The Rochester Cigarette Card Collection

09/12/10 Category: Blog, Museum Collection Posted by:

While cigarettes are now widely reviled in society today, smoking was once considered a sophisticated past-time.

Rochester Cigarette Cards

Before the time of pre-rolled cigarettes tobacco was sold in pouches and the user combined cigarette paper and the loose tobacco to make their own cigarettes. In order to stiffen the cigarette pouches manufacturers initially inserted plain card which they later over-printed with landscape paintings & photographs, birds, animals, flowers, famous actors, ships, flags, countries, football players or historical events.

Tom and Mary Rochester

In addition cigarette cards featuring individual cricket players proved  exceptionally popular in Australia and England and collecting them gained wide favour. The Rochester Cigarette Card Collection numbers 63 Australian and England players from the 1925-26 Ashes tour. Manufactured by the WD & HO Wills cigarette factory in South Sydney they depict several famous players including a youthful Bill Ponsford (Victoria & Australia), Percy Chapman (Kent & England), Bill Woodfull (Victoria & Australia, incorrectly spelt), Jack Hobbs (Surrey & England), Clarrie Grimmett (South Australia & Australia) and Frank Woolley (Kent & England).

They were collected by Thomas Joseph Rochester as a boy while living at Glebe and Bondi Junction. Thomas Rochester later married Mary Eileen French (photo attached) who coincidentally worked at the WD & HO Wills cigarette factory. The pair were life-long cricket followers and supported the Nelson Hotel Cricket Club All the pubs in the Eastern Suburbs would enter a team in the local cricket competition which were played at Centennial Park every Sunday in the 1950s and 60s. Thomas Rochester was a one-time President of the club as well as a long-serving umpire while Mary acted as club scorer for many years.

Donated by Thomas Rochester Jnr.             BM 2010-1184

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