Category: NEW SOUTH WALES - Postal History
1866 cover endorsed "Per SS Hero via/Torres Straits Batavia/& Marseilles", to Nottinghamshire with Perf 13 8d red-orange SG 167a (and a 2d stamp lost) tied by Sydney duplex of '66/JY31', fair 'WORKSOP/OC30/66' arrival b/s, repaired flap faults. A great rarity of maritime mail.
Hero was diverted from a Sydney-New Zealand service to succeed "Souchays" on the experimental Torres Strait service between Brisbane & Batavia, thence to Europe. Her first departure from Moreton Bay was scheduled for 4/8/1866. However, the propellor shaft seized & she had to be beached for repairs, finally departing 20/8/1866 & missing the French mailboat at Batavia. Colin Tabeart at pp367-8 states the only recorded cover endorsed for this service was dated at Sydney -/8/1866 with a Worksop arrival of OC21/66 indicating carriage from Sydney per P&O "Massilia", departed Alexandria 5/10/1866; arrived Southampton 20/10/1866.
The cover here - almost certainly from this same correspondence - arrived 9 days later . Our assessment is largely in line with Tabeart's reasoning: carried per "Hero" to Batavia, arriving 8/9/1866; then Dutch ship "Minister Franzen van den Putte" departed Batavia 15/9/1866, arrived Singapore 19/9/1866; then per French ship - probably in a closed bag - arriving Marseilles 28/10/1866. Colin Tabeart suggests carriage from Singapore per P&O but the extension dates from Galle do not conform to that theory. What is clear is that this is the first cover to be recorded per "Hero" via Torres Strait .
Postal History , MALAYA Straits Settlements , GREAT BRITAIN , Early Imperforate Stamps , Ship Mail , Disaster , NETHERLANDS INDIES , AUSTRALIA , NEW SOUTH WALES , AUSTRALIAN COLONIES General