MICHAEL HAMILTON
POSTAL HISTORY
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HRH Prince Alfred round-world-voyage ended by Fenian assassination bullet, Gibraltar postal history
1867 cover from Tinahely to W.H. Symes, HMS 'Galatea', Gibralter (sic) with pair GB QV 1d red Plate 84 and strip of three, single Plate 85 pmk'd Rathdrum "388" diamond numerals when Ireland was a part of Great Britain, Tinahely and Rathdrum backstamps for MR 16 67 with London MR 18 67 transit. Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Victoria's second son (1844-1900) was never expected to be King and joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman aged 12. In 1867 he commissioned and commanded the 'Galatea' for a voyage around the world which would include the first royal visit to Australia. On FE 26 1867 the 'Galatea' left Plymouth Sound for the Mediterranean with stops at Lisbon, Gibraltar (MR 14 to 26), Malta, a stay at Marseilles prior a crossing to Rio de Janeiro, returning via Tristan Da Cunha, staying at Cape of Good Hope prior onwards to Adelaide, South Australia with subsequent stays at Melbourne, Victoria and Tasmania. The tour was abruptly curtailed in Sydney NSW on MR 12 1868 when Henry James O'Farrell, a Fenian sympathiser, attempted to assassinate the Prince - the Duke fell forwards on his hands and knees exclaiming "Good God! I am shot; my back is broken". On board was surgeon James Young, M.D. and Assistant Surgeons William L. Powell and William H. Symes (1851-1933 of Tinahely), the two former names being mentioned as giving immediate assistance to His Royal Highness who was tended back to health by six recently arrived nurses trained by Florence Nightingale.
Full details of the voyage can be found in the 487 page book entitled "The Cruise of H.M.S. Galatea" by John Milner and Oswald Walters Brierly. Prince Alfred was the first serious stamp collector in the royal family. He sold his collection to King Edward VII who shared his enthusiasm, who in turn gave it to his son King George V. Keenly expanded by the latter the two collections became the basis of what is now the Royal Philatelic Collection.
£1250






THE SEARCH FOR EXPLORERS BURKE and WILLS, South Australia postal and social history
1862 cover to Mr. Edward Palmer, McKinlays Exploring Expedition, Adelaide G.P. Office with pair QV 1d (one defective corner) pmk'd PORT-AUGUSTA OC 6 62 with handstruck "UNCLAIMED", reverse GPO OC 8 1862/7 datestamp. Filing crease crosses adhesives as the unclaimed letter was placed in the accompanying "Returned Paid Letter" back to Mr. H. Mildred, Port Augusta making an exceptionally rare "round trip" pair. In 1859 the South Australian Government offered 2,000 for the first successful south-north crossing of the continent west of the 143rd line of longitude. In 1860-61 Robert O'Hara Burke and Willian John Wills led an ill-fated expedition of 19 men with the intention of crossing from Melbourne (south) to the Gulf of Carpentaria (north), approx. 2,000 miles. At that time most of the continent had not been explored by non-indigenous people. The south-north crossing was successful but both of the expedition leaders died on the return journey. Only one man, John King, made the eventual return to Melbourne. Six expeditions were sent to search for Burke and Wills. One left August 1861, under McKinlay, and found the remains of Charles Gray, one of the expedition, and a partially empty grave in the Cooper Creek area. McKinley sent part of his group back to report only to find that another expedition under Howitt, which had left June 1861, had already found the graves of both Burke and Wills in that same area. In December McKinley visited the site of the graves and then went on to explore the lakes region around Lake Moolionburinna. In February he left the Cooper region following Burke and Wills track to the Eyre Creek and the Gulf before turning east to a station on the Bowen River near Port Denison in Queensland, and the part returned by sea to Adelaide
Edward Palmer was the bullock driver with the McKinley led "South Australian Burke Relief Expedition". Accompanied by previously owned Sarah Murgatroyd's book THE DIG TREE, the extraordinary story of the ill-fated Burke and Wills Expedition (372 pages) and 150th anniversary commemorative stamps.
£1425
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