10 August 2013

Barrel Mail..


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Date of Issue : 6 August 2013

A new stamp released by the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is dedicated to barrel mail. From around 1909 mail and other essential items were delivered to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands within barrels lowered or dropped from passing P&O and Orient Line ships. The approaching liner would notify the cable station on Direction Island and staff members would collect the barrel from their jukongs.

At the same time, outgoing mail was sealed in a tin can and attached to a line trailing from the ship making the drop. Some mail dispatched to and from the islands in this way carried a range of postal markings and cachets such as “Tin Can Mail” or “Orion Barrel” (in reference to the RMS Orion).


A regular air service, first introduced in 1952, put an end to barrel and tin can mail in 1954.

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