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Postal note specimens (79), paper, Great Britain/ Australian Colonies/ New Zealand, [1890]

Made 1890

From its modest beginnings since Isaac Nichols was appointed Australia’s first Postmaster in 1809, the Post Office (renamed Australia Post in 1975), has grown to become Australia’s largest business enterprise. This large collection contains many objects of significance documenting Australian postal history.

The earliest object in the collection is an Earnshaw clock known to have been used in Isaac Nichol’s post office in lower George Street Sydney from 1809.

The first street posting boxes we...


Object No.


Object Statement

Postal note specimens (79), paper, Great Britain/ Australian Colonies/ New Zealand, [1890]

Physical Description

Postal note specimens, Great Britain, Australian Colonies & New Zealand, paper, [1890]

1.Ten postal notes of Great Britain overprinted SPECIMEN and held together by a clip. Some are in poor condition.
2. Set of 10 postal notes of NSW, [1886-1896], loose
3. as 2
4. Ten New Zealand Postal notes marked SPECIMEN in manuscript, held together by a clip [1890]
5. Set of South Australian Postal Notes with 14 denominations, unnumbered and marked SPECIMEN in black, in booklet [1890]
6. as 5 but all numbered 00045 and marked SPECIMEN in red, cover becoming detached, [1890]
7. Set of eleven Victorian postal notes, [1890] overprinted SPECIMEN in green with variously shaped hole punches



Most postal notes were designed and printed by the respective government printers.

The South Australian postal notes have an aboriginal figure as the watermark, which is most unusual for the times. Others had lines or patterns as watermarks.

Most of these would have been sent to NSW when it joined the Universal Postal Union in 1891.





Postal notes (or postal orders) were introduced as a means of transmitting smaller amounts of currency within a country. They were sanctioned by the Universal Postal Union and upon joining this body, each colony was required to issue them. Money orders were later introduced for larger sums.


Credit Line

Gift of Australia Post, NSW Headquarters, 1998

Acquisition Date

15 January 1998

Cite this Object


Postal note specimens (79), paper, Great Britain/ Australian Colonies/ New Zealand, [1890] 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 April 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Postal note specimens (79), paper, Great Britain/ Australian Colonies/ New Zealand, [1890] |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 April 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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