Historical information

The British Australasian Tobacco Co. (based in Melbourne and Sydney. The parent company was founded in England, circa 1902). This item "HAVELOCK" is one of many ready rubbed tobacco tins produced by the British Australasian Tobacco Company.The ready rubbed tobacco held within the tin was mainly used by those smokers who rolled their own cigarettes. These smokers would have mainly used their palm and formed a cup then placing their choice of the amount of tobacco to be rolled. This would then be placed on the fine cigarette paper and rolled and sealed (using saliva in the mouth) into the required shape. There were mechanical "roll you own" gadgets on the market but most rural users, especially males used their palms. The quantity of tobacco used to make up the cigarette was up to the individual user. The thinner that the cigarette was rolled the longer and more economical did the supply last. The by -products of this method were nicotine stained fingers and hands. "Chain" smokers were easily identified and could therefore be discriminated against obtaining smoke sensitive employment. The two world wars (1914-18 and1939-45) produced a significant rise in the consumption of cigarette use by men and the eventual overflow to women. Cigarette smoking before the 1900s was seen as rough and uncouth (socially frowned upon), however after the introduction of overseas films (U.K. and U.S.A.) and film stars presenting smoking as socially acceptable, the rise of smoking cigarettes, especially roll you own (American western movies) in rural areas was an accepted way of life. Things however started to change in the mid 1900s when medical evidence pointed to the health problems of regular smokers. Governments were now implementing non smoking education material. Restrictions on where and when smoking was permitted and acceptable started to creep into all areas of society whether city or rural. This was the era that highlighted the use of roll your own cigarettes, especially when the costs of "tailor made" cigarettes were taxed at an increasing amount. Roll your own cigarettes also provided an avenue for the consumption of illicit drug use.


The significance of this ready rubbed tobacco tin to this rural region is, stems from how much influence that the Western novels and overseas films (portraying rural lifestyles) played in shaping the rural social and working mores of the Kiewa Valley. The post war depression (financially) resulted in more smokers turning away from expensive machine (tailor) made cigarettes to the roll your own, using ready rubbed tobacco. This tobacco tin relays a long ago era, when personal contact, and not something that has been written down by some "unknown", was valued as the true appraisal of a member of the community. This was especially relevant in a small regional area such as the Kiewa Valley. Although social networking was not as fast then as the internet provides now, appearances, manners, fashion and etiquette with first impressions high on the order of evaluating someone in the community. Pointer such as the brand of tobacco smoked was part of the rural assessment method. Up until the demise of the Australian Tobacco Industry, circa 2004, the Kiewa Valley and surrounding district was part of a vibrant producer of tobacco leaves. The remnants of this industry still remain today but the drying sheds (for tobacco leaves) are now used to store hay for the valley's dairy and beef cattle industries.

Physical description

This tobacco tin is constructed from tin plated thin rolled steel. The lid is attached by two pressed and formed (from the main frame) hinges using the nip and tuck construction method.The lid and outside frame have had a green "weave" pattern anodised to the metal.

Inscriptions & markings

On the outside of the lid and at the top left is stamped, in gold coloured letters "HAVELOCK". The bottom of the lid is stamped (in smaller script) "READY RUBBED TOBACCO" and below this in smaller lettering "2oz NET WEIGHT WHEN PACKED". On the rim of the lid is "THE BRITISH AUSTRALASIAN TOBACCO CO. PTY. LTD." Inside of the lid and stamped in black print on a gold anodised lid is "Every tin of genuine HAVELOCK Ready Rubbed Tobacco has the mane Havelock printed on the paper lining, and also on the band or wrapping sealing the tin. On the hinge side of the lid is "HAVELOCK READY RUBBED"