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96/150/1-86 Postcard (1 of 809), photograph mechanical print, 'Astral at Wallis Lake, Forster', Shell Series, paper, maker unknown, Australia, 1908. Click to enlarge.

Postcard 'Astral at Wallis Lake, Forster'

  • 1908
This 'Shell Series' postcard, postmarked 1908, was taken soon after the launch of J. and T. Miles' wooden steamer, 'Astral', on 20 April 1908 at Wallis Lake, Forster, on the New South Wales coast. The stern of 'Astral's' hull is towards the camera and she is yet to be fitted out. The steamer was launched from H. Miles's shipyard and christened by Miss Miles, daughter of the builder. She was 112 feet long, had a beam of 24 feet 6 inches and was intended for the Cape Hawke to Sydney trade. The 'Astral' was wrecked in 1924. In the foreground is a licenced fishing boat probably in the shallows to allow the operator to load his nets and other gear.

'Sydney Morning Herald', 20 April 1908, p.8.

Graeme Andrews OAM, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences volunteer under the supervision of Margaret Simpson, Curator, August 2016

This postcard is part of a collection made by Amy and Lindy Hall of West Maitland, New South Wales, between 1905 and 1925. Consisting of over 750 postcards, mainly of Australian and United Kingdom scenes, it was donated to the Museum by Cedric Bullard in the late 1960s. These postcards are among some of the earliest picture postcards produced by private companies in Australia. Even though the private printing of postcards was allowed in 1898, few were collected prior to the 1905 decision to divide the card, allowing a picture on the front and message and address on the back.

This change made it far more attractive to collect postcards and it is really from this date that Australian cards became part of the global trend of collecting and exchanging cards. The trend appears to have started during the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889, but these postcards represent the hey-day of early collecting in Australia. The collection contains examples published by well-known Australian photographers such as the Falk, Crown and Kerry Studios along with rarer examples produced by amateurs.

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, December, 2012

Picture Postcards in Australia, 1898-1920, David Cook


Object No.


Object Statement

Postcard (1 of 809), photograph mechanical print, 'Astral at Wallis Lake, Forster', Shell Series, paper, maker unknown, Australia, 1908

Physical Description

The front of the postcard features an image of Wallis Lake at Forster, New South Wales with boats moored near its banks. There are buildings and trees on the river banks. A handwritten cross in black ink marks the recently-launched hull of the steamer 'Astral' (often incorrectly referred to as 'Austral'), built at Miles Bros shipyard.

On the reverse of the postcard there is a message to the recipient 'Mrs W. Hall' from her daughter Mary inquiring after the health of 'dear old Arthie' and informing her that she had marked 'the new boat which was built here & launched a little while ago'. Printed on reverse 'MANUFACTURED IN AUSTRALIA' and 'SHELL SERIES'. In the top right corner on the reverse there is a 1 pence New South Wales postage stamp in red featuring the New South Wales coat of arms. Postmarked 22 July 1908.



86 mm


137 mm



  • 1908



This postcard was sent to Mrs William Hall, West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia in 1908.

Cite this Object


Postcard 'Astral at Wallis Lake, Forster' 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 14 April 2021, <https://ma.as/426975>


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