The automatic totalisator: A first in Australia

Photograph

West Australian engineer George Julius designed a cheat proof mechanical vote-counting machine in the 1890s, which he sold to New York City in 1892.

Julius couldn’t find a buyer in Australia so he adapted his machine into an automatic totalisator – a machine that records bets and calculates the changing odds and dividends at the racecourse. 
 When the Victoria Park Racecourse opened in 1908, George Julius’s Totalisator Board was suspended on the first floor of the Victoria Park Tote Building.

The indicator board showed the total number of bets on each horse and the total for the whole race. It’s believed to be one of the first in Australia. The restored 3-storey Tote Building remains today.

For years Julius' company Automatic Totalisator Limited (ATL) dominated the design and supply of racecourse betting equipment around the world – its modern name is TAB.

George Julius Avenue in the Epsom Park Precinct is named after Julius’ pioneering work.

Main image: Victoria Park Tote building aka Green Square neighbourhood service centre. City of Sydney.