Bendigo (Sandhurst) Railway and its Postal Ramifications
By David Cotton
On 20 October 1862 Sandhurst (Now Bendigo) was connected to the outside world by rail.
So now in 2012 we celebrate 150 years of rail service to Bendigo.
The Committee of the Bendigo Philatelic Society Inc.thought that we should emphasise this event to promote our Annual Stamp Fair in August of this year.
Fare paying rail passenger services started in England in 1830 between Liverpool and Manchester and mail was carried on this service almost immediately. It was soon evident that if mail was not only carried on the train but also sorted then delivery would be quicker so in 1838 a trial was run between Liverpool and Birmingham.
The success of this trial introduced the TPO..."Travelling Post Office".
Almost every country in the developed world took up the idea and this has spawned a mind boggling array of TPO post marks across the world.
In Victoria the TPO's began in 1866. Postmarks "Up Train" meaning to Melbourne and "Down Train" from Melbourne came into use There were 19 routes allocated so you can find TPO 1 through to TPO19. The Bendigo route is TPO 4. The last Victorian TPO ran in 1932.
All Victorian TPO postmarks are interesting to note and collect, Those on cover are very nice to find. As with most aspects of philately there are variations that have added value.
Basically when looking at a mix of older Victorian and Australian stamps both on and off cover it is worth looking for a TPO. They are not worth a fortune but are interesting collector pieces and worthy of historical note.
Here is a mix of examples:
More information on this can be obtained by Googling: "Stamps of Victoria"
Bendigo Rail Station Circa 1890