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Notebook - SP Bookie's Record Book

From the Collection of Kew Historical Society Inc Level 1, Kew Court House 188 High Street Kew Victoria

Description
Small notebook, of which the cover is lost, including the names of male and female staff members at the Kew Mental Hospital, the amounts that they gambled and their winnings. It is presumed that the record was kept by Herbert Joseph Chambers, a member of staff between c.1945-70. The names in the book, including some of their aliases are arranged alphabetically. The prices are listed in pre-decimal currency, (i.e. before 1966). From the number of names listed in the book, it must have been a very extensive SP betting ring.
Object Registration
2019.0014
Keywords
herbert joseph chambers, kew mental hospital, gambling - kew (vic)
Historical information
Herbert Joseph Chambers was born in 1912 in Clifton Hill, Victoria. Later he was to live in Clark and Charles Streets in Northcote, in South Caulfield, and finally in Mentone. While he may have worked at the Kew Asylum before 1945, that year was when he was presented with a Certificate issued by the Department of Mental Hygiene (Victoria) declaring that he had completed training and passed the examinations required to work as a 'Mental Attendant’. The document is dated 19th December 1945 and signed by the Director of the Department and by the Co-Examiners. From at least 1945, he was to work as a member of the male staff of the Asylum, mainly in the Refractory Ward. A donor gifted to the Kew Historical Society in February 2019 a number of items collected by Herbert Chambers in his work at the Asylum. These include his Certificate of Registration, a photograph taken of him with two colleagues at Circular Quay in Sydney, a notebook containing ‘SP’ betting records of male asylum staff, and five sketchbooks with artwork created by Kenn’th [sic] Bailey, a patient of the Asylum. Herbert Chambers’ period of employment at the Kew Asylum coincided with the employment of the English psychiatrist Dr Eric Cunningham Dax (1908-2008) as Chairman of the Mental Hygiene Authority in 1952. Dr Dax introduced an art therapy program into Victorian psychiatric hospitals, including Kew, where it is likely that the five sketchbooks were created. The sketchbooks are believed to have been presented to Chambers by Bailey as a “gift for looking after him”. Herbert Chambers retired from the Kew Asylum in c.1970 after working there for almost thirty years.
When Made
pre 1966
Last updated
22 Feb 2019 at 4:46PM