Overview

French aviator Maurice Guillaux (1883–1917) made the first airmail flight in Australia, in 1914, in his Bleriot XI monoplane. The Melbourne to Sydney flight encompassed six stops and carried a cargo of souvenir postcards, official letters and a small number of parcels.

While Guillaux’s flight demonstrated the viability of airmail, it was essentially an exhibition flight rather than the beginning of the domestic airmail service in Australia. That milestone occurred seven years later, following the passing of the Air Navigation Act 1920 (which came into force in March 1921) and the subsequent call for tenders to operate a subsidised airmail and passenger service in the north-west of Western Australia. At the time, mail delivery in that part of the country was a monthly service that took around two weeks by steamship.

The tender was won by businessman and aviator Norman Brearley (1890–1989), who had served as a pilot during World War I. On winning the tender he established Western Australian Airways (WAA; renamed West Australia Airways in 1928), acquiring six Bristol Tourers for the weekly service between Geraldton and Derby, which took around three days, with stops at Carnarvon, Onslow, Roebourne, Port Headland and Broome. Qantas won second airmail contract a year later, in November 1922, which flew the inland Queensland route.

Sadly, 130 kilometres out of Geraldton on the service’s inaugural flight, on 5 December 1921, one of the Bristol Tourers crash-landed, killing the pilot and mechanic. This prompted the suspension of the service until much-needed work was carried out to improve the number and safety of landing grounds. A minor air service to Port Hedland was established on 22 February 1922 and the full service to Derby restarted on 6 April.

Technical specifications

Issue date
22 October 2021
Issue withdrawal date
30 April 2022
Denomination
$1.10 x 1
Stamp design
Lynda Warner
Product design
Lynda Warner
Paper: gummed
Tullis Russell
Printer
RA Printing
Printing process
Offset lithography
Stamp size (mm)
26 x 37.5
Sheetlet size (mm)
156 x 101
Perforations
14.6 x 13.86
Sheet layout
Sheetlet of 10
FDI Postmark
Geraldton WA 6530
FDI withdrawal date
24 November 2021

Stamp in this issue

$1.10 Bristol Tourer and route map

The stamp shows one the first planes used on the north-west route being refuelled at Carnarvon. A mail bag can be seen under the aircraft. The photograph is from the collections of the State Library of Western Australia. The map, housed in the National Library of Australia, indicates the 2,000-kilometre route between Geraldton and Derby, showing the scheduled stops en route.

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Stamp:

Single First Regular Airmail Gummed Stamp

The single First Regular Airmail $1.10 gummed stamp is designed by Lynda Warner.

Sheetlet pack:

First Regular Airmail Sheetlet Pack

The First Regular Airmail sheetlet pack contains the sheetlet of 10 x $1.10 stamps from the stamp issue, presented in high quality folder.

Sheetlet:

Sheetlet of 10x First Regular Airmail Stamps

This gummed sheetlet contains 10 x $1.10 stamps from the First Regular Airmail stamp issue.

Maxicard:

First Regular Airmail Maxicard

The First Regular Airmail maxicard is a prepaid postcard with the single stamp from the stamp issue affixed and postmarked on the view side.

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This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.