Notes from the Past

Pigeon Post III

A pigeon post similar to the one between Santa Catalina and Los Angeles was organized in New Zealand in 1897.  It received far greater notice from philatelists than did the Santa Catalina pigeon post.  Known as the Original Great Barrier Pigeongram Service, it was instituted to make up for the lack of communication between Auckland and the great Barrier Island, located in the Pacific Ocean some sixty-five miles northeast of Auckland.  The service began full operation in the fall of 1898, and within a year a rival organization had also begun calling itself the Great Barrier Pigeongram Agency.  Both firms competed for business over the same general route.

Messages sent by the great Barrier Island Pigeongram companies were written on flimsy, tissue-like forms and sealed with their own privately issued stamps.  Because of their rarity, both the stamps and flown messages are extremely valuable.  It is the use of adhesive stamps that distinguished the Great Barrier Island pigeon services and causes them to be well remembered by philatelists today.
 

- Donald B. Holme
- Air Mail -- an illustrated history 1793-1981
Published 1981

Posted March 18, 2000
 

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