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 ( later an oligopoly ) in this field. This page is a continuation of the description of the factory. If you wish to start from the beginning then go to the index
|Memories of the Factory part 2|
The following is the second part of a transcription of an audio tape by Neville Mitchell and photographs he has supplied. Neville has held several management positions with the company. When I first joined the company, I think he was the manager of the drawing office.
Here we have the picture of the canteen. In the corner there was the properly equipped kitchen that could provide 1000 meals a day. When you worked overtime you were provided with a three course meal. If you worked a night shift you were given breakfast as well. This was bacon and eggs and toast and tomato, the whole bit. You really felt like you were looked after in those days. The chairs were a bit of a problem. As they wore they became known as nut crushers because of that canvas, slim type seat, used to stretch and as you sat in it you sunk down between those steel tubes and often you would get down there and if you were a bit overweight you would get stuck.
One thing about this, when you went there you were sort of assigned a seat. If you went up for morning tea and sat down with a group of guys, they would look at you as if to say "that seat belonged to someone else", you could not go and sit anywhere you liked. The hierarchy even extended to where you sat and ate lunch. The executive's lunch room was behind the kitchen and they ate separately to the production and office staff.
No photograph but you can see an animation of a J8 here.
The wonderful J8 machine. I have no idea of how many they manufactured, but it was certainly in the tens of thousands. They were distributed world wide. This particular one is a multi value machine. You can see it had a value key that you could swap between 10 and 50 pounds.
This is a view of the J8 assembly line, part of the assembly section. It shows the factory prior to an extension that was made. There was one more sawtooth that was added when Automatic Totalisators bought out Page Engineering and started to manufacture the yellow and black number plates for the NSW Department of Transport.
Here is the toolies hand fitting section, where the various dies jigs and fixtures were assembled and checked out. Notice that the work benches are solid cast iron they weighed close to half a ton each.
The production floor shop, these are some of the machines used in tool maintenance. As you can see the amount of machines was enormous.
This is the metrology department. This room was air conditioned and the laboratory was certificated to National Laboratory standards and they did a lot of testing work here. I particularly remember the stage when we were subcontracting the manufacture of parts for the Victa Air Tourer aircraft and every part was taken through here and tested for accuracy and was X-rayed and hardness checked, all that sort of thing which went into certifying a part suitable for an aircraft.
The heat treatment area. It was run by a bloke named Bob, he was a Communist. Of course the whole factory was unionised, very very strictly unionised.
The tooling racks. Every tool had a number and if you had that tool out you had to give a brass tag with your payroll number on it and you were totally responsible for that tool whilst it was off the rack. At the end of the day or week the storeman would come along and demand the tool back and you were given your brass tag back and if you didn't or you had broken it, you were docked for the damage that you had done or the loss of the tool.
Load the shaft adder image.
A nice view of an adder. Everything on it is manufactured by Automatic Totalisators except the rotary counter and the mercury switch located at the bottom right. This is a three shaft adder, a work of art. It had the capacity of up to 240 ticket issuing machines.
Earlier in the tape I was talking about Julius acquiring the land at Meadowbank. The story behind why he wanted to build, in those days, way out in the boondocks comes from the war time and post war era, from the factory that was located in Crown Street in the city. The problem with the factory there was the proximity of all the hotels. There was a hotel or pub on every corner. They had great trouble keeping the people at work especially working three shifts as they did all through the war years. So when he looked for a site for the new factory, one of the prime considerations was that it had to be at least a mile from the nearest hotel. He achieved that with a vengeance, because the closest hotel was way down at West Ryde and it certainly wasn't a place that you could get to, have a drink and get back to work in your half hour lunch break. However over the years of course we have spent many pleasant hours there after work especially after Friday night with the likes of George Klemmer and Peter Rolls etcetera.
This is an interesting point for me. When I joined Automatic Totalisators in 1977, I was surprised to find that we would often attend the Wallumetta Club for lunch on Fridays. This was a Businessman's Club on Victoria Road that was not far away. In all previous jobs, work and partaking in alcoholic beverages was kept quite separate. In this instance, it was accepted. With the passage of time I began to realise that this was bigger than I had first imagined. I started to recognise more of the people at the club and I came to realise that the patrons at the club on Friday afternoons was a who's who of Automatic Totalisators. Occasionally the stay at the club extended beyond lunch hours and little work was done at the factory for the rest of the afternoon. Several of the management staff thought that this was actually a productive exercise as more communication took place at the Club than at the factory. I tend to concur, as the major topic of conversation was always Automatic Totalisators and people from different departments would often be engaged in conversation.
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