Thursday, 2 November 2017

I Have Not Played With My Stamps For Some Time,

but I still read articles about stamps,

 and was intrigued to read about the pigeon post, I term I have often heard of, but never knew that the first pigeon post took place in 1898 and 1899, the competing services began to use stamps of various designs, these were likely the world’s first airmail stamps, the pigeon post services continued to play out their drama (Parkin dropped out in 1899) until 1908, when underwater telegraph cables enabled telegraph service to the mainland,

the area served was New Zealand’s Great Barrier Island, an island about 60 miles away from the mainland city of Auckland, a pigeon post service flourished there for almost a decade, being one of the first and only commercial pigeon post services, several competing pigeon posts that served the island during these years also bear the distinction of being likely the first service in the world to produce a stamp specifically for airmail use, in November 1898, over time, stamps from the pigeon post have become prized by collectors,  

 the reason for the beginning of the service was a tragic one, a few years before it was established, in 1894, a steamship named the S.S. Wairarapa, en route from Sydney to Auckland, broke up on a reef near the island and sank, more than 140 passengers died, yet it took three days for news of the wreck to reach Auckland, the ship’s destination, the island clearly needed a better means of communicating with the mainland,

 but the idea for a pigeon post didn’t arise for another two years, writes Margo White for New Zealand Geographic, in 1896, a New Zealand Herald reporter who was attending an anniversary service for the deadly event filed his story to the mainland using a pigeon named Ariel, it took the bird, who was owned by an Auckland pigeon fancier named Walter Fricker, less than two hours to reach the mainland, 

this event sparked a long tradition of pigeon mail to the island. Fricker started the Great Barrier Pigeongram Service in 1897, according to Barth Healey writing for The New York Times, the pigeongram service ended in 1908, when a telegraph cable was laid, so I now what the original pigeon post was all about.

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