Royal Reels: Gambling


I have seen surprising number of Australian covers and postcards posted interstate and particularly to the USA, but this one must be a relative rarity. It has a total postage of 2½d made up of a pair of red 1d KGV heads and a single green ½d KGV head postmarked with three copies of the KINGAROY/ T-12 NO 17/ QUEENSLAND [Type 1t (i)]. The cover is addressed to ‘Ia Esperanta, Teheran, Persia and there is a manuscript arabic notation written in indelible pencil, and there is a red OPENED BY CENSOR label folded over the left border (Figure 1).

There are six postmarks on the reverse all applied outside of Australia, and they are conveniently arranged in pairs in three rows. Reading from left to right, and top row to bottom row, a partial description can be given: F.P.O. (Foreign Post Office)/ NO 120/ 3 MAY 19 and F.P.O./ NO 110/ 2 MAY 19; (- – -)USHKODI/ 7 APR 19 and BAGDAD BASE POST OFFICE/ 21 APR 19/ (-)H.F.T.; BAGDAD/ 21 APR. 19 and TEHERAN (- – – – – – )/ 7 VI 19/ [arabic script]. In addition there is a red wax ‘seal’. (Figure 2).

Kingaroy, Queensland is a town which had a population 6362 and a shire with population 9902 (as quoted by The Cambridge Dictionary of Australian Places, R.& B. Appleton, 1992), in the south of the Burnett River District. The name is derived from the Aboriginal term meaning ‘small hungry black ant’. It was initially settled by timber-getters in the 1840s, and it is now best known for the growth of peanuts, but also navy beans, a variety of grains, and pork and beef. The former Queensland Premier Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen lived there from the age of two. I doubt that it could be described as a hub of Esperanto writers in Queensland (Figure 3).

I would say that 2 Cambridge Street, Willoughby, a printery in this northern suburb of Sydney might lay claim to Australian honours for dissemination of esperanto (the ‘international language for the intelligent men of the world’), for in the 1940s and 50’s it was the source of three covers to G. Alan Connor who was the editor in New York for the Amerika Esperantiste. He and his wife represented the Esperanto Association of North America in the IALA (International Auxiliary Language Association) meetings which involved linguists from major European countries and North America, with the notable absence of any Australian representation in the 1940s. George AlanConnor and his wife Doris Tappan Connor were the first 2 of the four authors of the 245 page Esperanto-English Dictionary English-Esperanto Dictionary in 1949. Three covers sent from the Willoughby printery to G.A. Connor in New York are shown in Figures 4, 5 & 6.

The delivery of the censored Kingaroy cover posted in November 1917 cover was significantly delayed by WWI on its journey from Queensland to Bagdad in April 1919 on its way to Tehran, Persia in June 1919. It would have been interesting to know how the Queensland military censor dealt with the Esperanto, for there would have been limited personnel who might have been capable of interpreting its contents.

Any help with the postmarks on the reverse of Figure1 would be greatly appreciated..

Categories: Mining, Postmarks