On Tuesday 19th March the society welcomed Patrick Reid who gave a display of his Tasmania collection. Tasmania is an island 150 miles off the south coast of Australia, about three-quarters the size of Ireland. It was first settled in the 1800’s and soon became the destination for many of Great Britain’s convicts.
The first stamp for the colony was to tax the Hobart Town Gazette, introduced by the Governor who was unhappy with some of the press coverage. The first postmark for letters was a crown circle and Patrick had examples of these – letters were rated 2d for in town and 4d to the country.
Patrick then moved onto to the 1899-1912 pictorial issue – a set of eight stamps first printed in London by de la Rue. The Tasmanian government had a reputation of being careful with its money and so took possession of the printing plates along with the first consignment of the de la Rue stamps. Subsequent reprints were made using a range of printing processes, papers and perforators thus turning a simple set of stamps into a collecting field of its own.
We then turned to the revenue issue which has a picture of a platypus on it, and Patrick showed some elegant artists sketches and proofs – it is always interesting to see how a design changes from concept to the final version. We saw the stamp used both for revenue as well as for postage, and the plates were taken out of storage in the 1930’s to do a wage (income) tax stamp.
In 1898 Tasmania produced a set of 12 illustrated envelopes with a printed stamp, and we were shown a set of mint as well as used.
The penal colony was based in Port Arthur and we saw a range of postcards from its early days through its peak and then decline in the late 1800’s to its current status as an historical site.
We finished with railway stamps issued by the Tasmania Government Railway in 1d, 3d and 6d rates for parcels. Initially, farmers were charged 1d for return of empty milk churns while the breweries received this service for free – the outcry soon saw the farmers given the same service. The presentation finished with an unusual item: a wooden ‘Shell Motor Spirit’ crate lid bearing railway stamps.
Our next presentation evening will be on Tuesday 2nd April 2019 at 7:30pm at Hanwell Fields Community Centre when Dr. Malcolm Hughes will display his collection of ‘British Honduras and British Guiana’. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’, or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.