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CAPTAIN JOHN BISHOP, STOREKEEPER PORT LINCOLN, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

A series of nine covers addressed to the same person were seen over the period of 1856-1872, and a selection of these will be presented. Three of the earlier covers were addressed him as Captain in recognition of his sea-going life prior to his arrival in Australia in 1839, well before the arrival of the first cover. The first was simply addressed to Captn. Bishop, Port Lincoln. The imperforate pair of the deep green ‘ONE PENCE’ South Australia stamps had a red MR 29/ 1856/ ADELAIDE S Acancel. The reverse of the cover was not seen (Figure 1).

The second cover was addressed to Mr. John Bishop, Port Lincoln and the orange imperforate ‘TWO PENCE’ stamp of South Australia was postmarked with a blue PAID / MY 24/ 1859/ ADELAIDE S. A cancel and the reverse was not seen (Figure 2).

 

The third cover was addressed to Capt Bishop, Port Lincoln and the orange rouletted ‘TWO PENCE’ stamp was postmarked ADELAIDE/ 4/ JU 20/ 63/ S.A and the reverse was not seen (Figure 3).

The fourth cover was addressed to Messr Bishop & Weatherston, Pt. Lincoln and the two single orange ‘TWO PENCE’ stamps were postmarked with the duplex G.P.O. ADELAIDE/ R0/ DE 24/ 65/ S.A with the barred S. AUSTRALIA obliterator (Figure 4).

There was a faint arrival PORT LINCOLN/ DE 26/ S.A postmark on the cover’s reverse as well as a printed blue oval LUXMOORE & Co LIMITED/ WOOLBROKERS/ ADELAIDE on the flap (Figure 5).

Another cover was sent to the same company, but was addressed to Messrs Bishop & Watherstone, C/o a Bishop family member (son J.K., Joseph Kemp Bishop, born 28.6.1846), Port Lincoln and the blue FOUR PENCE stamp was postmarked G.P.O/ SP 10/ 72/ ADELAIDE (Figure 6).

Captain John Bishop was born on 7 July 1803 at Barnthorne Farm, Bisley, England to William Bishop and his wife Mary Vaill Bishop. John went to sea at an early age and eventually captained the 80 ton brig Dorset. He arrived into Adelaide on the Dorset on 26 January 1839 with his wife Mary, whom he had married at Bisley, England on 26 March 1838. After arrival in South Australia, he took up extensive land at Port Lincoln in 1839, as well as Boston Island, and the Bishop family ran the first store at Port Lincoln. Unfortunately his wife died at Port Lincoln on 26 May the next year and their daughter Elizabeth Bishop died the same year. At that time he was a store keeper at Port Lincoln and no information is known about the company of Bishop & Weatherstone.

His second marriage was to Esther Elizabeth Kemp on 18 August 1840 and they had six children from 1844 until 1862, 3 sons and 3 daughters. John Bishop died at Port Lincoln on 2 July 1865. His wife Esther died 26 March 1881 at Port Lincoln, aged 59. A picture of Captain John Bishop, described as a South Australian pioneer, and his gravestone are seen in is seen in Figures 7 & 8.

Addendum (August 2009): Boston Island (mentioned in the text) forms a natural breakwater to the harbour of Port Lincoln. In 1839 the island was divided into half acre lots that were given to people buying land in Port Lincoln. Around 1850, Mr. J. Watherston and John Bishop’s son, Joseph Kemp Bishop ran the island as a sheep property. Mr. Watherston had built a home there, and J.K. Bishop bought the whole property after the drowning death of Watherston and almost all his family. The Bishop family owned the property up till 1950.

 

I am indebted to Prue McDonald (S.L.S.A.) for most of the information on John Bishop.


 

 

 

 
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