Seapost -> Australian Paquebot Marks

Australian Paquebot Marks

By Mike Dovey

Until 1894 most mail entering or leaving Australia by mail boat would receive either a "ship letter" or a "loose ship letter" cancellation, the latter being a mark used exclusively in Australia and New Zealand. Following the new rules in 1894 a number of post offices began to use a "paquebot" cancellation while others continued to use the older style cancels.

PPC with Loose Ship Letter cancel
Cancel type 1342DD - The Loose Ship Letter cancel.

One such cancel is the Loose Ship Letter cancellation type 1342DD which was used at Adelaide and is only known as being used in 1902 and then in 1907 but could well have been used before the 1902 date.

Reverse of PPC with Boxed Paquebot Mark
Cancel type 1340C - The Boxed Paquebot Mark.

One of the first boxed paquebot marks was at Largs Bay from 1901- 1905. This boxed mark type 1340C was the same as the mark used just around the corner at Adelaide from 1903 until 1961, type 1340B. The Largs Bay cancellation is well known because vessels sailing to Melbourne and Sydney would deposit mail here to catch the train to Melbourne as it would arrive there much faster and vice versa. Mail carried on this line would receive an English Mails TPO mark. By 1907 this cancel and another at Largs Bay were discontinued and all mail was dealt with at Adelaide hence the longevity of the Adelaide mark.

Address side of PPC with Single Line Paquebot Mark
Cancel type 1393C - The Single Line Mark.

At the same time as the two above marks were first being used, Fremantle was one of the first ports in Australia to use a single line paquebot mark type 1393C, from 1902 until 1905. This mark was very short lived and the post office did manage to use a number of various cancellations (10) on mail over the next 30 years.

machine paquebot cancel on PPC
Cancel type 1464D - The Machine Cancellation.

In 1932, for a period of only two years, Perth introduced one of the earliest machine cancels and while the mark only lasted a short time here, other ports did have a better success rate as machine cancels introduced at Fremantle and Sydney in the 1930's lasted for well over 30 years.

Circular paquebot cancel on cover
Cancel type 1506AA - The Circular Cancellation.

During the period of time that machine cancels were being used, because of the quantity of mails being processed, Sydney began to use one of the earliest circular cancels type 1560AA, maybe to cover any mail the machine cancels could not cope with. It was used on a very regular basis until around 1964 when it was superseded by a new hexagonal mark.

Hexagonal paquebot mark on cover
Cancel type 1449B - The Hexagonal Mark.

While Sydney began to use a hexagonal cancel, Newcastle also introduced a similar type of mark, 1449B, in 1965. Although these two post offices were not the first to use such a mark the Newcastle mark is representative of a number of marks that sprang up in the 1960's in Australia.



All of the above cancellation type numbers are taken from Roger Hosking's "Paquebot Cancellations of the World". See also PAQUEBOT CANCELLATIONS OF THE WORLD 4th Edition By Mike Dovey & Keith Morris

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