This 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.

The Earliest Automatic Totalisators Factory Staff Photo

This is the oldest Staff photograph I have and know of. This factory is probably the one in Newtown Sydney at 146-158 Alice Street. I have in my possession a letter of commendation for my wife's Auntie's father, written by the Works Manager of Automatic Totalisators Pty. Ltd. on the 9th May 1921 and in this letter there is the Alice Street Newtown address. So this factory at Alice Street was in operation in 1921.

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In December 2015, Narelle and I visited the State Library of New South Wales and looked at their comprehensive set of Sydney Telephone Books on Microfiche spanning 1889 to 1950. This revealed that Automatic Totalisators Limited had the factory at Newtown starting in 1919, with the last phone book entry for Newtown being in November 1933. The May 1934 Phone Book entry shows the factory at 182 Chalmers Street, with a depot in Central Street in the city and an office at Randwick Racecourse. The phone book entries for Automatic Totalisators start in 1917, the year the company was founded, with an address of 4 Bridge Street, with the same entry for 1918. The company Totalling Mechanisms Limited was in existence in 1914 and seems to be the forerunner of Automatic Totalisators Limited, however judging from the painted name on the side of this building, the name Automatic Totalisators is painted over some other name, probably the previous tenants.

It is interesting to note that Automatic Totalisators Limited had an office at Randwick Racecourse. The 1917 Julius Tote installation there, was in my opinion, the world's first large scale, on line, real time, multi user system. Although it would not have been thought of as such at the time, as it took decades for the advent of digital computers to make these concepts commonplace, it must have created a significant relationship between the AJC and ATL. Additionally, 1934, the year of the phone book in which I noticed ATL (Automatic Totalisators Limited) had an office at Randwick, is the year before the opening of the next generation Julius Tote at Randwick which would have been another major project.

The number of jackets and ties being worn is amazing by modern day standards. It is curious that they have not bothered to paint over the previous writing on the corrugated iron walls to create a clean slate on which to paint Automatic Totalisators. No doubt there were higher priority jobs!

I visited 146-158 Alice Street in September 2014 and these street numbers are now occupied by a modern gated community of town houses with a street address of 146 Alice Street. I had no misgivings regarding the fact that there would be no trace of this old tin building in the 21st century, however I did think that the ornate stone building peering above the roof-line of this factory may have had some hope of surviving. I had a good look for any sign of a similar building but found no trace of it!