On 5 Jan 1881 Jem auctioned his horses and household effects from Apsley Villa.
On 14 Apr 1881 he auctioned the Victoria Racing Club lease together with its furniture fixtures and fittings. Two advertisements follow. They give a good idea of Jem and Nellie’s lifestyle and make impressive reading.
On 29 Apr 1881 Jem announces he has “re-purchased the Victoria Racing Club”. It seems more likely that the hotel failed to reach its reserve at auction and Jem remained the owner and so decided to continue to run it temporarily. A cutting is adjacent.
In 1881 Jem fought an exhibition bout with Jack King (Australian lightweight champion) in Melbourne.
1 Nov 1881 Jem was clearly looking for ways to increase trade at the Victoria Racing Club.
On 4 Nov 1881 Jem appeared at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, and was presented with a red velvet belt with Royal and Australian coats of arms and gilt vine leaf decor in a presentation case by “his Australian friends and admirers”. The belt has been auctioned twice recently. An advertisement of the presentation and a picture of the belt follow.
On 15 Jan 1882 the Police raided the Victoria Racing Club. This has interesting echoes of previous accusations of gambling made by the New York Times in 1871. Two cuttings follow.
Jem has the Victoria Racing Club refurbished and invites tenders by 24 Jan 1882 for the remaining 5 years of the lease. A cutting follows.
On 28 Jan 1882 Jem gives his last performance in Melbourne. Note - Melbourne, not Australia, the implication being that he was going to Sydney. A cutting follows.
At the end of February Jem and his family board the ss Rotorua bound for Aukland, New Zealand. He left behind numerous unpaid bills and caused problems for the new lessee of the Victoria Racing Club (Mrs Bridget Catherine Riley). His creditors applied for, and were granted, a sequestration of Jem’s estate. Effectively this meant that the money from the sale of the lease would be divided among Jem’s creditors, rather than going to him. A cutting from 8 Feb 1882 and one from 3 Mar 1882 follow.
The actions of his creditors show that he left Australia without stopping to pick up the sale price of the Victoria Racing Club lease. This was a deliberate “moonlight flit”, and proves that he owed more than his realisable assets.
This is a picture of Jem taken in Sydney.
In 1881 for the first time internationally recognised standard boxing weights are introduced. Lightweight (< 9st 7lbs), Middleweight (<11st 11lbs) and Heavyweight (no limit)
Jem had lived like a king while he was in Australia but he left broke. In his financial dealings he demonstrated the “Gypsy” attitude of avoiding fixed assets and always being ready to move on. Rather than buy freeholds, he purchased short term leases. This has the advantage of getting a much more impressive property for the money but it has the disadvantage that the value evaporates in time. He bought expensive new furniture and sold it after a short period at auction without reserve, a sure-fire way of making a loss. Even his top steeplechaser was a gelding so when its racing days were over it was worth nothing at stud.