Saturday, April 26, 2014

Railway cancellations used on Queensland postage stamps

Railway cancellations used on Queensland postage stamps

Railways began to be constructed in Queensland from the 1860s onwards. In many cases, the post office in a particular town was established at the railway station. By 1893, 113 post offices were situated at railway stations.

From 1867 onwards, separate railway stamps were used for railway purposes (parcel and newspaper freight). These had a variety of manuscript and printed cancels for parcels, or a concentric ring cancellation for newspapers. Due to an increase in freight traffic, it was decided to introduce railway cancellers and in 1902, 10 bar numeral cancellers (the type 2 b with 4 bars in the middle) were issued to a large number of railway stations. The majority, but not all of them, had numerals 7 mm high. As well, at some stage special railway station barred numeral cancellers with 6 bars in the middle were also issued to railways stations for use with railway stamps. 

Given the co-location of many railway stations and post offices, it was inevitable that sometimes these railway cancellers, meant to be used on railway stamps only, were occasionally also used on Queensland postage stamps; especially as the postmaster was sometimes a member of the railway station staff and had access to both railway and postal cancellers. This usage has also been noted when the railway office was located with a receiving office, the use of the railway numeral being the only implement on hand to cancel postally used items.

Note that in the 1980s, many of these cancellers were subsequently sold to the public through the Brisbane railway shop and therefore some of the existing postal examples may be suspect.

A railway stamp with a newspaper concentric circle cancellation

Examples of the different types of parcel cancellers used on Queensland railway stamps. Courtesy of Dave Elsmore

Various types of railway station barred numeral cancellers used on Queensland railway stamps

Yarwun railway station barred numeral canceller (numeral 657) with 6 lines in the middle used on a Queensland postage stamp

Muckadilla rectangular railway numeral canceller (numeral 99) with 6 bars in the middle rated 4R. 

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