NORFOLK ISLAND is
situated in an isolated position in the Pacific Ocean. It
is some 1600 Kilometres east-north-east of Sydney, 1050 Kilometres northwest
of Auckland and 700 kilometres south of Noumea.
The island is about 8 kilometres long and five kilometres wide and the
surface is approximately 110 metres above sea level rising in the north-west
to the twin peaks of Mount Pitt and Mount Bates, both over 300 metres
To the south of the Island lie two small islands, Nepean Island less
than a kilometre away and Philip Island about seven kilometres distant.
Norfolk Island is of volcanic origin and may have been joined in the past
to both Lord Howe Island and New Zealand, as the flora and fauna have many
similarities with those of New Zealand and Polynesia.
Norfolk Island stamps
are sought after by many within the philatelic world, and the territory
has a long established and active participation in the collector market.
Tasmanian stamps were used on Norfolk Island from 1853 until 1856, but after
the abandonment of the convict settlement and the transfer of the Pitcairn
Islanders in 1856, postal services were practically non-existent on the Island
for the next 40 years, although New South Welsh stamps were used from 1877
until the early 1880's.
The first recorded
use of Norfolk Islands own distinctive postmarker ocurred on 13th March 1891
but there was little opportunity for it to be used, as postage stamps were
not available for purchase on the Island. The situation improved around
1898 when NSW stamps were placed on sale and this continued on until 1913
when they were supplanted by the first Commonwealth issue the Kangaroo series
About 1923, the first
of the unsuccessful efforts was made to obtain distinctive postage
stamps for Norfolk island, but the issue lapsed until 1937.Norfolk
Island secured final approval to have distinctive postage stamps in late
1939. The stamps were printed by the Note Printing Branch in Australia
in 1940, but because of wartime conditions the issue did not proceed.
In 1947 authorisation for the destruction of the printed stock was completed
but some were stolen before Destruction was completed and these subsequently
reached the philatelic market. They are readily distinguishable as they
are perf 11 while the initial issue of 1947 was perf 14.
During most of the
period of World War II Norfolk Island was garrisoned by New Zealand Army
and Airforce units which established their own postal service.
Norfolk Island assumed
full control of its postal affairs along with the first issue of Norfolk
Island stamps on 10 June 1947. Since then the territory has had complete
control and responsibility for its stamp issues. Designs are predominantly
of island interest and include convict heritage, pitcairn heritage, tourism,
local fauna and flora and special events.