This somewhat dilapidated cover intrigued me, not only because of its origin and delivery site, but also because of the route it took from a Sydney suburb to the capital of the Baltic country, Estonia. The cover is registered with a torn blue Strawberry Hills, N.S.W. registration label and the total postage of 5d is made up of the 4d olive and 1d green KGV heads (both perf. 13½ x 12½, small multiple watermark). Both stamps are clearly postmarked STRAWBERRY HILLS/ 11 NO 31/ N.S.W., but the front has 3 additional and different in-transit postmarks: GLEBE/ 12 NO 31/ N.S.W., WILLIAM STREET/ 13 NO 31/ N.S.W as well as an arrival postmark of (TA)LLINN/ 12/ 12/ 31/ EESTI (Figure 1).

There is the red crossed stripe typical of registration and a label that obscures the original addressee & address. When the label was removed, the letter was originally sent to Mr. W. Derrd ?/ 1 Hereford Street/ Glebe Point, N.S.W., which accounts for the Glebe postmark.

In pencil, the following notation was added “Card Left/ to call/ 13/11/31”. Two additional markings were added: by pen “240 For( ) St, Darlinghurst (which accounts for the William Street postmark) and by purple indelible pencil “20? Wallace St” with no suburb attached (but see reverse of the cover).

The attached label (as in Figure 1) is a little hard to read: W. ?Devid, Verivaraya 18 6 –13/ Tallenn/ Estonia/ Europe, which accounts for the Tallinin, Eesti arrival postmark one month later. One presumes that the envelope was returned to the sender, who attached the label with the altered name and new address. No additional postage was added, for the 3d registration fee within Australia also applied for overseas mail right up to 1949. However the basic rate within Australia of 2d should have been increased to 3d for a 1 ounce letter, with a further 2d for each additional 1 ounce. No tax markings were applied.

The reverse has 10 separate postmarks, all but one circling around in the Sydney suburbs. The first is the Strawberry Hills (11 NO 31) and the letter was delivered and postmarked Glebe the same day, but not before it received two different REGISTERED/ F/ 11 NO 31A/ SYDNEY N.S.W. and a REGISTERED/ F/ 11 NO 31 B/ SYDNEY N.S.W. A smaller and later dated REGISTERED/ 12 NO 31 B/ SYDNEY N.S.W. and this was different to a small and even later dated REGISTERED/ A18 NO 31/ SYDNEY N.S.W postmark (Figure 2).

There were 2 different William Street postmarks, the first showing the time before the date – 3 30P 13 NO 31 – the second dated later, 18 NO 31, without the time. There was another suburb postmarked SOUTH KENSINGTON/ 13 NO 31/ N.S.W, which might account for the added and unaccounted for address of “20? Wallace St.” on the front. In summary the letter circulated in the Sydney suburbs from the 11th until the18th November before departing for Estonia which again shows the same Tallinn cancel of 22 DE 31, as on the front.

A map of Estonia with the capital city Tallinn is shown. It is separated from Finland to the north by the Gulf of Finland, with Russia to the east and Latvia to the south. The Baltic Sea separates Estonia from Sweden to the west (Figure 3).

This probably would not be classed as an exotic destination, but it is yet another example of a foreign destination, to which Australians wrote.

Categories: Places, Postmarks