as they are essentially the same type as these.

Chris wrote the following about the the Mystery TIM tickets below as well as the TIM.
Just about the most interesting tickets I have in my collection. I have never seen this TIM anywhere else in the world, and they were pretty scarce at Harold Park as well. I only saw two of them, both in the members stand, trots and greyhound meetings alike. These were the only machine on the track that could sell all pools at the same window, in multiple values (pre trifecta era). Notice that the race code at the bottom left of the ticket is limited to three letters. These machines used a different race code to that used by the J11 machines. This may account for the presence of a meeting code. I presume the same paper code was used at all machines on any given race.

ATL PDP8 Tote System Mystery Tickets
Examples of ATL Mystery TIM tickets

Chris wrote the following about the PDP8 based totalisator here and Wentworth Park:
The tote at Harold Park and Wentworth Park was world's best. Instantaneous updates of Win,Place and Quinellas on electronic indicator boards was well in advance of what was available in Melbourne in the early 1970's. Even after the Melbourne race clubs computerised the tote in Spring 1974, the Harold Park and Wentworth Park totes were still offering a superior service in the display of betting odds.

Menangle was then the number two NSW Trotting Club track. With the closure of Harold Park, the rebuilt Tabcorp Park Menangle is Australia's premier harness racing track.

Webmaster's note: As Chris just mentioned Tabcorp Park Menangle is now the premier trotting track in NSW, and David Hamilton has also mentioned Menangle above, I have included an extract from a Spring 1978 Tote Topics magazine

Manangle Park

"Throughout the world there would be few lighted Trotting Tracks equal to Menangle park"
Thus reported the panel of nine electrical engineers and architects from the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia who awarded the Meritorious Lighting Award for 1965 to the Menangle Park Trotting Track.
The layman can readily see the merit of this outstanding illumination - a brilliantly lit track, no glare for spectators or drivers, no overhead wires, no whadows day or night. A really remarkable achievement.
As Menangle Park Trotting Track is regarded by experts as one of the best in Australia, the New South Wales Trotting Club can justly claim world ranking for its subsidiary circuit.
Located only 40 miles from Sydney, in historic surrounding on the beautiful Nepean River, Menangle Park is renowned for its pcinic atmosphere, extensive lawns, cleanliness, car parking facilities, strong betting ring and exciting racing.
During World War II the racecourse was converted into an airfield, with a bitumen landing strip running right down the centre. Webmaster's comment: as a pilot, I find this very interesting!
Horse racing was not resumed after the war, and in 1953 the 267 acre property was bought by the NSW Trotting Club because in line with world pattern the race tracks of large cities are welll away from the city itself. ...

The N.S.W. Trotting Club predicts an exciting future for Menangle Park. It seems certain that it will share the progress and prosperity of the fast growing Cmpbelltown and Camden districts now that the electric train service has been extended to Campbelltown.
ATL installed the Totalisator for the first meeting in September, 1953 and recently updated the service to the punter by adding the Trifecta on course for every race. Today the Trifecta pool dominates all the pools thus proving its popularity.
The average attendance for the 20 meetings per year is 3000. The totalisator turnover is around $265,000 with a record of $393,000 on one occasion. The on-course turover is between $60,000 and $70,000 and bookmakers turnover is about $250,000. A permanent staff of 5 keep the area and facilities in first class order but on race day casual labour is about 100. ...

David Hamilton-Farewell Old Friend

Sadly on 22 November 2017 Neville Mitchell, a long serving ATL Engineer and Manager, his wife Nancy and daughter Elizabeth, Narelle and I attended David Hamilton's funeral. Following are extracts from Neville's email to the ATL Fraternity regarding the funeral:

The funeral of our friend Commander David Hamilton was held today at Northern Suburbs Crematorium. A gathering of about eighty family and friends attended including David's Daughter who travelled from her home in London.

The ceremony was simple with eulogies from family and Royal Navy, Wife Erella was very saddened by David's passing.

Those who knew David will remember him as a gentleman with a will to get things done and done properly. Four of his RN pilot friends attended and spoke well of him as their commanding officer.

Farewell David we will never forget you.

I thought it very appropriate that we sang Eternal Father, the Royal Navy Hymn which was titled "For Those in Peril on the Sea" on our song sheets.

I found it particularly moving that three ex Royal Navy Sea Vixen pilots with their Fleet Air Arm Zig Zag ties attended the funeral. All three had served under David in his Sea Vixen Squadron. One delivered a glowing eulogy at the funeral relating to David's time in the Royal Navy that left me realising more than ever how privileged I was to have a man like David call me friend. I spoke to the Fleet Air Arm pilots after the service about flying the Sea Vixen. Apart from being very interesting from an aviation perspective, the Sea Vixen being a complicated aircraft and them informing me why it was nicknamed The Killer, our conversation left me with the unmistakable impression that all three pilots revered David Hamilton as a commanding officer.

David mentions the Secretary of the Sydney Turf Club Richard Boulter above and the book he wrote The Sydney Turf Club Forty Years On - A history of the first forty years 1943-1983. I was very flattered when David gave me his copy of this book in December 2013. In David's reference to this book which appears above, he wrote He kindly sent me a copy with his personal note on the inner page. David was very modest and did not approve me including Richard's inscription to David. As we are reminiscing about David I think it is pertinent what others thought of him so I have included this inscription now!


You and I have brought the ship safely home to port, on a number of occasions, through tricky sees.

My thanks for your willing co-operation, always.


This book mentions Automatic Totalisators Limited and Sir George Julius, both of which are major subjects of this website.

David also gave me a second book titled CARRIER A Century of First-Hand Accounts Of Naval Operations In War and Peace. David with his modesty did not say much about it. The first thing I noticed was that David is in the index which quoted several pages under his name. He has written several pieces in the book and is referred to as Commander David 'Shorty' Hamilton. After being amazed by his prominence in this big book I further discovered that the book is actually dedicated to him on the page opposite the beginning of the Contents with the words "For Commander David 'Shorty' Hamilton". On the Opposite side of this page he has made an inscription:

With best wishes to Brian from an ancient aviator.


Just prior to departing for Sydney from Toowoomba to attend the Max Burnet Computer Old Timers Lunch and the first meeting for us of the Chrysler Restorers Club which we had just joined, we received the sad news that our good friend David Hamilton had passed away unexpectedly. As a result we hoped that we could attend David's funeral when the date was announced. During the trip down we seemed to get a message from David. This was the first long trip in our new car a Chrysler SRT. We went through a roundabout in Tamworth with a Ford Fairmont in the right hand lane and the roundabout was a bit like a chicane and as these were two sizeable cars we came close together and I had to pay particular attention to avoid colliding with the Fairmont. When we came out of the roundabout, we slowed to enter the Fairlane's lane and follow it. As the Fairmont had suddenly become prominent and I was paying attention to it, I happened to glance at the numberplate. I suggested Narelle look at it as I presumed I was jumping to silly conclusions. She immediately replied, its a message from David, matching my immediate conclusion! Neither of us could believe the number RN091. We independently concluded it had to do with David who was in the RN (Royal Navy) and died at age 91! Also a rather unusual numberplate with only 5 characters.

Fancy Line

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The next page, accessible via the Next page button in the Nav Bar below, shows an image of a Julius Tote TCC (Tote Control Console) at Harold Park. It also has information from Rob Stone, on the installation of the PDP8 computer based totalisator system at Harold Park, that superseded the Julius Tote and is the first computer based totalisator in the Southern Hemisphere. This PDP8 system described in the next page is what produced the Tickets that Chris Robertson provided above. It started operating in December 1970 and Chris' tickets are from the early to mid 1970s.

If you arrived here from the Photo Gallery and you wish to return there, select the Top of the page button in the Nav Bar below then click on the first image.

The previous page, accessible via the Previous page button below, looks at the second of three pages relating to the Memoires of an Operations Manager David Hamilton and Harold Park Trotting Track.

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