This rather striking cover was sent from Queensland via Melbourne to Milo Cudmore Esq, 112 Leinster Road, Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland and the block of 5 blue ‘TWO PENCE’ stamps are cancelled with Rays ‘120' with a confirming unframed CAMBOOYA/ MY 2/ 1881/ QUEENSLAND alongside (Figure 1).
Unfortunately instead of the sender placing his own name and address on the reverse, the ms. ‘Via Melbourne’ and Milo Cudmore, with his full address in Dublin, Ireland are repeated. An unframed transit BRISBANE/ MY 2/ 81/ QUEENSLAND cancel was applied, but the most interesting feature is a partially obscured handstamp at the lower left, and it reads H & K PACT/ JU 22/ 9/ 1881 (Figure 2).
In spite of the fullness of the address very limited information has been found about Milo Cudmore. At two different sites, a Milo Cudmore was identified as a ‘Forwarding Agent, Dublin Ireland’ and at another site in the Dublin City Directory of 1850 the following was entered: ‘Cudmore, Milo 31 Upper Sackville St. (Grocers, tea dealers and coffee roasters).’ Only a small amount of information was found about Milo Cudmore and his family was found in the Brisbane Courier (Queensland) 3 November 1891, on page 4, Deaths: Cudmore – On the 11th July, at his father’s residence, Manister Hall, Leinster-road, Rathmines, Dublin Ireland, Dan, youngest son of Milo and R. Cudmore. There can be little doubt that this individual was the son of Milo Cudmore addressed on the cover.
Further information was obtained in another death notice in the local Dublin Ireland Limerick Chronicle of 21 July 1900: Cudmore– July 10, at his residence, 112 Leinster road, Rathmines, Dublin, Milo Cudmore, oldest son of the late Patrick Cudmore, Esq., Manister Lodge, County Limerick, in his 92nd year. My interpretation of these last two paragraphs is that I have definitely identified the Milo Cudmore addressed on the cover, and even more importantly 1t suggests that he had a relationship to a family in Australia, probably Queensland, and as well as possibly in the other Australian colonies, for his name’s appearance in the Brisbane Courier gives credence to this. I will explore this probability later after I describe the significance of the H & K Packet postmark on the reverse of the cover.
"Following the building of new roads and the Menai Bridge by Thomas Telford in 1801, Holyhead became the port for mail to be carried to Dublin, Ireland, and after 1818, to the new harbour at Howth, the harbour at Dublin being inaccessible at low tides. Completion of a new deep water jetty at Kingstown in 1827 saw the closure of Howth. In 1839, with the opening of the London & Birmingham Railway, Liverpool became the main port for mail to be sent over the Irish Sea to Kingstown. (Kingstown was originally called Dunleary until changed in honour of King George IV in 1827). It was always the intention of the Post Office to return services to Holyhead. With the building of the Chester to Holyhead Railway in 1848 the service was transferred from Liverpool."
"The Holyhead & Kingstown Packet service commenced in 1860 when a new contract was agreed and four vessels were put into service, all named after the four Irish provinces - Connaught, Leinster, Munster, & Ulster. During the 65 years of the service a variety of marks were used. Shown is an example of each one of them. However, there are a number of variables with many of the marks and the usages of each of the ‘index’ numbers." The first example is a clearer view of the same type of postmark, seen on the present cover’s reverse, which had an ‘index’ number of ‘9' and not the ‘1' as seen in this article’s first figure; and the article’s second figure shows a series of ‘H & K Packet’ markings (Figures 3 & 4).
The Australian Dictionary of Biography has 4 ‘finds’ concerning the Anglo-Irish Anglican-Catholic Cudmore family of which the father Daniel Michael Paul Cudmore(1811-1891) was described as a grazier and his sons as pastoralists. The family had extensive land holdings in Queensland, N.S.W., Victoria and South Australia. It may just be a coincidence that one of their properties in Queensland was named Milo. More research is needed before the connection between Milo Cudmore of Dublin, Ireland and the Australian family can be established.
Addendum (March 2010): Another H & K Packet cover has become available sent to another person, originally to London and redirected to Dublin. The front is spectacular on account of the six lilac 'TWO PENCE' stamps of Victoria with multiple duplexes of MELBOURNE/ 5 H/ MY 19/ 74 (Figure 5).
The reverse shows a red LONDON -EC/ ( )/ JY 11/ 74/ ( ) as well as the black H & K PACT/ A/ JY 12/ I/ 1874 (Figure 6).