Primary Sources 50 stories from 50 years of the Archives

Change for gentlemen travellers

On a cold wintry night in 1880 when four commercial travellers met by chance in a hotel in Coleraine in Victoria's Grampians, the acknowledgement that there was a need for gentlemen of such occupation to meet led ultimately to the formation of the Commercial Travellers' Association (CTA). Club rooms were soon established in Collins Street, Melbourne in order to improve the conditions of employment and residence for commercial travellers. Exerting a considerable influence within non-metropolitan economies, commercial travellers represented one of the most mobile elements of the colonial workforce.

The CTA collection documents the rise and fall of the association over 100 years and includes the iconic original artwork of the flagship publication Australia Today by artists such as Norman Lindsay, Napier Waller, Lionel Lindsay and C. Dudley Wood. The collection includes a rare sovereign changer. Once prolific in bars, hotels and like establishments the Safechek gold changer provided a canister of change in exchange for a sovereign or a half sovereign when it was inserted in the appropriate slot.

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