State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

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mcgooley
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State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

With the moderators' permission, I'd like to use this site to try to catalogue as many as possible of the towns and their post offices, with the butterflies, barred ovals, and barred numerals, within Victoria, from the first postal services in 1837, through to Federation in 1901.

I know we have the compendium, which I think is an excellent site (I should, I contributed to it!!), and traralgon3844 has a site for pix of post offices which is great fun; but I feel there should be a site dedicated to Victoria, which can give some background history, pictures of the post offices where possible, images of the various postmarks, and try to tie each town to a single post. Sort of make it like a reference book which is available to anyone who's interested.

I have a number of reference books from the likes of Bill Purves, Hugh Freeman & Geoff White, the WWW's, as well as histories on towns and localities, mail contracts during the period, and, even though it may not seem relevant, things like shipping lists for the period.

And there must be other people out there with the information, photos, and images to make this a really useful site. And is it possible for people to contribute to a post that refers to one town, to keep the continuity?

What do you think??
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Re: Victorian Postal History

Post by mrboggler »

one word EXCELLENT
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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mickeyfinn »

Great idea but I think that you will soon find that the standard bulletin board format is not really suitable for such a project.

I think that Stampboards with it's many members could be a useful source of contributors, but I think that you need a
dedicated website to compile the information in a format that will facilitate a speedy interpretation.

Perhaps you could discuss this project with Les Molnar. Here's a link to his outstanding website dedicated to Victorian Philately.

http://stampsofvictoria.com/index.php
For information about Tasmanian stamps, postal history, postmarks, revenues, postcards, etc. visit the Tasmanian Philatelic Society Website at http://tps.org.au

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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mcgooley »

MELBOURNE:

On June 1st 1836, by tacit consent at the meeting of the Port Philip Association, John Batman became Melbourne's first (unofficial) postmaster, 'cause he had the only store. According to James Bonwick, in his book Port Phillip Settlement; George Stewart, a magistrate from Goulburn, found "the whole amount of the European population consists of 142 males and 35 females".

Coincidentally, Stewart arrived less than a week after that first meeting. It may be of some interest to note that he also records the livestock and cultivation at the time: 26,500 sheep, 57 horses, 100 horned cattle, and 60 acres under cultivation, growing wheat of "excellent quality". There had also been 11 vessels, sharing 48 trips between them, employed in trade with Van Diemen's Land.

Even after Governor Bourke sent Capt. Lonsdale as commandant, Batman continued as postmaster. It wasn't until after Bourke himself had sailed down to inspect the settlement the following year, that Melbourne got its first Official Postmaster; Captain Benjamin Baxter.
The Melbourne Post Office opened on April 13th 1837, nearly six weeks before the first town allotments were put up for auction, on 1st June 1837.

Below is Australia Post's own image of Melbourne's first Post Office.
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Now that it was official, Melbourne also had its own handstamp.
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This first postmarker was undated, and in use from 1837 to 1842.

The second stamp;
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was introduced sometime in the year 1838, with a 'fixed' year, and removable slugs.

Even before the ink was dry on the agreement to separate from N.S.W., the colony of Victoria had issued a contract to Thomas Ham, Melbourne's first, and for a long time only, engraver; who, as well as designing and printing the half-lengths, Victoria's first stamps, also agreed to supply 50 obliterators. Ham was paid 12 shillings and sixpence each for the brass 'Butterflies'.

Victoria sold its first stamps over the counter on 3rd January 1850, two days after Sydney. The butterflies went to work at the same time.
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Melbourne used 2 butterflies, numbers 1, and 38. The 38 appears to have been used as an emergency obliterator for uncancelled mail arriving at the G.P.O.

The butterflies were deemed too small, and tenders were called for replacements after less than 18 months. George Muller (or Mueller) from Fitzroy won this contract, and delivered 50 barred ovals to the G.P.O. during August of 1851. (I'll bet at that time he had no idea what was coming! Gold-fever was just rearing its ugly head.)

Melbourne, of course, had number 1.
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In another thread, I have made mention of the population of the colony of Victoria; after Black Thursday in February 1850 a muster was taken, and there were nearly 77,000 settlers.

At the end of 1851, less than 4 months after the Mt. Alexander diggings had started, the white population in Victoria was around 83,350, but Melbourne's 1850 population of 23,000 had been cut by nearly a third, and as one author pointed out, whole streets of the town hadn't a father or a husband between them, and LaTrobe had admitted defeat in his attempts to ensure Melbourne was built of Brick and Mortar; hastily erected timber dwellings competed with the "tent towns" like 'Little Adelaide'.

In the first two weeks of December 1851, 6 ships (Hero, Himalaya, Brilliant, Sarah Ann, Statesman, and Kate) sailed back to England with 8 tons of gold between them, arriving in the first 3 weeks of April 1852. Not bad for a colony which less than 12 months before had proudly sent off a bag of home-grown wheat as her contribution to the 'Great Exhibition' at the Crystal Palace in London.

It is little wonder then, that within 6 years Victoria's population grew by an average of 70,000 per year, so that by the end of 1857, the white (non-indigenous) population was 504,178, with at least 238,000 of them on the goldfields.

The barred ovals had to be replaced with barred numerals, and George Muller delivered, again.

And, again, Melbourne had number 1.
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And of course there was the 'killer'
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One last look at Melbourne. There is one abnormal type of cancellation occasionally seen. It belongs to the Market St. Post Office and Telegraph Office, which was opened in July 1872, and stood on the corner of Market and Flinders Streets.

This was the Customs House at the time, and "Postal business may have been restricted to persons arriving, or leaving, by ship."

Image
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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by waroff49 »

All I can say is," FANTASTIC"
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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mcgooley »

GEELONG:

The second of the two treaties Batman ratified with the eight marks by the (predominantly) JagaJaga people on the 6th June 1835 was titled "Grant of the Territory called GEELONG", and included;

"All that Tract of Country, situate and being in the Bay of Port Phillip, known by the name of Indented Head, but called by us Geelong, extending across from Geelong Harbour about due South, for ten miles, more or less, to the head of Port Phillip, taking in the whole Neck or Tract of Land, and containing about One Hundred Thousand Acres,......", etc.

(A nod to our Global Administrator - the tribute was "Fifty pair of Blankets, Fifty Knives, Fifty Tomahawks, Fifty pair Scissors, Fifty Looking Glasses, Twenty Suits of Slops or Clothing, and Two tons Flour." Sorry Glen, no beads :lol: )

Batman left James Gumm in charge of the party of eight - three white men and five Sydney natives - to establish a farm at present-day Indented Heads on 14th June, while he, Batman, returned to Launceston to start the final legal proceedings. (I've always wondered what would the outcome have been if the Association had been a legal entity!)

In August, John Wedge, one-time assistant Surveyor-General of VanDiemens' Land, visited the site, not quite three weeks after William Buckley had made his presence known to Gumm, and left us this image:

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Wedge spent some time with Buckley, but like everyone else, found him a reluctant conversationalist. (John Fawkner always maintained he was the original Victorian settler, despite the fact he was only 10 when he arrived in Sullivan's Bay in 1803 as a member of Collin's abortive settlement, and left for Hobart in the December of the same year. Of course, Buckley was an escaped convict, whereas he, Fawkner, was only the son of a convict.)

The Geelong settlement was situated closer to Point Henry than its present day site, for the simple reason the sandbar across Corio Bay allowed only vessels with the shallowest draft over.
Before the end of 1835 settlers were unloading their sheep at Point Henry, and starting to take possession of the area. Within the next two years, more arrived, and fanned out, settling well beyond the original boundaries.

By the time John Fawkner produced his first issue of the "Melbourne Advertiser", on 1st January 1838 (all handwritten, by the way!!!), Geelong had a population of over 500.

The first woolstore had been built at Point Henry, Geelong's first church was holding services, the pub was doing a roaring trade (really?), and the general store was the unofficial repository for all incoming and outgoing mails, newspapers, and the like.

There was an overland carrier service between Melbourne and Geelong, but because most of the settlers called Tasmania home, you can guess where most of the mail was directed. It took about 36 hours sailing between Geelong and George Town, compared to over 4 days to get to Sydney, and the overland route wasn't as good as what it is now.

1838 saw the arrival of Captain Foster Fyans, that irascible Irishman, to take the post of Police Magistrate and Commissioner for Crown Lands. He brought with him his Clerk, three Constables, and a party of some six convicts.

Even Fyan's arrival in Geelong did not legitimize the settlement enough for an official mail service, and things bumped along unsatisfactorily for another 2 years. Finally in June 1840, Geelong was recognized with P. McKeever as the first official Postmaster, but it took another six months before the post office received its own handstamp;

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which was in use from 1st January 1841, when Geelong became a sub-branch of Melbourne, until 20th December of the same year.

John Fawkner established the Geelong Advertiser with James Harrison (he of shipboard refrigeration fame) as editor, and the subscription paper went on sale on Saturday 21st November 1840. The paper consisted of four pages (mostly ads) but on the first page of the second edition, in a very prominent position, is a list of some 40 people (all men) whose unclaimed letters lay waiting for them at the Geelong Post Office.

A quick run through the names shows property owners living in areas as far afield as Creswick, Ballarat, and Colac. There were also comments on the continuing drought, and the bushfire on Station Peak which "must be very extensive".

In the 4th edition, a notice from C.J. LaTrobe re-advertises the contract for the conveyance of mail between Geelong and Melbourne, there having been no takers in the original September offer. Mind you, the original call for tenders was issued in Sydney, at the same time tenders were invited for the Sydney-Melbourne run.

The first 3 months of 1841 had more than its fair share of hiccups with mail delivery, and the main reason lay with the fact there was no coordination between the two contractors, so that any mail from Geelong to Melbourne had to wait a full week before going anywhere else. It was a "great relief" when things did get sorted out.

It was about this time Melbourne got its first 'Postie';

"He was given a handbell, and a leather bag to carry the letters in. He also had a red cloth coat with brass buttons, and wore a black beaver, or silk top hat."
(One presumes he also wore trousers.)

From December 1841, Geelong used its second handstamp;

Image

and this one continued in use through to September 1847.

Geelong became a Post Office in it's own right on the 1st May 1842, by which time the port of Geelong had grown, from some 30 shipping visits in 1838, to over 250 in 1842, many of them regular trips to and from Melbourne. By the time of Thomas Ham's visit in 1845, researching his map 'Australia Felix' (and looking for a good farm of his own) the number had doubled.

When the G.P.O. issued the butterfly cancellers between the 1st and the 21st January 1850, the numbers were handed out on a 'first-come-first-served' basis, as each operating Post Office submitted its returns for the previous quarter. Geelong was issued number 15, which along with the Melbourne numbers is unrated. (Not surprising, since it was in use off and on through to WW2!)

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When the barred ovals were issued, Geelong was issued with number 2, and the same number was issued in the barred numerals;

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The original Telegraph Office in Geelong still stands, right beside the imposing ediface which was built in the 1880's. Neither serve their original purpose now.

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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by traralgon3844 »

I see you posted the NEW Geelong Post Office.

This was taken in 1866.

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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by ozstamps »

Why would ANYONE need 6 chimneys in Victoria? :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by waroff49 »

Cos ya can't have a fire without a chimny and it does get cold in Geelong. Also chimneys were a sign of affluence, and at the time Geelong was rich... not as rich as Bendigo or Ballaarat though. Six chimbleys meant six fires and that was a whole heap of wood needed each day during the winter.
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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mcgooley »

PORTLAND:

While the Port Phillip Association and the lieges were having their stoush, Portland Bay was quietly going about its business.

The area had long been known and used by sealers and whalers, and as early as 1829, one James Dutton had built a cabin and planted his garden. The shipping lists show regular visits from Sydney, Launceston and Kangaroo Island from the early 1820's.

The main trade in the early days was in skins; fur seal, kangaroo, and wallaby being the most popular, but after 1830 seal oil, and then whale oil and whalebone show up on the cargo lists.
(The hoi-polloi had to have their whalebone stays and buttons for their pantaloons, after all!)

In July of 1833, the barque Canarvon called into Portland Bay, on her way from Swan River, W.A., and dropped off Edward Henty, picking up 50 casks of whale oil and 50 tons of whalebone to take to Launceston. He stayed there about a month before catching a ride to Launceston on the Thistle in August.

James Bonwick devotes a whole chapter to the Henty family; suffice that Dad (Thomas) and his seven sons (I can' find mention of Mrs. Henty anywhere) emigrated from Sussex to the Swan River settlement in W.A. When the settlement went belly-up in late 1833, the Hentys removed to Launceston, but, finding no free land grants there, moved on.

On 19th November 1834, Edward Henty arrived in Portland Bay with;
"13 heifers, 4 bullocks, 5 sows, 2 turkeys, 2 guinea-fowl, 6 dogs, 1 whaleboat, seeds, plants and implements."

19th December that year saw brother John turn up with 5 steers, 1 cow, 1 bull, 3 heifers, 4 merino rams, 6 merino ewes and wethers, 90 crossbred ewes, agricultural implements, and 4 rabbits :!:
The Hentys had arrived. (So had the rabbits.)

Less than 12 months later, when Wedge came for a visit, the permanent settlement was very evident, and when, not long after, Major Mitchell nearly got shot for being thought a bushranger (even then??) the Hentys were able to provide him with supplies before he moved on.

Throughout 1835, according to the shipping lists of the time, a roaring trade was going on, and more people were arriving, including some from W.A. (It is interesting to note that there was a lot of movement between Portland and Port Fairy, the other whale/sealing station around the corner.)

By the time events had sorted themselves out over in Port Phillip, Portland had at least two whaling stations, and a population of nearly 50 permanent residents. 1836-37 saw nearly all the trade going to Tasmania, but as 1838 wore on, South Australia, India, New Zealand, and Port Phillip show up in the lists.

Superintendent LaTrobe visited in June 1841, mostly following what is now the Glenelg Highway. Portland was officially recognized with its own Post Office, opening on 4th December 1841.

In the original 1850 postal allocation, Portland was issued with butterfly 32;

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Then, in late 1851, the Post Office received barred oval 18;

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By 1856 Portland was doing so well the postmaster was receiving a salary of 50 pounds per year, and consequently the Post Office was of enough importance to be included in the first 11 of the barred numerals, coming in at number 8;

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And therefore worthy of a nice Post Office

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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mcgooley »

About now, on the postal history time-line, I think it is fair to introduce the gentleman who had such an impact on the Victorian philatelic scene.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you:

THOMAS HAM

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This image is taken from his visiting-card from either 1852 or '53 (I don't know the exact date), but he was about 30 years old at the time.

Thomas was born in Devon, England, on 17th February 1821, the eldest son of Reverend John Ham and his wife Ann. He had trained in England as an engraver, and would have been acquainted with the first stamps there, before coming to Australia with his family.

The Dublin was one of three vessels to reach Melbourne on the 13th December 1842, and the Ham Family, along with the other 45 passengers, got off to stretch their legs before continuing on to Sydney, where Ham snr. was intending to go. The Melbourne Baptist community got wind of his arrival, and persuaded him to stay.

Thomas set up shop in Collins St., East Melbourne. His first commission was to engrave the corporation seal for the Town of Melbourne in 1843 (he didn't waste any time!), and he cornered the market for engravings and lithography for the colony's government, as well as designing and engraving currency notes for various banks.

He found the time to go walk-about every so often, and in 1845 took up land on the Plenty River, along with one of his brothers, Jabez. A couple of years later, he purchased more land at present-day Lalbert in the Wimmera.

Of the four maps he published on the colony of Victoria, "Australia Felix" is probably the most highly regarded. This was first published in 1847, and together with its 'key', gives one of the most complete pictures of the population at that time. It was so popular it ran to six editions between 1851-61.

The philatelic community know him for the half-lengths, and the butterflies; the art world knows him for the "Illustrated Australian Magazine", a joint effort between Thomas and two of his brothers, Theophilus and Jabez, which ran from July 1850 to August 1852.

In 1851 Thomas married Mary Jull, and the couple had nine children, five boys and four girls.

Until 1857, Thomas continued as an engraver and publisher, producing some of the finest works about the goldfields, but also operating as a land and commission agent, with brothers Cornelius and Jabez, under the name C. J. & T. Ham; a long-standing firm, whose only change was that the "T" referred to brother Theo instead of Thomas after 1867.

Thomas opened a quartz quarry at Taradale 1855, but 1857 saw him join the Victorian Geological Survey Office, where he was in charge of the lithography of sale plans.

Four lithographs were printed from stone at lectures given by him in December 1859, and again in April 1860, and not long after these he moved to Brisbane. He published several maps for Queensland, operated an engraving, printing and photographic business for some years, and established a company to develop sugar plantations along the Albert River.

He was just establishing his farm at Redcliffe, when he died in Brisbane on 8th March 1870.
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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mcgooley »

And, back to our post offices, in order of appearance :D

KILMORE:

Charles Bonney is generally accepted as the first white settler in the Kilmore district, after he overlanded with his flock of sheep from Sydney in early 1837. His station was known as the "Out Sheep Station", but, with one thing and another, the going got too hard for him so he abandoned the property and moved over to the Mt. Macedon area within a couple of years.

Joe Hawdon was the first contractor for the Sydney-Melbourne mail run in late December 1837, and his employee - John Conway Bourke, the first mailman - used the "Out Station" area as his normal stop on the second night out of Melbourne. There was a well-sheltered camping area beside a permanent water-hole, and this became the favoured resting place for most of the traffic on the track; particularly the overlanders, with their cattle and sheep.

Four years later, in 1841, an Irishman - William Rutledge - purchased by Special Survey, 5120 acres, or eight square miles, at one pound per acre, and in the south-east corner he had a town mapped out. Rutledge named this new town "Kilmore", after his hometown in Co. Cavan. (I believe it means churches, or burying place.)

In September 1841, the Port Phillip Gazette advertised the town allotments for sale by auction. It would have been a great way to recoup his outlay, except his timing was way off. The whole colony was in the grip of an economic depression, following the drought in 1839/40, and many who had borrowed from the banks on the security of their stock found their capital evaporated like the rains; even the banks themselves got the wobbles.

All this, added to the incredible speculation in the Melbourne allotments in 1837 which led to ridiculously inflated prices, meant that for most of the early 1840's Port Phillip was virtually a cashless society.

Consequently, Rutledge's reserves on the blocks simply wasn't met. He decided instead to lease the allotments, mainly to Irish farmers, with the option to buy later.

This ploy proved so successful that the Post Office opened on 1st February 1843.

By mid 1843, things started to pick up, and Rutledge started selling his blocks, but obviously not fast enough, because he soon disposed of the bulk to 3 Sydney-siders, J. Lamb, A. McGaa, and W. Carr, who finally sold the rest.

At first mainly a tent-town, very soon permanent buildings were going up, and the incredibly fertile soil in the region led one author to describe Kilmore as "the granary of the colony". The first of 3 flour mills was built in 1847 to service the nearly 3000 acres being sown to wheat, and by early 1851, it wasn't unusual to see 50 laden bullock-teams together heading toward one or the other of the mills. (I wonder if this is where our bag of wheat for the Exhibition came from?)

During the 1850's and 60's the traffic on the Melbourne-Sydney road was enormous (I wonder why???). Around the town, any available space was used as a camp-site at sundown for the bullockies and their teams, and there were up to 32 pubs to choose from to service the needs of weary travellers.

Large numbers of coaches ensured plenty of custom for the many accommodation houses, and the blacksmiths and livery stables catered to those on horseback, while the bootmakers did a roaring trade. Kilmore had its own hospital in the late 1850's, by which time many of the more substantial buildings; the churches, banks, breweries, the original courthouse (it later burnt down) and the jail were open for business.

This Post Office was built in 1863, after the first flush of building activity, not long before the new courthouse and police barracks.

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Obviously quick off the mark to get the 1849 returns in to Melboune, the Post Office at Kilmore used butterfly number 2;

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In December 1853 fire tore through a large part of the town, taking out the Post Office, and the newly completed courthouse amongst others. Kilmore's original barred oval was lost, and for all of January 1854 stamps were cancelled by manuscript. The new barred oval was supplied in Febrary 1854;

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Kilmore was issued with barred numeral 54; the original allocation has an R rating.
Just for fun, I'm using a 1914 example of Kilmore's duplex;

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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mcgooley »

Kilmore and Ovens (name was changed to Wangaratta - more on that later :wink: ) post offices were opened the same day.
This is the notice that appeared in the Port Phillip Government Notices, dated Wednesday February 8th 1843;
Image
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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mcgooley »

OVENS:

WANGARATTA from 1st January 1854.

In 1824, Hume and Hovell crossed the river, 22km downstream from the present town site, which they named after Governor Brisbane's aide-de-campe, N.S.W.'s Chief Engineer Major John Ovens.

Major Mitchell crossed the river closer to where the town now sits, during his "Australia Felix" tour which effectively put the Sydney-Melbourne road on the map, and the site where he crossed became known as the 'Ovens Crossing Place'.

Around the same time George Faithfull established his "Wangaratta" cattle station in the area, but the first settler on site was Thomas Rattray. He operated a sly-grog shop and punt service from the south bank of the Ovens in 1838, picking up the growing traffic trade.

The following year, Rattray sold the enterprise to William Clark, "the Father of Wangaratta", who built a slab-timber store, and soon upgraded to a larger and better structure which he called the "Hope Inn". This served as the first Post Office from 1st February 1843.

Mail deliveries were not without their difficulties:
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The above notice ran for nearly 2 months in the Government Gazette, and I don't think the reward was paid.

Slab and Bark started being replaced by Brick and Mortar from 1848, and the township was laid out the following year, during which time the Post Office was located in "Salutation Inn".

When the first gold-rushes started, the town was nearly deserted; the tide turned when the Ovens diggings opened in mid-1852, and Wangaratta prospered under the demand for supplies.

In October 1854, S.J. Towers secured the contract to build a timber bridge over the Ovens, for a cost of 485 pounds. Its location caused some surprise in town; rumour had it that the surveyor had been thrown out of Clark's Inn on Ovens St., and had recommended a site on Murphy St. to steer custom away from his erstwhile host. The bridge replaced the punt service which had been operated by a 'gentleman' in league with horse and cattle thieves, and who subsequently became a bushranger himself.

While all of the above was going on, this little gem appeared in the Government Notices:
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The town's role as a service centre held the key to its development. By the time the Court-House was built in 1859, Wangaratta boasted 10 inns and a brewery.

'Mad Dog' Morgan met his end at Peechelba Station 35km north of Wangaratta in April 1865. His body was brought to town for his final indignities. Another well-known bushranger, Ned Kelly, spent most of his life in the district, and before the little incident at Stringybark Creek had worked as a builder on some of the Catholic Churches in the area.

And I'll leave Wang' with the fact that Dame Nellie Melba performed one of her "farewell" concerts in the theatre on Murphy St. :wink:

Ovens was issued with butterfly number 5 (I can't find a clear scan, and it has a 4R rating), and also number 47, which has an R rating:

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And Wangaratta was still Ovens when it received its barred oval, number 14:

Image

Wangaratta was issued with the barred numeral 82, and there were 5 allocations, which included two duplexes. This image is of the first allocation, which has an RR rating:

Image

Below is the only image I have of the Wangaratta P.O. :( , and I would be grateful if someone can come up with a better.

Image
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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mcgooley »

ALBERTON:

I have placed Port Albert at No. 6 in this list; even though, as has been pointed out in several sources, the post office opened before Kilmore and Ovens.

In a special printing of the N.S.W. Government Gazette of Sunday July 30th, 1843, which dealt mainly with the constitution of a Legislative Council and all the hoo-haa that goes with it, we can find on page 74 the following notice:

New Post Offices
Notice is hereby given, that His Excellency the GOVERNOR has been pleased to approve of the establishment of Post Offices at the following Places, to come into operation from the 1st January 1843, viz: -
HUSKISSON, situated at Jervis Bay
ALBERTON, at Port Albert; and
CARCOAR, in the County of Bathurst.
Parties therefore wishing to receive their communications through any of these Offices, are advised to caution their correspondents to address their Letters and Newspapers to that Office distinctly by its name, and so to provide against the chance of their being forwarded to any adjacent Post Office of the same County or District.
JAMES RAYMOND, Postmaster General
General Post Office
Sydney, 12th January, 1843


Bill Purves wasn't the only one who has been puzzled by the fact that, while it shows up on the 1851 lists as having opened on 1st July 1843, the early datestamp has a NEW S. WALES marking instead of the PORT PHILLIP which both Kilmore and Ovens used. The above notice explains that Alberton opened as a N.S.W. office. It was transferred to Port Phillip on 1.7.43, which is explained in one of Mr. W.R. Rundell's tracts published in 1927.

The settlement of the Port Albert area can be thought to have got off the ground after the darling of the N.S.W.'s shipping fleet, the paddle-steamer 'CLONMEL' (on only her second trip!) foundered there early in the morning of 2nd January 1841, on her way from Sydney to Melbourne, carrying 38 passengers and over 40 crew.

She had got well and truly stuck on a sandbar at the entrance to the port, and, weighing in at 500 tons (unladen), she wasn't going anywhere soon. When the sun came up, everyone on board had a great view of Snake Island :shock: but one gets the feeling all the high class passengers weren't exactly thrilled at the prospect.

Some of the cream of Sydney society camped on the beach for about 5 days, while a number of the crew and passengers took a lifeboat off toward Melbourne. The cutter 'SISTERS', on her way from King Island, took the boat in tow, and brought it into Melbourne on 5th January, then ducked back to the wreck and picked up more of the passengers, getting back to Melbourne on 15th January. The schooner 'WILL WATCH' and another cutter 'ROVER'S BRIDE' also helped in the rescue operation, WILL WATCH bringing in the rest of the crew and the captain, and ROVER'S BRIDE doing some of the early salvage work and going on to Sydney.

All of this was very exciting, and a few blokes in Melbourne got their heads together, and decided to charter a vessel and go for a look-see. The Port Phillip Patriot reported their intention, which was based on discovering whether they could find a decent landing site, and if so, to have a look around and find out if the countryside was suitable for sheep and/or cattle; and most importantly, try to find an overland route through Strzelecki's damned scrub.

On 3rd February 1841, the barque 'SINGAPORE' left Melbourne, arriving 10 days later at Port Albert (it took them a while to find a way in over the sandbar), and Dr. Stewart, with Messrs McFarlane, Orr, Hawdon, Rankin, McLeod, Brodribb and Kinghorne entered the history books, known as the "Gippsland Company".

What they found was a nice handy blazed track, that led them to some lovely open plains beyond the scrub. Angus McMillan was furious. It had taken him two years of hard work to find a way down from the high country, and now these upstarts from Melbourne had come along and nicked his findings. (Then again, Gipps Land is a bit easier to swallow than Caledonia Australis.)

Dr. Stewart, Rankin and John Orr headed back to Melbourne on 20th March, leaving the others to start work. In May 1841, Robert Hoddle fired off two letters within a few days of each other to A.S. Townsend, the surveyor, telling him to get down to the area and reserve a site for a town. The second letter tells him to measure the 'special surveys' of John Orr, William Rutledge (didn't we meet him before??) and John Reeves, who all wanted 8 sq. miles to call home.

The surveys were gazetted on 8th June 1841, and the population boomed. Some came for work, some for land, and all camped on the beach. There was no town, no overland stock route, no work. Many left.

The end of 1841 saw the end of the attempted settlement at the 'Old Port' or Seabank. Communications with Melbourne had been reduced to a trickle, and on at least two occasions supplies couldn't get through because of low water. There's a lovely piece of satire in the Port Phillip Patriot of 31st October which reports: "The squatters at Port Albert are wearing linen so fine that their wives can scarcely see it with the naked eye."

But things weren't all bad. The amount of development going on in the High Country ensured a need for a port, and by February 1842, the site for the township was fixed.

In 1843 allotments in John Orr's survey town of Victoria (it became part of Alberton later) were selling, while the government town of Alberton, gazetted in September 1842, didn't hold land sales until 1846 :!: . This despite our post office being open, and a Court of Petty Sessions operating from early 1844.

After this somewhat shaky start, and with more than the average amount of drama in other areas, including:
"Two of its early settlers, the Martin Brothers, ensured a place for themselves in the local annals when they imported an elephant from Ceylon to clear their property. Unfortunately it escaped one evening and, weakened by cold and hunger, died a few kilometres away"
by the time the gold fields of Gippsland opened up, Alberton was the administrative centre for the region.

In 1848, this government notice was issued:
Image
Here is an example of what the early datestamp looked like, dated 1848:

Image

and a not-so-good scan of the barred oval:

Image

The name was changed back to its original Port Albert on 1st June 1854.
In January 1856, this office re-opened at the port (the present Port Albert), and a new office named Alberton opened at a new site in the township of Alberton some 4-5 miles up the road. (Barred Numeral 91)

Image

The post office at Port Albert still stands:

Image
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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mcgooley »

Would you believe - ooops! :oops:
Below is the REAL barred oval for Alberton! The butterfly was too quick for me :lol: And yes, Port Albert had butterfly no. 10.

Image
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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by mcgooley »

PORT FAIRY:

The accepted myth is that Capt. James Wishart, on a sealing expedition, named the area after his cutter, "Fairy", when he and his men took shelter during a storm in 1810. There's another version of history which states that Capt. Henry Wishart named Port Fairy for his cutter the Fairy when he and his crew visited the bay whilst in search of convict absconders, who had stolen one of their valuable sealing craft from nearby Portland Bay.

This was in 1828, and this version is largely borne out by the shipping lists for Sydney in October '28 and February '29, except that the vessel was a "Colonial Schooner".
What's not in dispute is that a Fairy visited the area. :lol:

Not long after, a whaling station was established on the island at the river mouth by Penny and Reiby and in 1835 it was purchased by John Griffiths. The whaling operations were so successful the whales were gone by the mid-40's.

In the 1830s some of the early seamen crossed over the Moyne river and began to clear and cultivate the rich volcanic soils. They brought sheep and cattle across from Tasmania and established a permanent settlement. By 1839 John Cox, who had sailed across from Launceston, opened a store on the site which is now the corner of Cox and Gipps Streets.

In 1843 William Rutledge (yep, him again) purchased 5120 acres from the Crown, along with James Atkinson who had obtained, sight unseen, the "Belfast" Special Survey and proceeded to lay out a town in that name. Although the town was known as Belfast, the port retained its original name.

Atkinson drained the swamps, subdivided and leased the land, and built a harbour on the Moyne River, and Irish immigrants were encouraged to settle here. (There's a great story about how Lloyd Rutledge - Billy's brother - managed to entice 70 people away from the emigrant ship 'Runnymede' which berthed in Portland in 1852.) The result was that Belfast became the largest privately-owned town in Australia.

Agriculture in the area developed rapidly and there were years when up to 20 vessels came to Port Fairy just to load the onions and potatoes for sale in Melbourne. By 1857 there were 2190 people living in Belfast.

"Terrible Billy" Rutledge became a magistrate in Port Fairy in 1844, and had a rather turbulent career which included a dispute with the police commissioner of the time, William Mair, and ended with Rutledge being charged with assault by his own bench and fined 5 pounds.

The Post Office opened on 1st July 1843 as "Port Fairy" but was renamed "Belfast" on 1st January 1854 before reverting to the original name 20th May 1887, after a special act of parliament.
Image
Below is what I thought an interesting item dealing with the delivery of the early mails:
Image
Bill Purves had some doubts about the date of the opening, based on the original handstamp. It is possible it was ordered in anticipation of that date:

Image

The butterfly allocation was number 29:

Image

Port Fairy, as it was still known, got barred oval 50:

Image

And, as "Belfast", was issued with barred oval number 6. This isn't surprising, since the records show that at the time of the allocation, it was one of the busiest ports in Victoria.

Image

I have enclosed a copy of the government notice regarding the name change. This appeared on page 1388 of the May 27th edition in 1887:
Image
And last, but not least, an early photo of the Port Fairy Post Office :)

Image
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Re: Victoria Postal History

Post by GlenStephens »

mcgooley - a great thread and well laid out. :D

Having all this in one place will assist/attract students will into the future.

One suggestion ... postal history near always refers to FULL COVERS

Victoria Postal History

Seems not nearly as relevant a heading here as

Victoria early postal cancels illustrated etc? I can amend that if you wish.

Glen

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Re: State of VICTORIA - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by BACK O BOURKE »

Great thread mcgooley

Victoria 1864 6d pair + 2d tied by multiple barred numeral "8" strikes

Portland to Canada with manuscript "5" and red London transit cds on front.

Reverse has Portland, Melbourne, Smithville, Grimsby and Hamilton cds cancels.

Image

Image

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Re: State of VICTORIA - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

:mrgreen: What a BEAUTIFUL cover!!!!! :mrgreen:

This is EXACTLY the kind of example I was hoping people would contribute to this thread. And I love the way the cover shows the transit route.

Many thanks for sharing it with me, at least :D
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by BACK O BOURKE »

Victoria 1875 cover with 6d + 2d tied with barred numeral
"602" from Alexandra (Gold Field P.O.) to Milton, Ontario
with red London transit cds and Melbourne, Hamilton and
Milton backstamps. An unusual destination from a goldfield
town.

Image

Image

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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

Lovely example of the first allocation which was issued less than 8 years earlier.

As to destination, I would have been more surprised if Alexandra WASN'T a gold town. Right through the '70's the population of Victoria was expanding, and they were coming from all over. :wink:
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

SEYMOUR:

Seymour is probably unique in that the local Natrakboolok peoples continued to camp in town well into the 1860's. The first white men in the area were Hume and Hovell in 1824, when they were heading for Port Phillip (by the way, they ended up at Westernport instead!).

When Thomas Mitchell's "Australia Felix" tour was heading home to Sydney in October 1836, he crossed the Goulburn river some 16km to the north, at a place that became known as Mitchellstown when the overland mail deliveries began in 1838. During 1837-8 most of the surrounding area had been taken up with cattle runs.

When, in 1839, a nice ford was discovered in the south which shaved time off the deliveries, it became known as the 'New Crossing Place'. (There's a great book on the history of the area by that title.) A hotelier, John Clarke by name, moved his business down from the 'Old Crossing Place' and opened up his new pub, and set up a punt service to boot. A blacksmith moved in alongside, to keep him company.

A government survey was carried out in 1841, on the eastern side of the river, and a police paddock (the forerunner to the 'pound') was established. During 1843, Mitchell (taking a breather from his adventures) named the growing hamlet after Lord Seymour. The town allotments were advertised in 1844.

As the north-south traffic increased, Clarke's inn got competition when a 'hotel' was built on the west bank. It was all by itself, because this side of the river never developed, and bushrangers enjoyed the easy target. Of course, this had to be the first post office, which opened on 1st July 1844, and below is an image of the hand-stamp in use at the time:

Image

In the face of this competition, Clarke built a two-storey hotel, in stone, sometime in 1848, and sections of this still stand as part of today's Royal Hotel. By this time, Seymour had its first school, a flour mill, and the main street was lined with stores and tradesmen's shops.

In April 1853, LaTrobe gave notice that government tolls would be payable on the punt over the river. The tolls ranged from a shilling for a 4-wheeled carriage and sixpence for 2-wheeled, down to 1/4d for every "sheep, lamb, pig, or goat".

A state school opened in November 1857 with 25 pupils and James O'Neill was the first 'Head Teacher', who commanded the princely sum of 18 pounds per year. 1857 saw the first Electric Telegraph lines constructed between Melbourne and Belvoir, which went via Kilmore, Seymour and Beechworth.

Peter Orr was employed in 1865 as a linesman repairer, and, from April 1866, Postmaster. He held the post for some years, and his annual leave is noted in the gazettes, with the names of those acting in his absence.

By 1865 the population had increased to 450, and kept growing. The Railway Station was opened in 1872 ; the same year the Post Office (which now houses an art gallery and restaurant) was built.

Image

In 1904, a troop of the Light Horse was established in the area, and when, in 1910, Lord Kitchener visited the encampment at the racecourse, he recommended a permanent military training camp in the area. WW1 saw the camp set up, which went on to become Puckapunyal.

Seymour was issued with butterfly number 3, which has an R rating;

Image

and barred oval number 46, with an RR rating (sorry about the quality!);

Image

Seymour's barred numeral issues are unrated, except for the first (A2) which has an R rating. The image below is of the first duplex;

Image
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

THE GRANGE:

Name changed to HAMILTON on 1st January 1854.

In 1836 Thomas Mitchell passed through what would become Hamilton, "A finer country could scarcely be imagined....", on his way back to Sydney. His glowing report sent first the Henty brothers, from Portland, and then others into the area with their sheep, including the Wedge Family who called their run 'The Grange' because they knew Mitchell had named one of the local creeks "Grange". (They just didn't know which one!)

In November 1839 C.J. Tyers, the government surveyor, had recommended the site for development of a town; Foster Fyans noting that there were "36 people on the 'Grange' run (only one being female). There were three sod huts, two thatched huts, a wool shed, a garden, 5500 sheep, 220 cattle and eight horses."

These early settlers came into direct conflict with the three local tribes, who led an almost sedentary life in the area. They had established fishing farms on the shores of the lakes and swamps, building stone weirs and permanent huts. When they were deprived of their lands, along with the other indignities they suffered, they retaliated. An early correspondent from the time commented that "...Wedges' station was a spot celebrated for the maltreatment of natives".

It was largely for the hostilities in the area that Fyans had been appointed. He and his police were there to suppress Aboriginal resistance.

La Trobe visited the Grange in 1841 on his way to Portland, and was concerned enough to recommend the appointment of a Police Magistrate to the area. In the N.S.W. Government Gazette of Tuesday 6th July 1841, we can find the following notice:
Image
French was given a detachment of mounted police, along with their constable, as well as some convicts to build a hut (for himself) and barracks for the troopers. The site where these stood are now the police station and courthouse respectively.

La Trobe tried to diffuse the situation by establishing a reserve, which was intended to protect what was left of the original inhabitants. Unfortunately, the pastoralists didn't like that one bit, and things got so out of hand that La Trobe ordered Fyans, ALL his border police, as well as a full contingent of native police, to the Grange in September of 1842. By the time the reign of terror ended, there were very few of the indigenous inhabitants left.

Due to the good land, the number of properties in the area, and the fact there were numerous tracks leading through the Grange to Portland, it was inevitable that a town would emerge. The area's first constable, George Green, established the Grange Inn in 1843, and a colourful character of Victoria's early years, Presbyterian minister J.D. Lang was an early customer.

When the colony was hit hard with the economic down-turn in the 1840's, the police contingent was disbanded and the magistracy was abolished, but the hamlet continued to grow, and in 1844, a blacksmith had set up his business, and William Russell was appointed Postmaster when the Post Office was created on 1st July 1844.

Two years later a Court of Petty Sessions was established at the old police quarters, and within 5 years the town was starting to emerge as the social centre for the surrounding area, with events like regular horse races being held. The town was surveyed in 1849, and by late 1851, town allotments were being sold in the gazetted township of Hamilton.

Although there were no goldfields in the vicinity, Hamilton became an important agricultural district, and the 1854 census shows there were 230 residents, with at least a dozen businesses. An official post office was built in 1859, the year which saw the establishment of the Hamilton Courier newspaper.

I have no better description of Hamilton in the 1860's than the following:
"The 1861 census recorded 1197 people living in 243 dwellings on the townsite with that many again in the district. It became a borough in 1863. Hamilton was the only settlement of importance in Victoria which was neither a mining centre nor port, being a tertiary service centre with judicial, transport, commercial and communication services."

The Grange was issued with butterfly 31 and Hamilton was still The Grange in 1851 when it was handed Barred Oval 19.
I have no clear images of either of the above, even though both have a single R rating.

Hamilton was issued with Barred Numeral 46:

Image

All except one allocation, a non-duplex issued around the mid- to late- 1870's (R), are unrated.

Below are two images of the Hamilton Post Office. The first was taken in 1901;

Image

and the second, of the same building is more recent;

Image
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

The following notice appeared on the second page of the Port Phillip Government Gazette, dated Tuesday, July 9, 1844;
Image
And I have just realized that poor ole Mount Macedon (Kyneton), which opened on 16th August 1843, is turning black in the face from trying to catch my attention :oops: :oops:
Please bear with me, folks. It's Ballan's turn next, and then I'll try to make it up to Kyneton (somehow)
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

BALLAN:

The history of white settlement of the Ballan area is tied to the expansion of the Geelong area in the late 1830's. As that area was settled, newcomers moved further and further north up the Moorabool river with their flocks in search of untenanted country.

In the list of the earliest settlers are names like Steiglitz, Covvie, Stead, Wallace, Egerton, Inglis, and Fisken. Three of these men gave their names to townships in the area, and Peter Inglis' name lives on in both Ballan and Buninyong, as both towns have streets named after him.

Clashes between the original inhabitants and those early settlers were, perhaps, inevitable. Particularly when the attitude prevailed like that of Ballan's first postmaster, Robert Steiglitz;
"... it may be questioned by some feather-bed philanthropist whether we had the right to take the country from the blacks but I believe the general rule is that if people cultivate or graze the land they have a claim to it. These creatures did neither ..."

Ballan grew into a service town for the local population. Steiglitz was gazetted as Postmaster on 1st July 1844, but less than three years later, in 1847, this notice appeared in the Port Phillip government gazette;
Image
Effectively this notice meant that, for over three years, the Ballan post office was in Bacchus Marsh. Things were made right again in September of 1850;
Image
After the opening of the Ballaarat goldfields, more businesses opened up to attract the attention of the passers-by. In September of 1853, after an eight month leave of absence, the post office opened again in the quaintly named 'Little Blue Store', and the 'Werribee Hunt' was a changing station for the Cobb and Co. teams, before the horses went on to tackle the Pentland Hills.

The first school opened in 1855, about 4 years after the Ballan Hotel first opened its doors, and over 10 years before the impressive bluestone 'Commercial Bank' was built.

In the 1860's, a very fine mineral spring was discovered about 3 miles out of town, and this, together with a rail link from Ballaarat in the 1880's which was extended to Melbourne before the end of the decade, meant the little hamlet enjoyed some renown as a tourist spot.

Even after Archie Fisken snr.'s defection (well, he did have other things on his mind at the time), Ballan still made it into the original butterfly allocations, albeit the post office being in Bacchus Marsh at the time!

Ballan had number 21, which has a 3R rating;
Image
And of course by the time the Barred Ovals were handed out everything was hunky-dory. Ballan got number 63, a 2R;
Image
When the Barred Numerals were being handed out, after the first 11 big offices, every other existing office was issued in a (mostly) alphabetical order. Thus, Bacchus Marsh pipped Ballan to the post. Ballan got number 16. The scan is of the second non-duplex, in use for a few years from the late 1890's which Hugh give a 4R rating;
Image
The Official Post Office was built in 1874. In the early 1900's, it didn't look so bad;
Image
but up 'til quite recently, it was getting rather tired;
Image
I've been informed it is now getting some badly needed T.L.C. :D
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

MOUNT MACEDON:

The name was changed to KYNETON from 1st January 1854.

Mount Macedon had been originally named Mt. Wentworth by Hamilton Hume during his and Wenthworth's 1824 jaunt down south. After Mitchell's report was released in late 1836, and it was considered okay to cross the 'Hume' (now Murray) river, the second group of settlers to come down included Charles Ebden, who settled at Carlsruhe, and Charles Bonney.

Bonney had originally established his 'Out Sheep Station' at Kilmore, but came across to join his mates within 12 months. By then there were probably about a dozen settlers in the area, including the Wedge brothers, who built a couple of huts in what is now the township of Kyneton.

The first instance in which Mount Macedon is mentioned in the Government gazettes is on December 31st 1841, when a pound was established. Five years later, on December 21st 1846, the Gazette announced that a Court of Petty Sessions had been established in the area, and Wedge's Station was the appointed place for holding the sessions.

The town site was surveyed in 1849, and was gazetted as Kyneton in early 1850, with the first land sales being held in May and September of that year. There were already a number of huts and tents on the townsite, and quite a nice little population of stockmen, labourers and their families, most of whom were employed on the surrounding runs.

1851 ushered in the gold rushes on Mt Alexander, and Kyneton was well placed to take advantage of the enormous amount of traffic from Melbourne. In March 1852 the first census of the population was 300 and by December it had reached 2000, and within five years Kyneton was proclaimed a Municipal District, on 30th October 1857.

The accepted opening date for the Mount Macedon post office is 1st July 1843, but there is an 1844 report which gives the date as 16th August 1843. The original postmark is the first of the new style to be recorded.

Mount Macedon was issued with number 11 butterfly, which has an RR rating. The '1' is reversed (this also appeared in the no. 12);

Image

And Kyneton was still Mount Macedon when issued with barred oval number 28, also an RR rating;

Image

Kyneton was issued with barred numeral number 57. All except the example below are unrated. This image, of the first issue, is rated RR;

Image

The Kyneton Post Office was constructed in 1870-71, after a lot of noise from the residents, including a MLA, and the clock tower was included following many visits to the PMG's department from the locals.
Image
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

FIERY CREEK:

The name was changed to STREATHAM from 1st January 1854.

In the 1840s the site was known as Fiery Creek, after the waterway by which it is located, and was a resting place on the road to Portland. It was the region's first post office and also a meeting place for settlers, but it took over ten years before a township was gazetted.
Image
Although never a large or important town, it was nevertheless the centre of a strong community spirit; even in the late 1870's the population wasn't much above 80 people. By then the town was serviced by a telegraph and money order counter in the Post Office, and had two General Stores as well as a Blacksmith, and a daily coach to Ballaarat.

The Post Office opened on 1st September 1844;
Image
Image
And when the butterflies were issued, Fiery Creek came in at number 27;

Image

It was using both names when the barred ovals were released, and was handed number 21;

Image

Streatham was given the barred numeral number 79. The first allocation, with two side-bars has a RR rating; the second issue, with larger, more widely spaced numerals and no side bars - issued about 1873 - has an R rating, and it received its duplex about 1885, which is unrated.

Around 1886 Streatham received a non-duplex canceller, which had very thick numbers and a single side-bar. It has a 4R rating, and below is an image of this issue;

Image

I can find NO images of the Streatham Post Office. In February 1977 Streatham was partially destroyed by bushfires which spread across western Victoria to the South Australian border. The fire in Streatham left five men dead and a further seven people suffering heart attacks. The post office, community hall, shops and eighty-one homes were all destroyed in the blaze.

If anyone has an image of the Streatham Post Office, I would be grateful if they can post it here, or on the "Pictures of Post Office" thread.
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

While I was looking for something else (isn't it always the way?), I came across this item. I thought this is probably the most appropriate place for it :D
Image
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

BROKEN RIVER:

The name was changed to BENALLA on 1st January 1854.

In 1837, Alexander Mollison 'broke through' a swampy river, by finding a narrow stream bed over which he could build a bridge. The river became known as Broken River, and Mollison's route was the accepted means of access across it. The site became known as 'The Crossing Place', and was marked out with care for Joe Hawdon's Melbourne-Sydney mail run less than a year later.

Reverend Joseph Docker took up his lease around the area in 1838 and called it 'Benalta', apparently after an aboriginal word for "musk duck", or "water holes". (Take your pick.)

It didn't take too long before officialdom had to take an interest in the area, as there were the inevitable clashes between the original inhabitants and the settlers.

Melbourne
July 6th 1840
Sir
I have the honor to forward the accompanying report, by which it will be seen that early and prompt measures were taken by me, to ascertain the truth of alleged aggression on the part of the Aborigines in the vicinity of the ovens and Broken River, immediately the rumour reached Melbourne... I have since stationed a steady Serjeant, at the Broken River, with an extra Trooper and I have given the Non Commd. Officer in charge strict orders to visit the whole of the Stations on the two Rivers above mentioned, frequently,
His Honor
The Superintendent
of Port Phillip
&c &c &c
Melbourne


By the time the above letter had been written by F B Russell, "Lt Commg Div M Police", the 'Black Swan' hotel was open for business, and within four years, a post office was opened;
Image
And the police were given a court two years later.
Image
Image
The township was up and running before the end of 1850, but somewhere along the line, the "t" lost its cross-bar
Image
Once the gold rushes started, Benalla was nicely situated to take advantage of the traffic. It helped when gold was found not too far from town at Violet Town. Benalla thrived, and its Post Office continued to grow in importance,
Image
although (as usual) there was the odd hiccup. This item appeared in the Gazette on October 31st 1856;
Image
The telegraph line was installed by the end of the 1850's, and through the 1860's and 1870's, gold-mining place-names like Reef Hills, Palmers, Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Bond's Run and Lion Reef were well known, even though much of the gold was embedded in quartz and many of these sites were reworked over the years with newer and more sophisticated equipment.
Benalla received its railway station in 1873, which came in quite handy a few years later. While the police hunt was on for the "Kelly Gang", Benalla was the search Headquarters.

Being on the Sydney road, Benalla received number 4 when the butterflies were allocated:

Image

which has a RR rating, and is known on early N.S.W. stamps.
Benalla was given barred oval number 39. I have no clear image of this RR rated strike.

When the barred numerals were issued, Benalla got number 18 on the alphabetical allocations. None of the four issues have a rating, which should give some indication of the amount of business the Post office was doing by then. Below is the second duplex;

Image

Being a progressive town, Benalla tore down its first official post office;

Image

and replaced it with a nice :?: modern one;

Image

which in turn was replaced by a shop-front. (I can't bring myself to show THAT one)
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

BUNNENYONG:

The spelling was changed to BUNINYONG on 17th January 1859.

Early in February of 1838, two 18-year-olds, Henry Anderson and William Cross Yuille, along with William's cousin Archie, left Geelong with about 2000 sheep and a couple of bullock-drays, and headed for a hill, visible on the northern horizon. The route they took is roughly the first leg of today's Midland Highway (with a few upgrades!), as others soon followed their dray tracks.

By 1841 Bunnenyong was a village, the population made up mostly of sawmillers and loggers, servicing the needs of the surrounding sheep and cattle runs. Although there was a track from Melbourne to Portland through Bunnenyong, all heavy traffic had to come via Geelong, because the Pentland Hills, between Bacchus Marsh and Ballan, were too punishing.
(Just take a look at Robert Hoddle's 1841 map of the Colony of Port Phillip!!)

Messrs. Campbell and Woolley, from Melbourne, opened the first store very early in 1841, and immediately came under fire from the surrounding settlers. Henry Anderson, at the ripe old age of 21, complained bitterly to Fyans, for allowing a store so close to his property, since he was "much annoyed even till near midnight by the noise of men fighting and swearing etc at the store...."
(complaints about drunkenness are an ongoing theme through the early years of Bunnenyong's settlement).

Bunnenyong had the first full-time medical practitioner (Dr. Richard Power) inland of Melbourne and Geelong in 1842, and John Veitch who kept the general store, was issued a hotel licence less than 12 months later. The Post Office was established on 1st January 1845, which he operated from his store,
Image
and as business grew, he gave up his hotel licence to keep up with his postal duties. In October 1847 the new postal route opened through Burnbank to Four Posts Inn and Langlands, which was the original name of Horsham.
Image
Bunnenyong became an important staging post for mails heading west;
Image
Bunnenyong was issued with butterfly number 22, sorry - no image - which has a RR rating.

When the change was made to barred ovals, Bunnenyong was allocated number 8;

Image

After Thomas Hiscock opened the Pandora's Box which was the Ballaarat gold fields, Buninyong grew in strength, while never competing with the insanity which went on up the road.

About 1853, one of the many artists who made their way around Victoria documenting the fun, Mr Winkle stopped by to capture Buninyong post office in charcoal. My thanks to him!!

Image

It might well have been out of this post office that the early barred numeral 23 was sent -

Image

All three of the issues are unrated. The above example is of the second duplex which was issued about 1870, when Thomas Purvis was postmaster, and four years later, after being housed in a succession of stores, Buninyong got its own official Post Office in Learmonth street.

This poor image was taken about 1900. The building still stands, but the service has been moved to (you guessed it) something more like a shop-front. That's progress for you!

Image
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

THE GLENELG:

The name of the post office was changed to CASTERTON on 1st January 1854.

As with much of the western districts of Port Phillip, Mitchell's touring party were the first Europeans in the area. He had a good look around this area before heading down south where he met the Hentys, and he obviously told them about the great grazing potential.

After leaving the Portland area, Mitchell's party headed north again, through the Hamilton area on their way back toward Sydney, but the Henty brothers didn't wait to hear the official reports. They were the first on the scene, doing a bit of exploring on their own, and by the end of 1837 were establishing huge pastoral runs between Casterton and Hamilton.

Of course, they couldn't keep the lot. Mitchell's report, once official, sent other settlers down to the region, and within a few years the area was well colonized.George Robinson, the appointed 'Protector of Aborigines' visited the area, before La Trobe, in 1840 and commented afterwards that most of the stories about the natives' depradations were "grossly fallacious or shamelessly exaggerated", but that didn't stop the atrocities.

By the early 1840's there was an overland route (of sorts) between Geelong and Mt. Gambier, and an easy crossing place had been found on the Glenelg river. It didn't take too long before an Inn was established at the spot: the "Glenelg" opened its doors for business in 1846, and the following year became the site of the Post Office;
Image
Image
Image
The overland mail delivery between Melbourne and Adelaide had been established some three months earlier;
Image
This was all the impetus the area needed. Where people go, the mails must surely follow, although in Casterton's case, it was more the other way around. Once the inter-colonial route had been established, the settlement grew, and in 1852 the site for the town had been fixed, and not long after that it was surveyed and up for grabs.
Image
Needless to say, the amount of traffic coming from the west toward the burgeoning gold fields added to the town's prosperity (think of one of Melbourne's 'tent towns' - "Little Adelaide"!)

By the middle of 1865, the telegraph line between Melbourne and Adelaide was complete, and Casterton was part of the action. In July 1866, F.L. Meechant was announced to be the operator in charge of the telegraph facilities, as well as the post master.

The Bailliere's Guide from 1879 describes Casterton as having —a flour mill, aerated water manufactory, coach-building factory, and bark and chaff-cutting mills in the district, which is a pastoral and agricultural one. The surrounding country is elevated and undulating. The population numbers about 500 persons There are Church of England, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, and Roman Catholic places of worship in the township ; also, a mechanics' institute, used for theatrical, dramatic, and concert purposes ; racecourse, 1 1/2 miles from town ; and two recreation reserves in town boundary. The local newspaper is the Casterton News.

Cobb & Co.'s booking office was at the Glenelg Inn, but that wasn't the only hostelry in town. I came across this lovely 1890's advertisement for the Bridge Inn Hotel, which was established in 1876. It was demolished in 1919.
Image
By the 1880's, the large squatter's runs had been broken up, and when the railway arrived in 1884 Casterton became the western terminus of the state's rail service.

The Glenelg's butterfly 33 has an R rating but the only image I can find is too fuzzy to be of any use. The barred oval, which has a RR rating is a bit clearer;

Image

and like all the barred numeral issues of 28, my copy (done with a heavy hand!) is unrated;

Image

And last, but not least, an image of the Casterton Post Office, taken about the time of Federation;

Image
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

THE LEIGH:

The name was changed to SHELFORD on 1st January 1854.

The history of Shelford is intimately tied to that of 'The Clyde Company', a Scottish-Tasmanian syndicate formed in 1836 in the wake of John Batman's treaties.

George Russell - the younger half-brother of Philip, the only Victorian based partner - was only 24 years old in March 1836 when, as manager of the more than 70,000 acres, he settled on the Moorabool river near Batesford . When, in 1839, the Crown was offering the area for sale, he relinquished it and moved further west onto the banks of the Leigh river where he, on behalf of the company, finalized the freehold purchase of the approximately 25,000 acre Leigh Station in 1842.

By this time, Russell had a road surveyed from what is now Bannockburn through to the station. This road was the beginning of what would become the major route through to Hamilton.

In August of 1843 Francis Ormond, a former mariner, leased 20 acres from Russell, with the proviso that he improved the land and built an Inn. This substantial building became known as Ormond's Inn, or the Settler's Arms, with an extensive stableyard. It was the first stop on the road to Hamilton.

The Post Office was established on 1st July 1847, with Francis Ormond (or the 'Skipper', as he was known) as postmaster, and he held the position until 1851, when he sold the Inn and moved to the Skipton area.
Image
A timber bridge was built in 1851, which was replaced in 1873-74 by an iron-girder bridge, now classified by the National Trust.

In 1857-58 the Clyde Company was dissolved. George Russell purchased the homestead (known as Golf Hill) and this has remained in the family to the present day. He also got 8,000 acres, which he extended to about 28,000, but over time this has diminished.

In 1859 Shelford got its official approval for the Free Presbyterian Church, and the name Russell is prominent on the Board of Trustees. It took another three years, 25th February 1861, before the township of Shelford was proclaimed, and it was proclaimed a Road District later the same year, although the tolls didn't come in for another couple of years.

Even at its peak, Shelford was never a large town. In 1879 it had a population of about 250, with 43 residences.

When the butterflies were issued, The Leigh was allocated number 19 which has a RR rating;

Image

During the 1850's, the Geelong-Hamilton road saw a lot of traffic. This may well account for the single R rating of the number 48 barred oval;

Image

and the fact that Shelford's barred numeral, number 75, is unrated. Please forgive the poor strike - it's the only one I have :?

Image

The Post Office never rated its own building, and until its closure was stationed in the General Store. I can't find an exact date of closure for the Post Office, but I suspect it has been within the last couple of years. The photos below were taken within the last week;

Image

Image

Thus ends The Leigh :(
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

On the time-line of Victoria's postal service history, I think this is a good place to show how the mails were getting to their destinations. With the aid of a map, these mail runs can give you a good idea of the routes taken.

Many of the place-names mentioned in these contracts have not shown up in the official post office entries to date, but you can see that deliveries were being made through them. I have shown the entire two pages from the Gazette, as clearly as I can, more for the sake of laziness than anything.
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

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Image
What a SUPERB strike. :)

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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

Isn't it a beauty!

I lifted it from Bill Purves "Butterfly" and Barred Oval" cancellations book, which is an ABSOLUTE MUST for anyone interested in Victoria's early history. Bill had previously published another book - "The Postal History of the Port Phillip District, 1835-1851" in 1950, through the R.P.S.V.

I don't know if the Postal History volume, which only runs to 68 pages, is readily available, but it is chock-a-block full of information; including postage rates, ships which carried the mails (including the Clonmel), and a lovely collection of transcripts of early letters.

Any student of Victorian postal history owes him a huge debt, and, from my tiny corner, I'm doing my little bit to keep his flow of information spreading outwards :D
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by admin »

Image
Basically nothing really to do with this thread but thought I'd add this just as it looks very pretty, and it sold last night in New York for over $A20,000 on invoice. (Est $US4000-5000)

Marco Polo, two Victoria 1850 3d Light blue, Ty. II (#3a, S.G. #7), tied to J. Valentine allover Ocean Penny Postage propaganda cover to London endorsed "By Ship Marco Polo," "red oval "Ship Letter Melbourne/Oc 9, 1852" backstamp and red London 7 December, 1852 arrival backstamp, 80 days in transit, small bit of cover edge missing at top right not noted on the certificate, otherwise very fine; 1974 BPA certificate; ex-Knapp and Risvold.

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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

Now, THAT is what I call a cover!

And just to tie it into this thread (albeit a little off the time-line) here's a schedule of the postage rates in 1856, that is to say, the rates to France and Europe. The following image comes from the Gazette issue of 14th October 1856, page 1721;
Image
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

Following on from my last post, I thought it might be of some interest to a few to set out the postage rates as they were applied to all correspondence within the colony of N.S.W. (remember that Victoria was still the "Port Phillip District" in the late 1840's.)

Under Governor Gipps' 1838 amendment to Governor Bourke's 1835 "An Act to Provide for the conveyance and postage of Letters", the following rates applied until 31st December 1849:

TOWN LETTERS
Each packet, letter or newspaper posted at any Post Office, for delivery at that office was charged at 1d.
Each packet, letter or newspaper (up to 4 oz.) posted in a town for delivery to an address in the same town was charged 2d.

SHIP LETTERS
These, either dispatched or received, were charged the "ship rate", plus the "inland rate" (if any). The "ship rates" were -
3d. for a single letter (i.e. weighing under ½ oz.)
6d. for a double letter (3/4 oz.)
9d. for a triple (1 oz.)
1/- for a quadruple (1 ¼ oz.)
With 2d. extra for each additional weight, the total "ship rate" on any letter not to be greater than 2/6.

INLAND LETTERS
The charges were based on 'single' letters which were defined as those under ½ oz. in weight. The 'double', 'triple', and 'quadruple' letters were charged proportionately. The charges for 'single' letters was based on the distance the letter was carried.
Within 15 miles, 4d.
Within 20 miles, 5d.
Within 30 miles, 6d.
Within 50 miles, 7d.
Within 80 miles, 8d.
Within 120 miles, 9d.
Within 170 miles, 10d.
Within 230 miles, 11d.
Within 300 miles, 1/-.

NEWSPAPERS
went free provided they were posted within 7 days of publication.

At the end of 1849 the population of the colony was a little over 60,000 Europeans, of which roughly one third lived in Melbourne.
By the end of 1847, 10 years after the first post office in Melbourne opened, nearly 178,000 letters and 250,000 newspapers passed through the (by then) 16 post offices, earning a revenue of over 5200 pounds, which was just over the 5100 plus pounds in expenses.

One of the expense items was for the uniforms of the letter carriers in Melbourne.
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by josto »

Hi!

How about this oval with number 23? Has there already been found out something about the location? Any rating?

Image

Greetings

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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by ozedavid »

The 79 Barred Numeral cancel pictured here is for sale at the Prestige Philately Auction on Feb. 12. along with many other items from my Barred Numeral collection.

mcgooley wrote:FIERY CREEK:

The name was changed to STREATHAM from 1st January 1854.

In the 1840s the site was known as Fiery Creek, after the waterway by which it is located, and was a resting place on the road to Portland. It was the region's first post office and also a meeting place for settlers, but it took over ten years before a township was gazetted.
Image
Although never a large or important town, it was nevertheless the centre of a strong community spirit; even in the late 1870's the population wasn't much above 80 people. By then the town was serviced by a telegraph and money order counter in the Post Office, and had two General Stores as well as a Blacksmith, and a daily coach to Ballaarat.

The Post Office opened on 1st September 1844;
Image
Image
And when the butterflies were issued, Fiery Creek came in at number 27;

Image

It was using both names when the barred ovals were released, and was handed number 21;

Image

Streatham was given the barred numeral number 79. The first allocation, with two side-bars has a RR rating; the second issue, with larger, more widely spaced numerals and no side bars - issued about 1873 - has an R rating, and it received its duplex about 1885, which is unrated.

Around 1886 Streatham received a non-duplex canceller, which had very thick numbers and a single side-bar. It has a 4R rating, and below is an image of this issue;

Image

I can find NO images of the Streatham Post Office. In February 1977 Streatham was partially destroyed by bushfires which spread across western Victoria to the South Australian border. The fire in Streatham left five men dead and a further seven people suffering heart attacks. The post office, community hall, shops and eighty-one homes were all destroyed in the blaze.

If anyone has an image of the Streatham Post Office, I would be grateful if they can post it here, or on the "Pictures of Post Office" thread.
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

josto wrote:
Post subject: Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated Reply with quote
Hi!

How about this oval with number 23? Has there already been found out something about the location? Any rating?
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh172/jo-sto/Victoria_twopence1.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Barred Oval 23 has a 3R rating. Unfortunately, at this point there are no "ties" to prove which Post Office it was issued to; at least that is what Hugh Freeman has remarked in his book on the Numeral Cancellations of Victoria.

HOWEVER, both Swan Hill and Violet Town post offices were open when the barred ovals were issued, and they are candidates for ownership.
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

ozedavid wrote:The 79 Barred Numeral cancel pictured here is for sale at the Prestige Philately Auction on Feb. 12. along with many other items from my Barred Numeral collection.
Image
Perfectly true, and I apologize if I've stepped on your toes!, but I thought it such a perfect example to show everyone. Although Hugh has no objection to me raiding his images, I have just realized that not everyone might be so accommodating.

Feel free to give me a blast - I deserve it :oops:
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by ozedavid »

You do not have to apologize at all - more than happy to share any of my material anytime.

Keep up the great work - we all appreciate it.

David
mcgooley wrote:
ozedavid wrote:The 79 Barred Numeral cancel pictured here is for sale at the Prestige Philately Auction on Feb. 12. along with many other items from my Barred Numeral collection.
Image
Perfectly true, and I apologize if I've stepped on your toes!, but I thought it such a perfect example to show everyone. Although Hugh has no objection to me raiding his images, I have just realized that not everyone might be so accommodating.

Feel free to give me a blast - I deserve it :oops:
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

A few posts back, I showed the gazette notice calling for the mail-run tenders for 1848. A few of the place-names on the lists did not have official post offices at that date.

11 official post offices were opened in 1848, which is a relatively large number at first glance. The population of Port Phillip was about 60,000 with just over 7000 immigrants during the year from outside the colony, few of whom were guests of Her Maj.

While colonial life was difficult, events in England particularly were causing problems for the populace, and quite a few were happy to jump ship. The Industrial Revolution was a bitter pill for many, and in the 10 years previously, an average of roughly 2000+ people arrived in the years 1839-41.

Many of these were sponsored, but monies dried up with the economic crisis in early 1841, and for the next 5 or so years, the shipping lists from England were relatively stagnant with respect to passengers.

Port Phillip was on its feet again by the end of 1846, (maybe a bit wobbly still,) just at the time England was going through a rough patch (the Corn Laws, for one). Assisted immigration was back on the books, and although this tide is reflected in in the 1847 post office returns, compared to the year before, only two Post Offices were officially opened, compared with none at all for 1846.

So let's greet 1848 with the two post offices which opened in March;
Image
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

MUSTONS CREEK:

The name was changed to CARAMUT on 1st January 1854.

Mustons Creek was named after one J. Muston who took up land along the creek in December 1839.

Thomas Ham's 1847 map shows quite a concentration of settlers in the area, including what appears to be designated a "squatting station", held by one J.F. Palmer.

(Sir) James Frederick Palmer had immigrated from London with his wife in 1840, and, having been a senior surgeon in his former life, registered as an M.D. in Melbourne in 1842, though it seems he didn't do much practising, instead being first a cordial manufacturer then a wine merchant. He is recorded as being Melbourne's mayor in 1845-46 before moving out to the Western District, and purchasing what had originally been Muston's station 'Caramut" in 1847.

(Caramut is said to be derived from an aboriginal word "cooramook" which means plenty of possums. However that may be, it was recorded in the late 1800's that 45 were shot in one tree in the vicinity.)

J.F. Palmer was Mustons Creek first Postmaster, a position he held until 1852, when he moved into the rarified air of politics. For those who might be interested, here's a photo of the gentleman in his later years;
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The first mails to Mustons Creek were carried on pack horse from Port Fairy by a fellow named "Flash Jack", a legendary horseman, and people came in from as far afield as Penshurst and Mortlake to collect their mail from "Caramut House".
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Coincidentally, the second post master at Mustons Creek was also a doctor. Robert Ewing (we'll meet him again later - he was the first surgeon of Sale), who took over in 1852 was a busy boy, not only Postmaster, but also Surgeon, and the Clerk of Petty sessions, as well as keeping the first store.
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Believe it or not, the first pub didn't open until 1850, despite the fact that from the '40s onwards, Mustons Creek was an important way-station in the area, being on the crossroads of the Port Fairy-Pyrenees track and the developing southern track between Geelong and Portland (now the Hamilton Highway).

Mustons Creek was allocated butterfly 28, which has a 3R rating;

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3R is also the rating given to Mustons Creek barred oval, number 9;
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I have NO images of barred numeral 27. The first allocation A2, with double side-bars has a RR rating. The recut version (with only one side-bar) is rated S, and the duplex, in use from the early 1890s is unrated.

John Webster, the elder statesman of the WWW team, has left us this photo of the Caramut Post Office;
Image
FORESTS OLD, PASTURES NEW
"Truth is stranger than Fiction, but that is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." MARK TWAIN

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mcgooley
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

ELEPHANT BRIDGE:

The Post Office opened on 1st March 1848.

It was finally officially renamed DARLINGTON on 1st October 1860.

The Post Office shut its doors on 13th January, 1994.

"The scene was so different from anything I had even before witnessed, either in new South Wales or elsewhere. A land so inviting, and still without inhabitants! As I stood, the first European intruder on the sublime solitude of these verdant plains, as yet untouched by flocks or herds; I felt conscious of being the harbinger of mighty changes; and that our steps would soon be followed by the men and animals for which it seemed to have been prepared."
Sir Thomas L. Mitchell, on first sighting the Western District of Victoria.

This office, along with Mustons Creek, had been slated for an official postal service back in July of 1844, but there had been problems finding an official of "sound mind and good character". Situated on the Mt Emu Creek, the area was first known as Taylors Crossing, after the original settler who set up a 'sly-grog' shop at the only fordable spot along the creek.
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The small gathering of huts was soon known as Mount Elephant Bridge (personally my imagination can't quite see the elephant!), and the grog shop turned respectable and became known as the 'Elephant Bridge Hotel' from 1842. In 1847 it is notated on Ham's map as being 'Davidsons Inn', but the palm was awarded to John Miles, a local landholder, when the Post Office was gazetted.

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At about this time; James Cowie, an entrepreneur who had migrated from Scotland in 1840, owned the general store. He issued his own currency, which was regarded as good as any banknote.

Although the township was gazetted as Darlington in 1852, the whole area continued to be known as Elephant Bridge, and while at its peak could boast three Inns, two stores and a tannery, as well as a 'smithy, bakery, saddlers, and brick kiln, by the late 1870s, the Bailliere's was rather dismissive of the place - particularly its geology.
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Elephant Bridge's butterfly 20 has an R rating,

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and the barred oval, number 29 has a 3R rating, sorry, no image.

Still as Elephant Bridge, it was issued with barred numeral 37. The first issue, shown below, has a RR rating, the second, with later numbers and no side bars is unrated.

Image

I cannot find an image of the Post Office from any time frame.
FORESTS OLD, PASTURES NEW
"Truth is stranger than Fiction, but that is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." MARK TWAIN

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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

The next notice regarding the opening of new post offices was issued on Wednesday, 19th July 1848, and this time Henry did himself proud. Not only was the official announcement made;
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but he was kind enough to give the despatch and return times;
Image
All eight had opened for business on 1st July 1848.
FORESTS OLD, PASTURES NEW
"Truth is stranger than Fiction, but that is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." MARK TWAIN

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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

MAIDEN'S PUNT:

Transferred to the control of N.S.W. 1st January 1855.

James Maiden got a free ride to N.S.W. in 1834, courtesy of His Maj. William 4th, after taking a fancy to someone else's silverware. He received his ticket-of leave in 1839 (the Bengal Merchant was his transport ship);
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But he still had to be a good boy for at least another 18 months to be be allowed to pay for his pardon. The mail service being what it was, he wouldn't have got his piece of paper for probably a couple of years (I did look for his gazetted pardon - a needle in a haystack is easier!) which meant that he could not own property, or operate a business in his name without it.

It's known that he landed a job as superintendent on John Clarke's "Long Swamp" station, which was about 20 km downstream, to the west of present-day Moama, around 1843. At this time, wool from the area was being taken directly to Sydney by bullock-wagons (a nice walk!?!). Maiden organized a punt to be built at Seymour and brought downstream to him via the Goulburn and Murray rivers. (Huckleberry Finn would have been proud!)

The gamble paid off when some of the 1844 clip went to Sydney by way of Maiden's first punt down to Melbourne, and then by ship. The time saved was well over half that taken by the overland route.

A year later, Maiden had a punt built which could accommodate a team of 6 to 8 bullocks with their dray, and set it up about 1 km east of the centre of today's Moama. Just for good measure, he established the "Junction Inn" with a large stables on high ground above the punt. 'Maiden's Punt' was born.

Ham's 1847 map shows an inn on the site, but it is unnamed, possibly because at that time it was unlicensed. What Ham's map does show that apart from the Sydney road, the site at Maiden's Punt was the only other crossing place over the Murray at that time.

When James Maiden became Postmaster at Maiden's Punt in 1848, he was handling ALL the mails from Melbourne and Sydney into the south-west corner of N.S.W. The township of Moama was proclaimed in 1851, and it is generally accepted that James Maiden is its father. The picture below was taken at the height of his success;
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There is a theory that Maiden's Gully near Bendigo was the site of his cattle abbatoir, an enterprise to cater for the diggers desire for something other than mutton. It is known that in 1855, the year that the Post Office was brought under the control of N.S.W., Maiden bought Long Swamp station which had been since renamed Pericoota Station.

Unfortunately, in his later life, all the money he had amassed was lost through a series of misfortunes, and he was last heard of doing odd jobs for other people.

Maiden's Punt was issued with butterfly number 7, which has a RR rating;

Image

And used the 3R rated barred oval 12;

Image
FORESTS OLD, PASTURES NEW
"Truth is stranger than Fiction, but that is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." MARK TWAIN

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mcgooley
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Re: State of Victoria - early postal cancels illustrated

Post by mcgooley »

MOUNT ALEXANDER:

Renamed LOCKWOOD P.O. on 1st January 1854;

Closed 1st January 1855;

Reopened as MOUNT ALEXANDER P.O. 6th August 1856;

REPLACED BY HARCOURT P.O. 27th February 1858.

Sorry I had to shout the bleedin' obvious :lol:

Mount Alexander was named after Alexander the Great. Mitchell had originally named it 'Mount Byng', after his uncle, but somewhere along the line Admiral (Lord) Byng fell from favour, and it was renamed. In the next few years, about half a dozen squatters arrived in the area, taking up positions on the basalt plains that surrounded the hills.

When Sam Hawking (or Hawkin) opened his little inn at the base of the 'Lockwood Range' (at the southern end of Mount Alexander), there were very few customers apart from the shepherds working for the scattered runs in the area. Ham's 1847 map shows a single track leading to his inn, and there it stops.

It begs the question of why an official post office was opened there, then, when there were so few settlers. My personal theory is that one (at least) of those few, a Mr. Alexander Fullerton Mollison, may have had a say in the matter. He was very active in the separatist movement throughout the 1840s.

Bill Purves stated he had never seen a pre-stamp cover (although he did have examples of "Mt. Alexander" from 1853, AFTER the gold fields opened), and even the butterfly and barred oval cancels are uncommon.

By 1849 there was a track over the top of Mount Alexander which led on Serpentine Creek, but still very few settlers. Here is not the time to go into what happened at Mount Alexander in 1851 - entire LIBRARIES have been written about that! But in the early 1850s, there were whole pages of the Gazette issues devoted to the unclaimed letters lying at the Mount Alexander Post Office.

It was a blunder on the part of the postal department to change the name Mount Alexander to Lockwood in 1854, as they soon found to their cost. A tidy little hamlet of the same name had been mushrooming about 15 miles up the road, whose mails were being directed to the Porcupine Inn.

But it did take 12 months before the problem was rectified. So, the powers-that-be closed the Post Office while they sorted out the mess, and reopened it eighteen months later as Mount Alexander. It lasted a little over another eighteen months before all the business was shifted to Harcourt.

The original Mount Alexander Post Office was issued with butterfly 12, which has a 3R rating;

Image

And it was still alive and kicking when the barred ovals were issued in 1852. It got handed number 27 which has a 4R rating. Hugh Freeman notes there is a proving cover in the Latrobe Library manuscripts collection.

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Mount Alexander's barred numeral allocation, number 115, to my knowledge has still not been tied to a proving cover, although there are a couple of 'Mt. Alexander' datestamps in the 1857-58 era. The barred numeral has a 5R rating, and has two side-bars. Known as type 1B, it has finer numerals than the original batch of 103 delivered by George Mueller in 1855.

We will meet the 'other' Lockwood in another 7 years time (it opened in 1855). :D
FORESTS OLD, PASTURES NEW
"Truth is stranger than Fiction, but that is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." MARK TWAIN

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