Three Generations of Auctioneers – 1 – James Love

Compiled from family history material supplied by Judy Noble (nee Love)

In October 1889, James Love, then a clerk with the Queensland National Bank, was spending the weekend with his friend James Thomas Isles (of Finney Isles and Co). Both were dissatisfied with their prospects so James suggested that they both resign and go into partnership as Auctioneers. This they did and with each aged 23, they formed the firm of Isles Love and Co. The business prospered and was soon joined by James Isles’ brother, F.A.J. Isles. 

James Love was known to his family and close friends as Skipper, but in wider business and sporting circles as ‘Jic’. Described as a prince of good fellows, ‘The Skipper’ became a leader in his profession and in commercial circles in Brisbane. He was President of the Lawn Tennis Association in 1905; a founding member of the Brisbane Club in 1903, becoming President in 1921; Commodore of the Royal Queensland Yacht Club in 1923; President of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland and Australian in 1925 and a member of the Board of Advice of the Queensland National Bank, retiring as Chairman in 1941.

In 1899 following an interstate tennis match at rather unsatisfactory temporary tennis courts at the Brisbane Cricket Grounds, James Love, in the course of his auctioneering business, came in touch with the Dunmore estate at Auchenflower, part of which he became convinced would make an admirable tennis site. It was mainly through his efforts and those of Mr R.J.Cottell Jnr that this site was purchased and established as a centre for the Lawn Tennis Association by 1905.

James Love became the proud owner of the auxiliary ketch “Sweetheart” which was built for him by J.H.Whereat at Bulimba in 1911. 

“The Queenslander” of September 2, 1911 describes “Sweetheart” as follows: “Sweetheart” is 52 foot over all, by 10 foot 8 ½ inch beam, 4 foot 8 inch deep, and has a registered tonnage of 17.92 tons.

“She is built of full inch mountain pine planking, with yellow-wood ribs, and ironbark keel. The deckhouse is all of polished silky oak, with arctic glass windows, to each alternate one of which is fitted a moveable mosquito frame of brass gauze….

“Upon entering the saloon, which is 16 foot long, one is struck first by the beauty of the Queensland silky oak with which it is fitted throughout, and secondly by the excellent arrangements for comfort and convenience. There are four bunks, each with wire mattresses, velvet cushions, and cabinet chest of drawers beneath. There are two sideboards, an ice chest, a cabinet table with three drawers, and an airtight breadbox. The floors are covered with dark green inlaid linoleum, and the stairs are in maple, with corrugated brass treads. There is a handsome silky oak toilet cabinet against the bulkhead, similar to those in the large overseas steamers, fitted with washbasin, mirror, medicine cabinet, and cupboards. The doors are all of silky oak with satinwood panels, and on the sideboards are glass and bottle racks, and the usual fittings surrounded by a pediment of silky oak pillars….

“The engine is 45 horse-power, by Brooke, of Lowestorft, England, and is almost noiseless in action. … The lighting of the ship generally is by acetylene gas from a copper generator in the cockpit, but the engine-room is, for safety’s sake, fitted with shell electric lights, which are operated by electric batteries and accumulators….”

With his family and friends, he was to spend many happy times ‘down the Bay’. Photographic history of early days aboard “Sweetheart” show Myora anchorage and the many fine catches of fish taken from the Rainbow Channel. It was said that if you couldn’t fish you had better be able to play Bridge as ‘The Skipper’ was adept at both.

With the advent of radio telephony, “Sweetheart” became the first privately owned yacht in Australia to be equipped for transmission of voice. James’ son, Nim, operated Radio Station VK4JL from 1928 until 1939 when “Sweetheart” was requisitioned for the War effort.

James Love aboard Sweetheart off Stradbroke. (Photo courtesy Antony Love)

(Extract from ‘Moreton Bay Letters’ Peter Ludlow 2003)

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