Today in Postal History

New Zealand to Australia
February 17, 1934

This first flight cover was prepared for the inaugural air mail flight from Auckland to Sydney.
It crossed about 1300 miles of the Tasman Sea.

The cover was specially printed noting the airplane
-VH-UXX "Faith in Australia" (an Avro X) - and the pilot - C. P. T. Ulm.
Ulm's crew were G.U. Allan and R. Boulton.
Ulm had flown the plane to New Zealand in November, 1933 and made good will tours.

(The VH-UXX and Ulm made a number of record and first flights.
Here is a stop in Queensland on the way to New Guinea.)

The cover was marked in typewriter with the routing PER 1ST TRANS-TASMAN MAIL.
It also bore three interesting cachet stamps.
There is a kiwi handstamp as well as a kookaburra.
There is also a circular date stamp prepared for the first flight.
(Note, it was not specific as to the day but rather provided only the month.
Such was the nature of early flying.)

Technically, this should be a January 16, 1934, cover as that is
when the cover was mailed to participate in the special flight.
The CDS is from Dunedin in the southern part of South Island.*

There is also an Auckland CDS for February 17 on the front.
There are three Sydney backstamps for the February 17 arrival.
It is interesting to note that the Sydney machine backstamp is a slogan: PREVENT | BUSH FIRES.
That sounds as appropriate today as then.

The stamp is a special New Zealand stamp with an overprint:
January 17 is the stamp's first day of issue as well.
The stamp was a reprinting of a 1931 7d airmail in a new color with the added overprint (SG 554).
15,000 sheets of 120 stamps were printed, of which 83,078 were issued and the rest were destroyed.
A total of 39,255 articles, including 1,677 registered, were flown.

*Thanks to Paul for this added information on this item.


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