Australasian New Hebrides Company

Organised in 1887, the company provided shipping and other services – including mail delivery – on steamers running between Australia and the New Hebrides, at intervals of about three weeks.

This provided a convenient mail service to almost sixty islands in the grouping, including Tonga. Unfortunately this service proved to be unprofitable, and the company closed down in 1899, when it entered into a contract with the Australian Post Office.

To pay the additional fees of this service, two stamps were created: a one pence black and lilac rose, and a two pence blue and red-brown. The design on both stamps showed the port of Vila in New Hebrides, with the company headquarters in the centre. The stamps were lithographed on heavy wove unwatermarked paper and rouletted, but are also known on a toned paper and with a ‘Specimen’ overprint.

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