This technology history 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, the Australian company founded by George Julius in 1917 to develop, manufacture and export these systems.

An old Automatic Totalisators Machine Shop

I have placed this image next to its predecessor in the Photo Gallery as the prominent archways and other aspects of both images make them appear to be inside the same building. It is not clear whether this is the Alice Street Newtown or the Chalmers Street Sydney CBD factory. Although the label attached to the predecessor photograph in the Photo Album implies that it is Alice Street by calling it First Workshop ATL, the flat roof and good condition of the floor suggest that it might be Chalmers Street. On the other hand, an aerial image of this factory, extracted from an aerial survey photograph taken in 1949, 15 years after Automatic Totliosators Limited vacated this factory, shown in other pages inside this section of the Photo Gallery, shows the factory grounds were substantial and could have contained houses as well as the original factory building. One major argument against this image belonging to the Chalmers Street factory, is that the Chalmers Street factory is still standing and on the occasions I have visited it, I have seen nothing that lines up with these multiple impressive archways shown in this image, or its predecessor in the Photo Gallery. There is only one archway in the whole of the Chalmers Street factory that I have seen and it belongs to what used to be the main entrance. This main entrance had a double door but it was not as impressive as the archways in the image below. I am not familiar with these old machines shown in this image of a workshop/machine shop, however they look to me as if they are mainly mills and lathes.

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The photographers stamp on the photograph reads HALL & CO., Commercial Photographers, 20 HUNTER STREET, SYDNEY.

There are elements about this image that give the impression it is inside a house. Zooming in on a higher resolution copy of this image, the taller source of light visible near the top of the image to the right of centre looks like a front door. The door has two tall panes of glass in it. To the right of the door there is another pane of glass in what looks like a fixed side panel from which the door either opens or is hinged. Across the top of the door is a short wide skylight and another is over the side panel window. On the right hand side of the side panel there is a hat and coat hanging up in what would presumably be a vestibule. To the left of this doorway, is another source of light which is through an archway and is in another room which I fancy for no particular reason could have been a kitchen. Additionally, near the top left corner of the image there is a whitewashed brick archway which looks into another room which has a circular intense light source, probably a bulb, near the left hand pillar of the archway. A lot of things are on the floor in this room through the archway and what looks jackets hanging up seen past the left side of the pillar in the foreground. Spanning the whole bottom of the arch is an artistic wrought iron balustrade with a flower pattern, which certainly looks very out of place in a factory. Oh, and the archways themselves look rather grandiose for a factory, even though they are a strong way of implementing wide openings as seen in this image!

This image also shows several long wooden control levers which disengage the drive belt of a particular machine from the drive shafts near the ceiling. One can clearly be seen in the image above without any zooming or higher resolution. The handle of one is near the left side of the nearest turner seated behind what looks like a lathe. He could reach this handle with his right hand without standing up. The top of this handle disappears off the top of the image as it is in the roof equipment that this disengagement takes place. The belt driving his lathe can be seen descending from the drive pulley near the ceiling past the right side of his face as seen in the image, to the lathe. Another can be seen below the top left corner of the image close to the left hand edge. The dark coloured belt can be seen rising from the machine near ground level towards the ceiling and running off the left hand side of the image. Immediately to the right and parallel to the belt is the control lever which is a lot brighter colour. Again the turner operating the lathe can reach the handle from his seated position.

In the machine rooms of my time each machine had its own electric motor. These old machine rooms had ceiling space mounted drive shafts with pulleys and belts connecting to each individual machine. Although at the time of this photograph the drive shafts were more likely to be driven by electric motors, I think this concept stems from a time when the main drive shafts in factories were driven by steam engines. I do not mean to suggest that this post dates the steam era as steam technology was still very much alive and well at this time, particularly on the railways and no doubt still powering many factories. I suppose it is not beyond the realms of possibility that this factory was still powered by steam. I think that had this drive method endured to the modern day the OH&S staff would have done a lot to ensure no one could accidentally get any body parts jammed between any belt and pulley. Something that appears prevalent in these sorts of photographs is the need for a ladder. One can be seen in the centre of the upper half of this image, standing on the right side of the pillar which has the partially visible clock on the left hand side of it, suspended on the wall behind. The ladders are probably used to rearrange the belts on the drive pulleys and to replace a belt that has slipped off a pulley, also possibly adjust belt tension and or perform maintenance work on this ceiling equipment like lubricating and repair.

Neville Mitchell, an ex Automatic Totalisators Limited engineer and manager and the best company historian I know, wrote the following about the Alice Street Factory in 2018 although his time in the area was after Automatic Totalisators Limited had vacated the Alice Street Factory and moved to the new one in Chalmers Street near Central Station:

I remember the Alice street area as I worked at Stromberg Carlson's factory in Bourke St Alexandria, {1953-1962} I would catch the bus at St Peters Railway station to get to Bourke Street the bus took a zigzag rout through to Mitchell Road ,obviously I would have passed by the ATL factory.

Coincidentally when Stromberg Carlson folded up the building was sold to Felt & Textiles who occupied it until it was destroyed by fire many years later.

Some buses from St Peters Railway Station took a rout that passed by many other factories on its way to Bourke Road which is to the east of St Peters.

The Krysler Radio & Television, Nylex, Baird Watson Furniture, Cabinet makers {J8 & J10 wooden cases},were among many smaller plants in what was even in the 1950's a very run down area.

There was much later a bus that serviced the Bourke Road factories directly, CIG being a major employer the NSW Motor Registry, NSW Wool Stores, Stromberg Carlson, Magnavox, just to name a few. These bus routes included other large factories sited towards Zetland, Roseberry, Botany.

The daily bus fare was two pence each way!

The previous image in the Photo GalleryThe first image of an early Automatic Totalisators Limited workshop

I believe the photograph shown in the above image, which is a reduced version of the previous image in the Photo Gallery of these pages, was taken in the same building as the one shown at the top of this page. I have included this image here so it can be compared and contrasted with the image at the top of the page. The first connection I noticed was the arches that can be seen around the windows on the right hand side of the image above, which look the same as the archways in the far wall on the left hand side of the image at the top of this page. When looking at the construction of the archways by zooming in on higher resolution copies of these images, the size and shape of the bricks and their arrangement look exactly the same.

The first thing that led me to believe that these photos actually overlap was an unusual plank, that descends from a large pulley near the ceiling at an angle of approximately 20 degrees to horizontal to below head height when standing, on its way to a large motor on a bench. This is significant as it has a high likelihood of somebody walking into it. This actually is already a very early OH&S solution as it is protecting the unwary from a greater risk of tangling with a drive belt running just above the plank. This plank can be seen near the centre of the image above. It is well above the heads of the group of three people behind the first turner and lathe in the centre foreground. Two well dressed men are standing together observing the scene and a machinist is leaning on a milling machine to the right of them. It continues to descend to the right to a position below the drive pulley of a large electric motor on the bench below the windows. In the image at the top of this page, this same plank can be seen in the upper right quadrant descending to the right and extending off the right hand side of the image. Following the plank to the left the large pulley that the electric motor drives can be seen mounted in the roof space. The drive side of the belt can be seen between the plank and the pulley. The slacker return side of the belt can be seen drooping from the upper side of the big pulley and converging with the plank towards the right as it comes from the much smaller pulley on the motor.

The nearest machinist on the right hand side of the image at the top of this page, is looking down at a milling machine table. That same milling machine can be seen in the image immediately above, where a machinist is leaning on it, behind the turner in the centre foreground. The nearest machinist on the left hand side of the image at the top of this page is sitting at what appears to be a lathe. This lathe can be seen in the image above behind and to the left of the prominent central foreground lathe and turner. The lathe appears immediately to the right of the box on the nearest pillar on the left hand side of the image above and the machinist's head appears at the top right hand corner of the box. Examining the lathe and the milling machine mentioned, in high resolution versions of the two images above, it is clear that both images are showing the same machines.

One of the differences between these two images is that the spot where the wooden box between the first and second machinists in the centre of the image above is standing, has a machine which looks like a small milling machine standing there at the bottom of the image at the top of this page to the right of centre. Another difference is that the wall or notice board with all the papers, which presumably are drawings and specification sheets attached to it, on the left hand side of the image above, is not evident in the image at the top of this page. There is someone standing in front of this information board in the image above, reading one of the sheets. He is slightly obscured by a drive belt.

The drive shaft pulleys near the ceiling in both images, the wooden pillars, the brackets near the top of the pillars, the boxes attached to the pillars, the arrangement of the pillars and the look of the floor when comparing high resolution versions of these images all seem to be consistent between the two.

In conclusion, the above two images come from photographs which were taken in the same building at different times, as some of the layout has changed with time. The man on the left of a well dressed pair who are observing the scene to the left of the machinist leaning on a milling machine, in the image above, I have nicknamed ATMOM (Automatic Totalisators Man Of Mystery) in other related Photo Gallery pages. I have deduced he is a visitor to the factory. He is dressed like no one else I have seen in my photo collection on this subject, in a Mandarin Collar, cravat suit and hat. He also appears in a photograph that shows him in the same outfit and in a photograph that is clearly inside one of the Alice Street factory buildings. As a result I think it is reasonably safe to conclude that the two images above also show the inside of an Automatic Totalisators Limited Alice Street factory building.