Professor Anderson, the Wizard of the North, was a well-known magician who travelled the world putting on performances.
When he was in Sydney in 1859, performing at the Prince of Wales Theatre, he offered two prizes for the best conundrums from a lady
and gentleman, to be determined on a fixed night.
The Professor, of course, made it a condition that the winner should be in the theatre.
“Conundrum Night” always proved a great draw. He usually gave one in
each large town he visited.
The gentleman’s prize, a silver claret jug valued at 21 guineas, was awarded to Mr. Henry Malone of Chippendale for the following conundrum: “Why is the last gold I got at Bendigo like the Prince of Wales?”
The answer being “Because it is the produce of Victoria and bids fair to become a sovereign”.
The lady’s prize – a watch and chain valued at 25 guineas – was awarded to Mrs. C.H. Nichols of Petersham. Her conundrum was “Why will the lady who gains the prize be treated by the jury as a dangerous lunatic?”
The answer was: “Because they will put a chain around her neck and leave a good watch upon her”.
It is believed it is still in the Nichols family, kept as an heirloom.
Mrs. Nichols was the wife of Charles Hamilton Nichols, second son of
Isaac Nichols who, in partnership with Rowland John Ferrers Pickering,
was part proprietor of “Bell’s Life” publication.
(Information gathered from Trove Newspapers, NLA.)