A SYMBOLIC gesture was made on New Year’s Day 2021 to mark the 120th anniversary of Federation, which took place on 1 January 1901, with Tasmanian historian and author Reg Watson laying some eucalyptus on the tombstone of influential figure George Adams.

“Adams with his Tatt’s Ticket saved Tasmania from bankruptcy,” Mr Watson said.

“My visit to his tombstone was in memory of his enterprise and the benefit to the state of Tasmania.”

Mr Watson said Federation was not advantageous for Tasmania.

“Tasmania gained revenue from tariffs between the colonies, but with Federation it meant free trade,” he said.

“Thus, Tasmania, the smallest of the colonies, faced severe financial difficulties.”

The Premier of the 1890s, Edward Braddon, immediately saw the problem, and as a result, he invited George Adams to Tasmania – an event which solved the state’s acute financial stresses caused by Federation.

Mr Adams had been kicked out of all the eastern states because of the strong anti-gambling lobby – his lottery tickets were unwelcomed.

Mr Braddon seized the opportunity in 1897 by inviting Mr Adams to set up his operation in Hobart.

He also invited him to dispose the assets of the Van Diemen’s Land Bank, which went into liquidation a couple of years before.

Mr Adams successfully operated his lotteries, Tickets in Tatts, throughout Australia from Tasmania.

Mr Watson said the revenue the State Government gained from his enterprise was enormous and the immediate impact was a mini building boom.

“Critics called it ‘Braddon’s Blot’, but Braddon’s action was a superb bit of initiative,” he said.

Mr Adams died in 1904 and was buried in a rather forgotten site at Cornelian Bay.

Tasmania lost the business to Victoria in 1954.

“Perhaps this will in some way remind Tasmanians the debt we owe not only to Adams, but to enterprising Premier Braddon,” Mr Watson said.

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