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

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The WATA's Julius Tote at Gloucester Park

The image below shows the Western Australian Trotting Association's Tote Building housing the second Julius Totalisator at Gloucester Park. It is now over a century since the first Julius tote to be installed at Gloucester Park commenced operation. I have included this photograph as it is the most spectacular night time photograph of a tote house I have seen. I know of two Julius tote installations here. The first was in 1916, shown bottom right in the image below titled Page 10 Straight Betting, which immediately followed the installation of the world's first automatic totalisator at Ellerslie, making it the second Julius Tote installed anywhere. Consequently the first Julius Tote at Gloucester Park was the first Julius tote in Australia. The second Julius Tote installed at Gloucester Park was in 1929, which was relatively new when the photograph shown in the first image below was taken. The 1916 Julius Tote was purely mechanical and had eight terminals and the 1929 system, in use inside the building shown in the first image below, was electromechanical with thirty eight terminals. The writing on the back of the photograph shown in the first image below reads: New Machine Recently Installed at Western Australian Trotting Association.

A company document titled The Premier (Julius) Automatic Totalisator contains a very low resolution copy of this photo with the following text: FIG4. New "Win and Place" Premier Totalisator installed, 1929, in Perth, West Australia for the West Australian Trotting Association. This machine replaces an earlier "Premier" Installation installed in 1916.

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The photographer's stamp on this photograph reads: ILLUSTRATIONS LIMITED PHOTOGRAPHERS Process Blocks. Designers Etc. (Bungalow Buildings) 870 A Hay Street, Perth. W.A. -- Contemporary Note 2015: Illustrations is the longest running photographic company in Australia, being founded in 1920 and their current address is 291 Fitzgerald Street West Perth.

The above image appeared in a Western Mail 1946 newspaper article with two labels, first Romance of the automatic tote had origins in this State and second The Gloucester Park totalisator at night. The article appears below under the heading Romance of the automatic tote had origins in this State.

First some observations regarding the image above:
The first floor level contains the Julius Tote Machine Room. The Place Pool Runner Totals are visible in the first row of counter windows on the facing side of the machine room and the Win Pool Runner Totals are in the second row. There are numbers above the windows in these rows identifying the runner number. The highest window number and hence runner number is twenty eight. Either side of the Place Pool windows is the word PLACE and on the sides of the Win Pool windows is the word WIN. Between the Place and Win Pool windows are two rows of hooks for hanging sign boards containing horse names and reinsman names. The first row of hooks is labelled HORSE and the second row REINSMAN. On the side of the maintenance access walkway running across the machine room below the two rows of counter windows is written ANY HORSE WIN or PLACE ANY WINDOW and this is repeated five times across the length of the machine room. At the bottom of the central tower are two counter windows. Above these is written GRAND TOTALS and then below this line, above the left window PLACE and above the right window WIN. Above these in the central tower are two dark indicator boards on which display boards can be hung to display the dividends. The left one is headed PLACE and the right WIN.

Also on the first floor level on the left and right of the machine room are two indicators with lit up towers on top of them. Both are labelled however I can only make out the word STARTERS on the near one. There are two rows of fourteen windows at the bottom of these indicators, which gives a total of twenty eight, coinciding with the maximum field size as determined in the previous paragraph. Presumably these indicators show the runners that are participating in the current race. Above these there is another row of eight windows in each indicator and above that an ornate roof. Between the top windows and the roof is another word that I cannot read, however it could be EVENT, in which case these indicators probably show the current race number. As the photograph of the 1916 Julius Totalisator here at Gloucester Park, shown below bottom right in the image titled Page 10 Straight Betting, has an indicator to the right of the Tote House showing events one through seven, it adds credence to the word in question in the image above being EVENT. After eighty five years the photo shown in the image above has some silver nitrate blemishing.

On the ground floor are some of the selling windows with queueing rails. The Julius Tote TIMs (Ticket Issuing Machines) have been installed inside these windows. These are connected to the central processing system in the machine room. There are signs visible inside some of the windows. These are difficult to read however the largest characters seem to read "10/-" representing an investment of ten shillings. Above each of these I think are two words "Win Place".

As the Win and Place pools have been mentioned multiple times above and this page features West Australian totalisator systems, it is worth mentioning that the 1922 Julius Totalisator installed for the West Australian Turf Club, was the first to implement Win and Place pools. Prior to that there was only one pool. This West Australian Turf Club installation was the 18th Julius Tote installation and had 34 Ticket Issuing Machines. In the single pool system, the net Pool was divided up into three parts giving the winner 60% and each of the 2nd and 3rd horses 20%. After the first Totalizator equipment for Win & Place betting was installed in Perth, from then on, with few exceptions, all racecourses installed Win & Place equipment. The Ticket Issuing Machines were divided so that some sold Win and others sold Place. The method of calculating the dividend for the Place pool was such that the total money invested on the placed horses was taken out of the net pool and the remainder was divided by the number of dividends to be declared and this figure was divided by the units bet on each placed horse.

The previously mentioned company document titled The Premier (Julius) Automatic Totalisator, also contains the following text near the photo of the second Julius Tote at Gloucester Park, which is also shown in the image above. This following extract, the second in sequence immediately follows the text in the first extract from this company document. This first extract can be read in the Photo Gallery page accessible by clicking on the image at the top of this page and scrolling up in the index table to and selecting the image thumbnail which has associated text starting with the words The Tote House at Ellerslie Racecourse Auckland... :

During the 17 years which have elapsed since the first Premier Totalisator was installed, many very notable improvements have been made, and to-day the mechanism is not only very much more simple, reliable and efficient, but it is also considerably lower in price than the earlier machines.

A list of the various racecourses upon which various types of the Premier Totalisator are now installed will be found on Page 22, and from this list it will be seen that ALMOST ALL FULLY MECHANISED TOTALISATORS IN USE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TO-DAY ARE "PREMIER," AND THAT, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, ALL THE LARGEST EQUIPMENTS ARE OF THIS TYPE AND MAKE.

The "Premier" Totalisator, in the form in which it has been chiefly used, automatically prints tickets required, and in so printing, electrically transmits the record of the sale of each ticket to the central adding mechanism, which totals the whole of the sales so made on each horse at the various selling booths, and records also the grand total of all such sales. It records such totals on large mechanical counters or indicators visible to the public, on small courses these counters are displayed only to some central point on the course, whilst in large installations, such as at Longchamps, Paris, the totals are displayed in as many as four different places, so that investors at various parts of the course may be kept fully informed of the progress of the betting.

All early attempts at mechanisation of the Pari Mutuel have been confined to the accurate and prompt display to the public of numbers showing the progress of the sale of tickets; the mechanism almost invariably being so arranged as to show the total equivalent number of "unit" tickets that have been sold on each horse (the "unit" being the ticket of the lowest value, that is on sale in the equipment).

At the same time, a record was displayed, showing the aggregate of all tickets sold on all horses. For example, in an equipment that is selling tickets of values of, say 5/-, 10/-, and £1, at the various selling booths, the machine will at any instant show the equivalent number of unit (i.e., 5/-) bets on each horse and on the grand total. The machine therefore automatically records the sale of every 5/- ticket as one unit sold, each 10/- as two units, and each £1 ticket as four units.

Obviously, however, the ideal machine would be one that would inform the bettor of the amount of the dividend that he would obtain, should the horse that he has backed prove to be the winner.

Note: although the above extract refers to investment totals being on display to the public, it is leading up to the revelation that George Julius invented the worlds first odds computer in 1927 and that odds displays were available on Julius Totes after that time.

The next extract from this company document which follows this one, can be read by clicking on the image above and scrolling down in the index table to and selecting the image icon in the Longchamps Paris 1928 -... section with associated text starting with Longchamps Racecourse France circa 1929...

I have not reproduced the list on page 22 of this document here, as there are several such lists on this website. To see one of these lists, click on the Go to the index navigation bar option at the bottom of this page, then select the Installations/Testimonials - The Premier Totalisator chapter.

As the next section titled Most Modern Machine in Australia relates to the first Julius Totalisator installed at Gloucester Park, the image below shows the building housing that system.

Page 10 Straight Betting Page 10 from the company document titled Straight Betting

The image above shows page ten extracted from a company booklet titled Straight Betting. The bottom right image in page ten above, shows the tote house containing the 1916 Julius Totalisator at Gloucester Park, installed for the West Australian Trotting Association, which has been referred to as the Most Modern Machine in Australia. It also shows the crowds that attended meetings in those days. The latest year that I have seen mentioned in Straight Betting is 1922. This probably is the year this booklet was produced and if not, probably soon after. The image above, as well as the rest of the Straight Betting booklet, is a historic example of artistic company product promotion in the early 1920s. Low image resolution was probably normal back then.

Thanks to Bruce Rutter, who held multiple management positions with Automatic Totalisators Limited finally becoming General Manager, for giving me his copy of Straight Betting. Although this booklet is elegant with an ornate cover, it seems to be a pre release version of it. There is fountain pen writing on the front cover which reads Mr Raymonas with memos inside written below. The text has deletions and additions marked in it, some in pencil and others in fountain pen. It can be seen in the Page 10 image above, inside the top right text box, that the word above has been highlighted for deletion from the words the above photograph, as it actually refers to the image below. Consequently the writing in the text box relates to the first Julius Tote at Gloucester Park and is a commendation of the Julius Tote at Gloucester Park by the West Australian Trotting Association. With the deletion of the word above this text reads:

The Association reports: "The Totalisator Machine supplied by your Company has been running continuously on our Course since 20th January, 1916. Your machine has proved popular with the public, and has given satisfactory results to my Association. The machine is the first of its type installed on any racecourse in Australia."

It is noteworthy that racing takes place at this Course by artificial light at night time, and the photograph was taken during one of the meetings.

Most Modern Machine in Australia

I have given this section the above heading as I think it is an interesting observation, which I pinched from the subtitle of the 13th May 1915 newspaper article below. First however, in chronological order, is a couple of extracts from an article in The West Australian newspaper dated Friday 9 January 1914, which relates to the first Julius Tote installed at Gloucester Park. The omitted text in this article is a quote from a 1913 Referee newspaper article about the Ellerslie Julius Tote. Extracts from the Referee article appear distributed in some pages in the Ellerslie Racecourse New Zealand 1913 section of the Photo Gallery of this website. Following are the extracts from the 1914 West Australian article:



The W.A. Trotting Association have decided to install on their grounds one of the latest totalisator machines at present in use in New Zealand. At the last New Zealand Cup (trotting) meeting £123,362 was put through the machine in three days...


Some few months ago a machine practically the same as this was installed at Auckland, and from the first race in which it was used it was hailed with delight, by Press and public. In fact, a prominent Sydney sportsman who has only recently returned from one of several trips to New Zealand, said that the new machine had revolutionised wagering in the northern city. He stated that he found the old antipathy to the totalisator almost entirely eliminated, and expressed the opinion that nothing more satisfactory could be desired by anybody.

In addition to the one installed at Auckland, other New Zealand clubs are treating for the purchase of one, while Queensland and Western Australia may shortly have them on a couple of courses. The machine certainly looks to do what is claimed for it, and that being so, we should soon be without the complaint so frequently heard nowadays that the totalisator can not thoroughly satisfy even its own devotees.

Mr. Jas. Brennan, president of. the W.A. Trotting Association, yesterday received a telegram from Auckland stating that during the four days meeting of the Auckland Jockey Club just concluded, the sum of £225,410 passed through the totalisator, the total for one day being £63,780. The machine described above was used at the meeting and, according to Mr. Brennan's telegram, it worked splendidly throughout.

Following is an article from The West Australian newspaper dated Thursday 13 May 1915. It relates to the first Julius Tote that operated at Gloucester Park. Note that Totalling Mechanisms Limited, mentioned in this article was the forerunner to Automatic Totalisators Limited:


Most Modern Machine in Australia

To the West Australian Trotting Association belongs the distinction of installing the first purely mechanical totalisator in Australia. It is the invention of Mr. G. A. Julius, well known in this state, and a son in-law of the late Mr. C. Y. O'Connor, Engineer-in Chief of Western Australia. The machine has been taken over by a company, styled the Totaling Mechanisms Ltd., which has sent its expert to the State to see that the tote is successfully launched upon its work, which will be commenced on the association's ground, East Perth, on Saturday. The machine is generally admitted to be the most ingenious of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and because of this, and of its absolutely accurate and positive working, has been adopted by the association for the use of its patrons here. It has, of course, been well tried in Australasia, namely, in the Dominion of New Zealand, where it has met with general approbation at all the racing centres in which it has been used. In Auckland, for instance, at the last Christmas race meeting held there, a sum nearly approaching £250,000 passed through one of these totes in the course of four days. This in itself is a sure indication of the popularity of the machine, and of the faith that racegoers have in it.

The first Julius Tote Ticket Issuing Machine An image of a J1 Ticket Issuing Machine

Webmaster's note:

The above image is not part of the newspaper article. I have provided this image here as it is of the J1 Ticket Issuing Machine (TIM) developed for the first Julius Tote for Western Australia. The article refers to this machine in the next paragraph as a special ticket issuer. The TIM is shown with its two hinged covers open. A full sized version of this image can be viewed in the page after the next accessible via the Next page button in the navigation bar at the bottom of this and the next page. It may look ancient but keep in mind that this is most likely the first computer terminal in the world and it is part of an on line real time multi user system. In the predecessor to this system, the first Julius Tote, the selling stations were an integral part of the mainframe system.
There is, however, one improvement which the local machine has upon the Auckland tote, namely, that here the machine is fitted with special ticket issuers. The totalisator on the association's grounds is what is known as a "28 horse six clerk machine." It is capable of selling up to 500 tickets per minute, or at the rate of 80 tickets odd per clerk during the space of 60 seconds. Under the present hand-selling system, the quickest clerk will not sell more then 25 tickets per minute, and given the best possible conditions, six such clerks could not dispose of more than 150 tickets during the time.

Further, under the existing arrangements anyone purchasing a ticket on a particular horse must go to that window over which the name of that particular horse appears. With the new tote, however, which will contain six selling windows, the purchaser has only to go to that window which lies nearest to hand, or which is at the moment most easily accessible, and ask for and purchase the ticket required, - the only difference being that instead of, as at present, asking for a ticket on such and such a horse, the purchaser will tell the clerk that he wants a ticket on such and such a number, which corresponds in the race book with the name of the horse he requires to invest upon. This arrangement, under the old system, would naturally lead to some confusion, delay, and often mistakes. Under the new system, however, all such difficulties are overcome with mathematical precision. Every selling clerk is equipped with a machine, from which he may sell tickets on any one of the 28 horses provided for. But every one of the machines works in complete sympathy with the others, and every machine is connected in a similar manner with the number registration board at the top and outside of the building. The mechanism is so adjusted that if all the machines sold in one minute at their maximum quantity, namely, 3,000 tickets not only would the ticket, be passed through to the various purchasers in that time, but throughout the operation the registration board would go on showing the increase in the number of tickets sold on each of the horses, and at the end of the minute the total number of tickets disposed of would be there for the information of the public, who would thus be made aware on the instant of the exact odds at which each horse stood.

There are two features about the new tote which have a special local application. One is that two places, instead of three, as now, will be provided for. On the horse gaining first place the investor will receive a return of 75 per cent. of the net proceeds from the sale of the tickets on all the horses, and those holding tickets on the horse running second will receive 25 per cent. The other feature, and it is one that should particularly appeal to the public, and that is the system of bracketing horses. This may best be explained by the statement of a supposition case. Let it be supposed that one Jones has two horses in a race, named "Bluey" and "Darkie." The public are, of course, in the dark as to which of the two has the most chance of winning, or as to which the owner himself fancies most. In order, therefore, to ensure for the public the best possible run for their money the association have decided that "Bluey" and "Darkie" should be bracketed, which means to say that if "Bluey" were to win the race the tote would pay out not only on "Bluey's" tickets but on those containing the number which stands for "Darkie."

Another point concerning the mechanical tote and the payment on two places only is that the dividends will be considerably greater than they are under the present system, and moreover the bracketing of horses will, in those races in which an owner has a double interest, provide what will amount to a third chance. Owners, too, it is expected, will make much freer use of the new tote than they have done of old, and this will also have an additional elect of increasing the amounts of the dividends that are paid out. The principle feature about the tote itself is its absolute infallibility. It represents the summit of accuracy. It cannot fail in its registration, and numbering and punching of every ticket sold through it. It cannot fail in its addition of the number of tickets sold. It cannot be a party to anything that is not strictly fair and above board. It accelerates the speed at which tickets have hitherto been sold by nearly four hundred per cent, and will enable the dividends to be declared in a fraction of the time at which even now they are made known. The whole of the mechanism is so arranged that immediately the advertised time of starting a race is reached the machine can be locked from the stewards' box or other convenient centre, so that it becomes impossible for any ticket-issuing clerk to issue another ticket, whilst at the same time all previously issued tickets have been accurately recorded on the counters and totalled up. In fine, the machine may safely be said to be the last word in totalisators. Webmaster's note: I had not heard the term "In fine". I have discovered it means "in the end" or "in conclusion." It comes to Western Australia from New Zealand with a remarkable record of successes, and should be found to give every satisfaction in this State, not only to owners but to patrons of the sport generally. In any event, the operations of the new tote will be watched with interest. The machine will be in operation for the first time on Saturday evening.

Following is another article from The West Australian newspaper dated Saturday 22 May 1915:

The new totalisator which was used for the first time last Saturday night worked well as regards the mechanism of the machine and no fault could be found with it. On the other hand, however, some of the operators did not appear to be proficient, and there were many persons who had to go without tickets. The operators, however, should become expert in a little while.

With regard to paying first and second horses only, the public do not appear to like it. For about 30 years in this State the people have been used to the one-two-three system, and it certainly looks as if they will require a lot of breaking in. It seems to me that with the system inaugurated last Saturday the bookmakers would benefit. With no pencillers present, no doubt everything would go on smoothly, but a man would sooner go to a bookmaker and back his fancy straight-out and know what he was getting than bet on the totalisator under the present system. It is, I understand, the owners of the machine, and not the W.A. Trotting Association, who insist on paying first and second horses. The sooner this is got rid of the better, for it will be found that instead of catering for the public on the machine they will be driven away. The system might be all very well in New Zealand where bookmakers are not allowed to bet, but in this State it will not work so well and the sooner the one-two-three machine is installed, the better.

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Romance of the automatic tote had origins in this State

Following is the article that appeared in the Western Mail newspaper, previously mentioned below the image at the top of this page. It is made available by the Trove newspaper archive. The first two lines of this Western Mail article are embedded in the image of the Gloucester Park tote house that also appears in the article. This tote house image in the article is a low resolution copy of the image at the top of this page:

Citation: 1946 'Romance of the automatic tote had origins in this State The Gloucester Park totalisator at night. IDEA THAT PAID DIVIDENDS', Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954), 5 December, p. 26. , viewed 28 Feb 2017,

Romance of the automatic tote had origins in this State
The Gloucester Park totalisator at night.

ABOUT the beginning of the century when a manufacturers' and general exhibition was being held in the large building now being used as a factory by E. S. Wigg and Son at the eastern end of Hay street, a group of racing men, of whom one was Mr. P. A. Connolly, became intrigued wth a votes-counting machine exhibited by a man named Parry.

"If that machine can count votes, it might be adapted to count bets,' said one of the group.

It is well known that many great things have sprung from humble beginnings and it was from this seemingly trivial incident, not yet 50 years ago, that the idea for an automatic totaIisator, now in general use throughout the world, was born.

At the time of this incident racing was booming in this State. In 1897 totalisators had been legalised for operation on racecourses by a special Act of Parliament and the crude "tin" type - still serving a makeshift purpose at Belmont Park, Kalgoorlie and country courses - in which tickets were printed before the race meeting and sold from tin containers, was in general use.

Fully aware of the limitations of this totalisator and seized with the advantages that would accrue to the clubs and the convenience to racegoers if an automatic totalisator could be devised the group whose interest at the Exhibition had been aroused decided to investigate the possibilities of utilising or adapting the principles incorporated in Parry's machine.

"Inventive Turn of Mind"

To this end they sought the advice of a man named George Julius, who was employed as a draftsman-engineer in the W.A. Government Railways and was known to have a particularly inventive turn of mind.

After Julius had inspected Parry's machine he expressed the opinion that it had several good features but was unsuited to the purpose of the group.

"Could you, from the inspiration provided by Parry's machine, devise a totalisator that would work automatically, issuing the tickets and registering a running total of ticket sales?" Julius was asked.

"Of course I could," was Julius's forthright and encouraging reply, and from that moment the inventor went to work. To provide working funds a local syndicate was formed, which included Messrs. Ernest Hocking, J. L. Ochiltree, P. A. Connolly, Stawell and Hickling.

From the outset Julius followed the idea of perfecting a mechanical "tote." Already several improved totalisators had come into use on Australian and New Zealand racecourses but most of these were operated by hand. Their principal drawback was the inability of the operator to keep the betting public supplied with prompt knowledge as to the actual progress of the betting. Sometimes with these machines it even happened that the numbers on the totalisator would be moving after the finish of the race on which bets had been made and as such machines were open to grave fraud many clubs introduced regulations which prevented the actual starting of a race until the wheels of the totalisator had completed the record of sales of tickets upon the horses competing in that race.

While George Julius was continuing his experiments he transferred his domicile to Sydney, where, in 1912, he completed a totalisator which would automatically and instantaneously record and display the number of tickets sold on each horse, and also the aggregate number of tickets sold right throughout the progress of the betting.

Operated by weights and springs the machine was first installed on the Ellerslie Race Course, Auckland, New Zealand, in 1913 and was immediately both effective and popular.

Installation number two of this totalisator was at the W.A.C.A. ground for the W.A. Trotting Association three years later. This was a place machine, which stood at right angles to the "tin" type win machine in the area now used as a car parking enclosure in the north-west corner of the ground.

In 1917 automatic totalisators made by the Julius company were installed for the Queensland Turf Club in Brisbane and the A.J.C. at Randwick, Sydney. In the following year five totalisators were installed, including one for the Auckland Racing Club. In 1922 the installations included a machine in Ceylon and this was the forerunner of many more in India and the Far East.

In 1927 the popularity of the Australian-invented machine was shown by the first installation in Canada and the following year a totalizator was installed on the famous French racecourse at Longchamps, Paris. This totalisator has nearly 300 selling windows and is the largest of its kind in the world.

The large totalisator now in use at Gloucester Park was the 34th machine installed by the company. Its installation coincided with the opening of Gloucester Park in 1929 the State's centenary year.

Machine in Britain

THE first "Premier" totalisator (by which name the Julius machines were known) to be installed in Great Britain was to the order of the Greyhound Racing Association, Harringay. In 1931, eight machines were installed in various parts of the world and 10 installations were completed in each of the years 1935 and 1936. Since the first "Premier" automatic totalisator was installed at Ellerslie, upwards of 100 have been installed elsewhere.

Incidents in connection with the introduction of the "Premier' totalisator in Britain are worth recording. While the Totalisator Committee in England was making investigations preparatory to the submission of a Bill to Parliament a syndicate of business men offered Automatic Totalisators Ltd. - the Julius company - £100.000 and a small royalty for the "Premier'' rights in Great Britain.

Upon hearing of this the chairman of the Totalisator Committee made representations to Automatic Totalisators Ltd. not to accept the offer but to negotiate through his committee. The Australian company however, acting on the maxim that "a bird in hand is worth two in the bush," decided that a firm offer of £100,000 was too plump a bird to be rejected and promptly accepted it.

There are now approximately 25 "Premier" automatic totalisators in Great Britain but it is significant, in view of the Australian company's rejection of the Totalisator Committee's representation, that in not one instance has a "Premier" machine been installed on an English racecourse most of the totalisators being in operation at the greyhound racing tracks.

There is one of the latest "Premier" totalisators in U.S.A. This is on the famous Miami Jockey Club racecourse, Miami, Florida.

"Barometer" Indicators

NATURALLY there have been many improvements to the automatic totalisator since those old "springs and weights" days. The totalisators are now operated entirely by electricity, and the types which display the aggregate sales (such as those at Gloucester Park and Headquarters racecourse) are gradually becoming out of date and being superseded by "barometer" machines, which indicate to the bettor the approximate return he will get for his win or place investment.

Incidentally the first "barometer" totalisator was offered to the late Mr. James Brennan for installation at the opening of Gloucester Park. Mr. Brennan turned the offer down, taking the view that the public was accustomed to the numbered drums and because of the movement on the face preferred that type of machine.

The first barometer "tote" was then installed at Flemington in 1931 and the same year the racecourses at Moonee Valley, Williamstown and Caulfield followed suit. Racegoers were immediately fascinated by the coloured ribbons which moved up and down in the manner of the mercury in a thermometer indicating the respective amount any horse in the race would "pay."

An example of a Julius Tote Barometer Indicator Canterbury Jockey Club Riccarton

Webmaster's note: The image above is not part of the original newspaper article. It shows an ex tote house at Riccarton Racecourse long after it was last used as a totalisator building. It is this Barometer Indicator on the side of this building on the first floor, that qualifies the associated totalisator as a ' "barometer" machine' or ' "barometer" totalisator ' or ' barometer "tote" ' as referred to in the previous three paragraphs of the article. Now back to the article:

Recourse to Euclid

AT first glance it would seem that to devise a machine to calculate and display the dividend according to the aggregate sales would pose an intricate problem. After the inventor had by recourse to Euclid discovered a fool-proof method he said that he had been amazed at the simplicity of the solution which had occurred to him.

Broadly the indicator ribbons of a "barometer tote" are controlled by the angles of two levers which automatically adjust themselves according to the number of sales on the horse indicated in relation to the aggregate sales of the machine.

A Julius Tote Odds Calculator An image of Julius Tote odds calculators

Webmaster's note:

The above image is not part of the newspaper article. I have provided this image here as it shows the Julius Tote Odds Calculators which are the "fool-proof" method being discussed in the article.

I am not going to get into an in depth explanation of this mechanism however as Euclid has been mentioned I will stick to a more simplistic trigonometric view of it. The slanted metal strip in the middle of the image is a hypotenuse arm. The gradient of this arm represents the odds. It forms a right angled triangle with the vertical bar at the top left of the hypotenuse arm and a horizontal bar below. It has two fulcrums one on the green horizontal slider, which travels along the bottom bar and the second on the green vertical slider which travels on the two vertical bars.

A major part of the machinery in this section of the frame is missing, the shaft adder, to make the odds calculator more prominent and provide more light inside the frame. The chain lying across the horizontal bar would normally sit on top of a sprocket attached to the shaft adder in this frame, but as it has been removed, it is just dangling over a beam of the frame. This missing shaft adder in operation would have been totalling the investments on one particular runner. Part of the adder's function is to release this chain to represent the investment on that runner. All the other adders in this side of the frame are still in place. The green side plate of the next adder is just visible between the two vertical slider transport bars. If you locate the horizontal slider chain of the next adder, which comes into view about half way down the near hypotenuse arm between its vertical and horizontal sliders. This chain then travels straight, left and slightly downwards past the right vertical slider transport bar. It continues straight and finally you can see it curve around the top of the adder drive sprocket it is connected to. The chain then goes out of view behind the left hand vertical slider transport bar.

Looking further down the frame you can see other hypotenuse arms at different angles representing the odds on the other runners in the race. The two hypotenuse arms following this one are dangling straight down. This photograph was taken decades after this system was last used. In this system there are 24 hypotenuse arms on this side of the frame, which is for the place pool, one for each runner in the race. So the horizontal position of the horizontal sliders in each of these odds calculators, represent the investment on their respective runners in the race.

The second fulcrum is on the vertical slider in the image above, which is at the vertex of the right triangle. The vertical slider on every odds calculator is raised the same amount by the net pool shaft which is out of view of the image at the top of the two vertical bars. The net pool shaft represents the pool grand total minus commission. So the vertical slider represents the grand total pool. In other words, the pool investment increases the gradient of the hypotenuse arm and the particular runner investment reduces the gradient.

In conclusion, the trigonometric ratio cotangent of the angle at the vertex of this right triangle between the vertical slider and the hypotenuse arm is the odds for this particular runner. It is this angle that is sensed and used to drive the indicator boards. The disc shaped device in the image is an electrical method of sensing this angle. When I first saw this system these were no longer in use as the indicator they drove in the infield no longer existed. An earlier method utilising a sensing wire to drive pulleys that controlled motors, through switches and cams, which were used to drive the ribbons in the indicators on the east and west walls of the machine room, within which this photo was taken. Now back to the article.

Another modern development in the automatic totalisator is that a portable apparatus by which means two-thirds of the machine are portable and can be plugged into sockets similar to a radio or other electrical device and moved quickly and expeditiously from one racecourse to another.

In this connection the W.A. Turf Club has under consideration the installation of a totalisator of the portable barometer type for use at the Headquarters, Belmont Park and Helena Vale racecourses immediately building conditions permit construction of the necessary housing in which to operate the equipment.

The inventor of the "Premier" automatic totalisator, George Julius, later Sir George Julius died early this year. A remarkably clever engineer, scientist, and inventor, he was the son of an Anglican archbishop, his father having been Archbishop of Auckland, and at one time Bishop of Ballarat. Sir George Julius often said that his father was a cleverer mechanic than he was. Sir George Julius married a daughter of the eminent engineer, C. Y. O'Connor. At the time of his death Sir George Julius was chairman of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and was honoured with a knighthood for his services to the nation.

Sir George Julius inspecting the new installation at Flemington 1931 Image of George Julius inspecting the new installation at Flemington

Webmaster's note:

The above image is not part of the newspaper article. I have provided this image here as it shows Sir George Julius just mentioned. His is the nearest face and he is looking up at what I think is one of the barometer indicator drive motors, controlling one of the ribbons. This image is additionally pertinent, as this newspaper article has mentioned above that this Flemington installation was the first of the Barometer indicator totalisator systems. Furthermore, the hypotenuse arms mentioned previously are prominent in this image.

There are two groups of hypotenuse arms, one group with positive gradient and another with negative gradient which crisscross into the image. One group is attached to the Win Pool totalisator and the other to the Place Pool totalisator, with their respective runner adders lined up along each side of this equipment. The left hand group of adders are visible in this image although somewhat obscure. The top of the nearest adder is right under Sir George's chin. The two shiny rounded conical adding shaft clutch and spring caps of this adder are clearly visible, about one third of the way down the adder. There is one adder for every hypotenuse arm and you can see the mentioned shiny clutch and spring caps on the more distant adders all the way down the row of equipment. Following is a close up image of one of these adders, which is also not part of the newspaper article. The two shiny adding shaft clutch and spring caps, mentioned above, are visible on the adder below, on the left hand side of the left hand central column support plate.

The Western Mail newspaper article relates above, The first barometer "tote" was then installed at Flemington in 1931. The barometer type odds display installation at Flemington was the first barometer type odds display indicator totalisator but not the first odds display indicator type totalisator. Harringay dog track in London had the first odds display indicator type totalisator, which had a different type of odds display. Rather than the barometer type indication it had clock-face type indicators. To look at a clock-face type indicator click on the image at the top of this page and scroll down to the Miscellaneous Images section and select the image thumbnail with the associated text starting The world's first Odds Computer...

A close up of an adder from the system in the image above Image of an adder from the Flemington system
Image Source: Museum Victoria

Back to the article.

Experts on the job

ASSOCIATED with Sir George Julius as a mechanic at Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, when the totalisator was "just a jumble of mechanical contrivances in a box" - to use his own words - was Mr. James T. Wright. To install the first totalisator at the W.A.C.A. ground Mr Wright arrived in Perth on July 20 1915. Except for business or holiday trips outside the State he has been here ever since and is still the chief mechanic in the totalisator at Gloucester Park.

Another long-service mechanic in the employ of Automatic Totalisators is Mr. W. M. English. Returning to Australia in 1922 after completing the installation at Colombo for the Ceylon Turf Club he disembarked at Fremantle to install the totalisator at Headquarters for the W.A. Turf Club. Mr. English has been here ever since. It was customary for many years for Mr. Wright to assist Mr. English at the races in the afternoon, Mr. English returning the "favour" by assisting Mr. Wright at the trots at night.

Manager's Recollections

ATTORNEY and manager for the company in Western Australia is Mr. C. H. Lutz, who succeeded Mr. Cobain as representative of Automatic Totalisators Ltd., in W.A. as long ago as 1921. Mr. Lutz, who was formerly manager of the old "tin" leger place tote for the W.A.T.A., can recount many humorous incidents in connection with the operations of the totalisator.

One of his favourites concerns his complaint to a policeman at the W.A.C.A. ground concerning a woman who continued to present a win ticket at the place "tote," the horse having run second. After a short wait sure enough the woman reappeared and for the fourth time presented the valueless ticket. When the policeman stepped forth to caution the woman it was found, to the embarrassment of all, that the woman was the policeman's wife.

Mr. Lutz also likes to tell of a punter, who invested £25 on a horse only to find that his tickets bore the wrong number. The "tote" officials were unable to sell the tickets for him and so, complaining volubly about "careless girls," and in desperation, he speculated a further £25 to ensure being on his "good thing." An outsider won the race and the punter then discovered that the tickets given to him in error were on the winner and that he would receive a very large sum in return.

Somehow or other a Sydney newspaper published a story to the effect that to show his gratification the punter had given the woman ticket seller a handsome present and had taken her to a dinner engagement.

The ticket-seller in question hotly refuted the newspaper story and said that in point of fact she "wouldn't be seen dead" with the man concerned. Defamation of character was put down at £200 by the presiding judge.

War Boosted Turnover

THE two totalisators in this State augment the incomes of Over 200 employees and in 1945-46 over £16,000 was paid in wages. When the totalisator at Gloucester Park was installed it was estimated that the maximum amount which could be handled at a meeting would be £30,000. Before the war a maximum turnover of £20,000 had not been reached.

During the war the boom was such that £30,000 turnover was not only attained, but £40,000 was reached and exceeded on four occasions, the maximum put through at one meeting being about £44,000.

In Western Australia 13½ per cent is deducted from the totalisator turnover. Of this amount the Government takes 7½ per cent, by far the largest deduction of any State in Australia. The remaining 6 per cent is taken by the club, out of which the cost of operating the totalisator is borne.

The many big dividends paid by the "tote" makes another story. That some big bettors use the machine is shown by a recent pay-out at Gloucester Park when an investor who had put £30 each way on a winning horse was paid in cash (at his own request) the handy sum of £966.


Fancy Line

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The next page, accessed via the Next page button below, looks at the J1 TIM (Ticket issuing Machine) shown in the image above titled The first Julius Tote Ticket Issuing Machine. Several J1s, which were purely mechanical terminals built for the first Julius tote at Gloucester Park, were attached to a central processing system. The world's first on line computing terminals?

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