The cover has a strip of four of the N.S.W. grey-blue ‘One Penny’ stamp which was overprinted with ‘Halfpenny’ and they were cancelled with 4 copies of SYDNEY/ FE 12/ 6.45 PM/ 91. It was addressed to A.J. Derrick Esqre, Architects, Yarra & Malon Sts, Geelong, Victoria. The sender was shown as D.A. Vindin & Co. 9 & 11 Victoria Arcade, Sydney, N.S.W. (Figure 1).
Albert J. Derrick’s life as an architect was associated with 2 heritage houses, and an obituary in The Brisbane Courier Saturday 26 December 1931, p. 13, gave the following information: The death occurred at Melbourne on Wednesday last of Mr. Albert J. Derrick, only brother of the late Mr. E.A. Derrick, of Brisbane and for many years past secretary of the Methodist Mission in Melbourne. This was followed by an ‘In Memory" paragraph in The Argus (Melbourne) on 8 January 1934, as follows: "A stained glass window dedicated to the memory of the late Mr. Albert James Derrick, who was secretary to the Central Mission for 35 years, was unveiled by Rev, C. Irving Benson at Wesley Church yesterday. The window was presented by the family of Mr. Derrick. Among those present were two sons, Mr. Edgar Derrick, superintendent of the Central Mission Boys’ Training Farm at Tally Ho, and Mr. Ron Derrick, principal of the Vavul Levu Boys Technical School, Fiji. The principal of the Gordon Institute of Technology (Mr. G.R. King) and Mr. Angus J. Laird represented Geelong interests." These two men in their boyhoods had been apprenticed to Mr. Derrick when he practiced as an architect in Geelong. The rest of the information applied to Mr. Derrick’s association with the church mission.
Further small amount of personal data on A.J. Derrick was found in the Australian Dictionary of Biography’s account of his son, Edgar Marsh Derrick who was the seventh child of his Victorian-born parents, Albert James Derrick, architect and founding secretary of the Central Methodist Mission, and his wife, Martha Evelyn nee Finlay. No date of birth has yet been found, and no date was given for Derrick’s giving up his architectural career, nor could I find information about his early interest in stamp collecting, other than the following in The Queenslander (Brisbane) on 1 October 1904, headed STAMPS AND THEIR COLLECTORS: The third exhibition in connection with the Philatelic Society of Victoria was held in Melbourne recently....Well-known lawyers, doctors, clergymen, civil servants, and merchants could be recognised amongst those who had gathered among the frames in which the exhibits were shown.....The "Hobart Town Gazette"of 21 March 1829, was forwarded by Mr. A.J. Derrick. This showed the 2d. newspaper duty stamp imposed by Governor Arthur in 1827, for the purpose of ‘restricting the liberty of the Press.’ The value of the collections shown in the room was put down as £15,000."
Additional information was found in The Argus (Melbourne) 11 August 1928 concerning King George V’s postage stamps at London’s Philatelic Society Congress of 2 July 1928, and there was a significant statement about Mr. Derrick, as follows: "During the Congress the name of Mr. A.J. Derrick, the Australian collector, was inscribed upon the roll of distinguished philatelists. He owns remarkable collections of Victorian, Cape Colony, French, Dutch and Belgian stamps."
In October 1928, A.J. Derrick was unanimously appointed President of the fourth Australian and New Zealand Philatelic Congress and, as the Life Honorary President of the Philatelic Society of Victoria he wrote a book about the Society, ‘The Philatelic Society of Victoria, 1892-1926: a history written at the request of the Society.’ The Prelude from this book as well as a photo of Albert James Derrick are seen in Figures 2 & 3.
The Australian Stamp Journal Jan 12, 1932, p. 5, published an obituary on Derrick, describing him as well-known doyen of Victorian philatelists who had an interest in stamps over 58 years. He had contributed largely to the Australian philatelic press, with his earliest writings in Vindin’s Philatelic Monthly. He was described as "a keen student of all Australian issues, though the stamps of Victoria were his favourites. In recent years he was the author of several important articles on the stamps of Fiji. Derrick disposed of his first collection in 1900 and then formed a general collection with specialised sections of the Australian States, Fiji and the Cape of Good Hope. He was a foundation member of the Philatelic Society of Victoria where he succeeded David H. Hill as life honorary president in 1926. He was honoured in 1928 when the Philatelic Congress of Great Britain elected him to the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists. He had been in poor health for some time, and his death will come as a great shock to philatelists. A second obituary in the Australian Stamp Monthly of February 1, 1932, p. 42, stated that he had died on December 23, 1931, and this obituary was otherwise very similar to the previous one, with neither giving any personal details of his life.
The sender of the cover, Dawson A. Vindin was probably born in Sydney in 1868. He obviously developed an interest in stamps during childhood because at the tender age of 12 he joined the business of Edward Buckley, a stamp dealer at 7 Little George Street, Sydney. Buckley was possibly Australia’s first stamp dealer, as it is recorded that he was in business during the 1860s. In November 1879, Buckley published the New South Wales Stamp Collectors’ Magazine and this was followed by two more issues over the next 18 months.
In March 1882, Dawson Vindin took over Buckley’s business, which he moved to 88 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Now aged 13 or 14, Vindin had become Sydney’s principal stamp dealer. Not only that, but he also took on publishing a magazine. A new series of the New South Wales Stamp Collectors’ Magazine was launched in August 1882, but only one edition appeared. Vindin’s second effort was the New South Wales Philatelist. It was twice as successful, there being two numbers – November 1882 and January 1883. Both magazines depended greatly on articles culled from overseas journals.
All these journals, the first and second series of the New South Wales Stamp Collectors’ Magazine and the New South Wales Philatelist, are very rare. Complete files of each are in the Crawford collection in The British Library and a nearly complete holding is in the Royal Philatelic Society of Victoria library. A.J. Derrick wrote papers which were published by Vindin. A picture of Dawson Vindin is seen in Figure 4.
Addendum (October 2010): The front page of Vindin's Philatelic Monthly, April 20, 1894 is seen in Figure 5.
I acknowledge that the text and picture of Dawson Vindin in this paper was extracted from Richard Breckon’s much longer paper in The Philatelic Database, which can be found at http://www.philatelicdatabase.com . I can highly recommend it.
I received very valuable help from Renee Wilson, Reference Librarian, Information Services, National Library of Australia in researching Albert James Derrick. The Derrick obituaries in stamp journals were supplied by Richard Breckon and he also supplied a photostat of "The Philatelic Society of Victoria 1892-1926, A History written at the Request of the Society by A.J. Derrick" . This 94 page history of the Society, has valuable philatelic information unavailable elsewhere.