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A few stories and The History of George Julius and ATL.
By Don McKenzie My Early Tote Years - 1976-1988 | Industry Links | Acknowledgements | Julius History | A Few Stories |

People Profiles | The Staff transfer from ATL to the TAB 1988 | TABLOID ATL Staff Photos 1989-1990 | Recent Photos | Email Correspondence | Win Place & Sting |


Automatic Totalisators Limited archive, 1917 - 1988

The history of ATL begins with Sir George Julius, inventor of the world's first fully automatic electric totalisator. Julius was born in Norwich, England, in 1873, the son of an Anglican clergyman, Rev. Churchill Julius. While still a child the family moved to Australia where his father was appointed Archdeacon of Ballarat's city church. In the early 1890s the family again moved, this time to New Zealand where George Julius graduated in 1895 with a Bachelor of Science degree from Canterbury College, Christchurch. In 1897 he was appointed as Assistant Engineer for Western Australian Railways, being quickly promoted to Chief Draftsman, and later Engineer-in-charge of tests. The idea of the totalisator developed during this time. In a local election a dispute had arisen regarding the counting of votes which gave Julius the idea of a mechanical electoral recorder that would simplify and authenticate voting and the counting of the poll. After considerable hard work and time he did create a machine capable of handling these tasks accurately, however, he could not interest governments in its merits. He was not disillusioned by this since he knew he had created a mechanical computing device which would have important applications.

Meanwhile, Julius was building a reputation around Australia for his incisive and brilliant mind. Determined to express his ideas he resigned from the railways in 1907, aged 34, to set up his own engineering consultancy.

Julius was not a betting man nor was he interested in horse racing but something turned his attention to designing a safe, accurate and foolproof racecourse wagering system. For five years he carried out research and development to bring his idea to realisation. He produced a machine that 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 betting. This remarkable machine he called the "Premier" Totalisator. The Ellerslie Racecourse management in New Zealand were the first willing to have the machined installed at its racecourse. In 1913 the Julius Automatic Totalisator came into operation. Three years later Julius installed his second tote at Gloucester Park in Western Australia. A year later Automatic Totalisators Limited, a public company, was incorporated and built the world's first electro-mechanical totalisator.

Automatic Totalisators Limited (ATL) was incorporated as a limited company on 21 April 1917 to manufacture, install and operate totalisator systems throughout the world. George Julius was a director and major shareholder of the company and acted as consulting Engineer to ATL. Its office was at 60 Margaret Street Sydney and the factory was based at Newtown. In 1933 ATL centralised its operations and moved to newer premises at 182 Chalmers Street Sydney and then to Meadowbank in the early 1950s.

By 1929 ATL's overseas operations had grown to include installations at; the Rangoon Turf Club, Burma; Singapore Turf Club; Western India Turf Club Ltd; Ceylon Turf Club; Perak Turf Club at Ipoh and Selangor Turf Club, Kuala Lumpur, both in Malaya; Longchamp Racecourse, Paris. The Longchamp installation being important enough to ATL's future European expansion that it formed a subsidiary company, Automatic Totalisators (France) Ltd to handle the company's business in France. In 1931 ATL received its first order from the USA for the Miami Jockey Club's racecourse in Florida. Additional installations were made for a Win and Place Installation at Wellington, New Zealand in 1936.

In Australia installations were made around the country including the Western Australian Trotting Association in 1916, Canterbury, Newcastle, and Rosehill Racing Clubs in 1918, and South Australia Jockey Club 1921. In 1930 the totalisator was legalised in Victoria and ATL secured orders at four of the major racecourses, Victoria Racing Club's racecourse at Flemington, the Victorian Amateur Turf Club's racecourse at Caufield, the Moonee Valley racecourse, and the Williamstown racecourse. In 1933 it added the Ascot Racecourse for the Victorian Trotting and Racing Association and in 1936 the Epsom Turf Club's and Mentone Turf Club's racecourses in Melbourne to its list.

By the outbreak of the Second World War ATL had further installations at Brisbane Amateur Turf Club, Albion Park; Mornington Racing Club, Victoria; Pakenham Racing Club, Victoria; Canterbury Park Turf Club, Sydney; Moorefield Race Club, Sydney, and Rosehill Racing Club, Sydney, just to name some.

The entry of Japan into the war led to ATL being required by the Australian Government to manufacture munitions for the war effort. The manufacture of totalisators had been placed on the prohibited list by the Government. As a result of the pressures of defence work George A Julius resigned as a director of ATL and Mr A.F.Julius was appointed to fill the vacancy.

During the post war period demand for totalisator equipment soared. Between 1948 and 1955 ATL carried out installations at 99 racetracks around the world including Thailand, Scotland, Philippines, South Africa, Pakistan, Iraq, Argentina, Chile, and Venezuala.

The first totalisator designed by Julius was operated by weights through chains and steel cables. In 1920 solenoids and electrical wiring were introduced. Win and place pools began in 1923, and the automatic calculation of odds in 1927. No major changes occurred until 1955 when the first use of punched tape equipment in the selling of doubles became possible. In 1966 it developed the world's
first Computer Tote system taking the racing world into a new era of electronic betting. The New York Racing Association which controlled the Aqueduct and Saratoga racecourses were the first to install ATL's unique computer tote installation.

By 1974 ATL had installed 50 computer tote systems around the world and served metropolitan racetracks with the Mobile Computer Tote, a totalisator operated from a large trailer and transported by truck to different locations.

ATL's operations were expanded to include the manufacture of automatic turnstiles, hospital internal communication systems, control and alarm equipment, motor vehicle registration plates, commercial signs, and precision tooling. Many of ATL's operations were conducted through its subsidiary companies. These included, Club & Casino Systems Pty Ltd, New Zealand Totalisators Ltd, Automatic Totalisators (USA) Ltd, Automatic Totalisators (France) Ltd, Automatic Totalisators of Canada Ltd, Page Manufacturing Co. Pty Ltd, Premier Equipment Pty Ltd, and Gladstone Electric Company Pty Ltd.

In 1980 ATL's operations were acquired by the Smorgan group of companies and in 198? AWA, which had previously taken over Universal Totalisators Australia, purchased the operations of ATL from Smorgans. Administrative history The history of ATL begins with Sir George Julius, inventor of the world's first fully automatic electric totalisator. Julius was born in Norwich, England, in 1873, the son of an Anglican clergyman, Rev. Churchill Julius. While still a child the family moved to Australia where his father was appointed Archdeacon of Ballarat's city church. In the early 1890s the family again moved, this time to New Zealand where George Julius graduated in 1895 with a Bachelor of Science degree from Canterbury College, Christchurch. In 1897 he was appointed as Assistant Engineer for Western Australian Railways, being quickly promoted to Chief Draftsman, and later Engineer-in-charge of tests. The idea of the totalisator developed during this time. In a local election a dispute had arisen regarding the counting of votes which gave Julius the idea of a mechanical electoral recorder that would simplify and authenticate voting and the counting of the poll. After considerable hard work and time he did create a machine capable of handling these tasks accurately, however, he could not interest governments in its merits. He was not disillusioned by this since he knew he had created a mechanical computing device which would have important applications.

Meanwhile, Julius was building a reputation around Australia for his incisive and brilliant mind. Determined to express his ideas he resigned from the railways in 1907, aged 34, to set up his own engineering consultancy.

Julius was not a betting man nor was he interested in horse racing but something turned his attention to designing a safe, accurate and foolproof racecourse wagering system. For five years he carried out research and development to bring his idea to realisation. He produced a machine that 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 betting. This remarkable machine he called the "Premier" Totalisator. The Ellerslie Racecourse management in New Zealand were the first willing to have the machined installed at its racecourse. In 1913 the Julius Automatic Totalisator came into operation. Three years later Julius installed his second tote at Gloucester Park in Western Australia. A year later Automatic Totalisators Limited, a public company, was incorporated and built the world's first electro-mechanical totalisator.

Automatic Totalisators Limited (ATL) was incorporated as a limited company on 21 April 1917 to manufacture, install and operate totalisator systems throughout the world. George Julius was a director and major shareholder of the company and acted as consulting Engineer to ATL. Its office was at 60 Margaret Street Sydney and the factory was based at Newtown. In 1933 ATL centralised its operations and moved to newer premises at 182 Chalmers Street Sydney and then to Meadowbank in the early 1950s.

By 1929 ATL's overseas operations had grown to include installations at; the Rangoon Turf Club, Burma; Singapore Turf Club; Western India Turf Club Ltd; Ceylon Turf Club; Perak Turf Club at Ipoh and Selangor Turf Club, Kuala Lumpur, both in Malaya; Longchamp Racecourse, Paris. The Longchamp installation being important enough to ATL's future European expansion that it formed a subsidiary company, Automatic Totalisators (France) Ltd to handle the company's business in France. In 1931 ATL received its first order from the USA for the Miami Jockey Club's racecourse in Florida. Additional installations were made for a Win and Place Installation at Wellington, New Zealand in 1936.

In Australia installations were made around the country including the Western Australian Trotting Association in 1916, Canterbury, Newcastle, and Rosehill Racing Clubs in 1918, and South Australia Jockey Club 1921. In 1930 the totalisator was legalised in Victoria and ATL secured orders at four of the major racecourses, Victoria Racing Club's racecourse at Flemington, the Victorian Amateur Turf Club's racecourse at Caufield, the Moonee Valley racecourse, and the Williamstown racecourse. In 1933 it added the Ascot Racecourse for the Victorian Trotting and Racing Association and in 1936 the Epsom Turf Club's and Mentone Turf Club's racecourses in Melbourne to its list.

By the outbreak of the Second World War ATL had further installations at Brisbane Amateur Turf Club, Albion Park; Mornington Racing Club, Victoria; Pakenham Racing Club, Victoria; Canterbury Park Turf Club, Sydney; Moorefield Race Club, Sydney, and Rosehill Racing Club, Sydney, just to name some.

The entry of Japan into the war led to ATL being required by the Australian Government to manufacture munitions for the war effort. The manufacture of totalisators had been placed on the prohibited list by the Government. As a result of the pressures of defence work George A Julius resigned as a director of ATL and Mr A.F.Julius was appointed to fill the vacancy.

During the post war period demand for totalisator equipment soared. Between 1948 and 1955 ATL carried out installations at 99 racetracks around the world including Thailand, Scotland, Philippines, South Africa, Pakistan, Iraq, Argentina, Chile, and Venezuala.

The first totalisator designed by Julius was operated by weights through chains and steel cables. In 1920 solenoids and electrical wiring were introduced. Win and place pools began in 1923, and the automatic calculation of odds in 1927. No major changes occurred until 1955 when the first use of punched tape equipment in the selling of doubles became possible. In 1966 it developed the world's
first Computer Tote system taking the racing world into a new era of electronic betting. The New York Racing Association which controlled the Aqueduct and Saratoga racecourses were the first to install ATL's unique computer tote installation.

By 1974 ATL had installed 50 computer tote systems around the world and served metropolitan racetracks with the Mobile Computer Tote, a totalisator operated from a large trailer and transported by truck to different locations.

ATL's operations were expanded to include the manufacture of automatic turnstiles, hospital internal communication systems, control and alarm equipment, motor vehicle registration plates, commercial signs, and precision tooling. Many of ATL's operations were conducted through its subsidiary companies. These included, Club & Casino Systems Pty Ltd, New Zealand
Totalisators Ltd, Automatic Totalisators (USA) Ltd, Automatic Totalisators (France) Ltd, Automatic Totalisators of Canada Ltd, Page Manufacturing Co. Pty Ltd, Premier Equipment Pty Ltd, and Gladstone Electric Company Pty Ltd.

In 1980 ATL's operations were acquired by the Smorgan group of companies and in 198? AWA, which had previously taken over Universal Totalisators Australia, purchased the operations of ATL from Smorgans.

This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description: Archive, totalisator, Automatic Totalisators Limited, Australia, 1917-1988

Records of the Automatic Totalisators Limited which was established in 1917 including statutory records, 1919-1974, printed material, 1930-1970s, product information and installation instructions, 1950s-1960s, product brochures and information booklets, 1917-1971, correspondence and reports, 1951-1986, newspaper clippings, 1930-1971, tote tickets and punch tape, 1921-1974,
photographs of ATL installations, equipment, staff and premises, 1920s-1980s, assembly and wiring diagrams, 1948-1954, promotional film, 1978 and lithographs of Flemington racecourse, 1970.

Archive creator: Automatic Totalisators Limited; Australia; 1917 - 1988 The Registration Number of an object is a unique identifying number applied by the museum at the point of acquisition. Current numbering format comprises the year of acquisition, followed by a sequential number. For example, '2007/45' is the Registration Number that represents the 45th acquisition in the year 2007.
Registration number 94/222/23 Production date 1917 - 1988

This text content licensed under CC BY-SA. This object belongs to: Automatic Totalisators Ltd Archive Collection

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