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, the company founded to develop, manufacture and export these systems.

This is an early Staff photograph. 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 from 1921 or earlier but no earlier than 1917 when ATL was founded. 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 is Automatic Totalisators painted over some other name. According to The Rutherford Journal article titled An Unlikely History of Australian Computing: the Reign of the Totalisator by Lindsay Barrett and Matthew Connell, the factory moved from Newtown to the southern end of the Sydney CBD in 1930, although a company document states that it was 1933. This new factory was in Chalmers Street near Central Station. More after the image...


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In conclusion the Alice Street factory was in operation in 1921 and operated until 1930 at least. It may have started as early as 1917 as Automatic Totalisators or at least as early as 1914 as Totalling Mechanisms. The factory moved to Chalmers street in 1930 or 1933.

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!