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Tasmania – A Pictorial Journey

The beautiful 1899-1912 series of Pictorial stamps broke the mould of Colonial stamp issuing policy, not only in size, but colours and subject matter. The first series of 1899, was recess printed by De La Rue in London, and based on a series of Island photographic views taken by J.W. Beattie, a prominent local photographer, except for the 6d from a photo by S. Spurling. Later printings were produced locally by the litho process.

These issues have fascinated philatelists for generations, and because of their large size, they lend themselves to displaying full cancellations. The first series can occasionally be found with numeral postmarks and are generally scarce to rare, but this practice ceased in about August-September 1900. Thereon, circular date stamps were employed, and can be found from a wide range of Offices spanning Abbotsham through to Zeehan, together with Travelling Post Offices.

Upon looking through an old time accumulation of Pictorial “Office clippings”, that had remained untouched for decades, we were intrigued at some of the delightful names on the postmarks, what were these little Townships like ?, did they still exist ?, how did they get their names? Thanks to the internet we simply visit these far away and romantic sounding places from the comfort of our armchair, zoom down to street level, and even find the post offices that sent these gems for us to enjoy over a century later. This is postal history, this is fun, but more importantly, it can become a quest that can be applied to stamps of any county in the world, to research, find out about the people and places, and become the start of a new and exciting and often inexpensive sideline.

Some of the intriguing names that can be found on these Tasmanian stamps include:

ADVENTURE BAY - on Bruny Island, Abel Tasman tried to enter in 1642 but was driven off by a storm, Captain Furneaux named it after his ship HMS Adventure that stayed in the bay in 1773, after becoming separated from Captain Cook, and was later used as an anchorage by Cook in 1777. Even Captain Bligh of the Bounty used the bay for anchorage.

BISMARCK - named in 1881 by the German settlers attracted by the cheap land prices in the area, renamed Collinsvale at the start of World War 1.

BLACK SUGAR LOAF - a mountain near the north of the island, changed its name to Birralee.

FLINDERS ISLAND - in the Bass Strait, famous for its pre-history

MAGNET – silver mining township

PENGUIN – a timber town since 1861, named after the fairy penguins found along that stretch of the coast.

SNUG RIVER – named as a sheltered and secluded river inlet.

KINGS ISLAND – well, just check it out for yourself, as for me – I am off to the travel agents to book my flight !




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