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Postal History of Fiji
The Postal History of Fiji
J.G. Rodger, edited by E.B. Proud
Postal History Publications Co., Heathfield, 1999
ISBN 1 872465 15 3
This volume in Ted Proud’s postal history series runs to more than 500 pages, which is no mean achievement for a small pacific island territory. As is the custom in this series the work is split between a narrative of the postal history and a listing of the various postmarks that have been used over the period covered by the book up to 1970. The narrative is the work of Gordon Rodger, previously published in three separate volumes. The listing of postmarks follows the same format employed by Proud in other titles from his postal history series.
The narrative is authoritative being based on extensive research in the Fiji National Archives. It opens with a general history of the islands to provide context for what follows, this being a detailed account of the postal history commencing with the British Consular Post Office from 1857. There are separate chapters on airmails and postal rates before the meat of the book which comprises histories of the various post offices and agencies around the islands and a listing of their postmarks. This includes date stamps, machine cancellations, registration hand stamps, ship letter marks, unpaid hand stamps and some instructional marks. Some unusual markings include the TPO, mobile post office, ship side and post office seals used as emergency cancellers. The listings are extensive but not complete. Not covered for example are official franks from the various government departments and censor marks.
In addition to the vast number of illustrated postmarks there are photos of many post offices and scenes of island life.
Although nearly twenty years old this book provides a comprehensive account of Fiji postal history up to 1970 and should be an essential part of any Fiji philatelist’s library.
Review by Charlie Mead FRPSL and Member of the Pacific Islands Study Circle