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Rowland Skipsey Waterhouse, Draper & Printer, Hobart, Tasmania (1818-1900)

R.S. Waterhouse Token Penny

Image: R.S. Waterhouse Token Penny

Source: Museum Victoria

Rowland Skipsey Waterhouse was born on 29 January 1818, the son of a Methodist clergyman. In October 1839 the firm of R.S. Waterhouse and brothers was established as General Printers and Bookbinders at Elizabeth Street Hobart Town, at what was formerly Andrew Bent's printing office. (Waterhouse was later interested in two firms, his printing office and Waterhouse and Pratt also printers). His firms prospered well for a time. He was also interested in ironmongery. On January 7 1851 his businesses were sold by auction. He died on 17 October 1900. (McNeice, R., p. 90)

While this description is interesting, it fails to mention the drapery business that issued these tokens; the tokens are thought to have been issued in 1858. Waterhouse also took out a half-page advertisement in Hull's Royal Calendar for 1858, advertising his business address as '115 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town,' and states that the business was established in 1839. The advertisement gives his line of business as 'Wholesale and Retail General Draper, Outfitter, Haberdasher, Hosier and Laceman'. This advertisement, taken in the context of McNeice's information quoted above, suggests that Waterhouse had been in business in Hobart since 1839, bringing together his printing businesses and drapery stores.

Waterhouse advertised in a number of Tasmanian publications during the 1850s and 1860s. As mentioned above, his business featured in Hull's Royal Kalendar in 1858, as well as in a number of Almanacs from the 1860s. He took out a large advertisement in the Hobart Mercury for 8 January, 1858, announcing his range of Men's clothing, including 'Gent's superfine clothing in great variety and very low prices' and 'Gents French soft felt hats of all colours.'

In addition to these records, there are additional possible sources about Waterhouse in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Colonial Index includes a reference to him as an employer of convict labour between 1839 and 1841, and includes his name on Jury lists between 1840 and 1858. The Archives Office of Tasmania also lists two men whose names are close to that of this issuer, but neither of them are sufficiently detailed to be positively identified. He issued penny and halfpenny trade tokens circa 1858.

References:
Archives Office of Tasmania, Index to Pioneer's Database website.
McNeice, R., Coins and Tokens of Tasmania, 1803-1910, p.90.
Hull, H.M. (1858). Royal Kalendar and Guide to Tasmania, advertisements p. 5.

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