Submitted by jays on 28 January 2014 - 3:03pm

This little notebook, missing most of its pages, was discovered in the early 1990s hidden in the roof space of number 58 Gloucester Street, The Rocks, Sydney, one of the houses in a terrace called Susannah Place. It’s an SP (starting price) bookmaker’s record of bets placed on a series of horseraces in Sydney in 1916, including the Flying Handicap and the Canterbury Handicap run at Canterbury Park Race Course on Saturday 12th August.  The notebook lists ‘double’ bets on horses with names like Lady Antonio, Flightiness, Lord Malt, Collar Box and Lady Minnie. Flightiness won the second race. Although the identity of the notebook’s owner is a mystery, the illegal practice of SP bookmakers was familiar to generations of residents at Susannah Place. From the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties the basement at 64 Gloucester Street was transformed on Saturday afternoons into the office of an SP bookie named Cec. Tenants Ron and Beryl Smith inherited Cec from the previous tenants and were paid 5 pounds ‘rent’ each Saturday.  Local punters would enter via the back gate and come to the basement window that had been modified with the addition of a shelf to hold the bets.

Photograph: Jamie North, 2013
SP bookie’s book discovered in the early 1990s hidden in the ceiling cavity of 58 Gloucester Street. SP bookie’s book discovered in the early 1990s hidden in the ceiling cavity of 58 Gloucester Street. SP bookie’s book discovered in the early 1990s hidden in the ceiling cavity of 58 Gloucester Street.
Portrait
Susannah Place
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ARC SP92/15