Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The red boxes, a mark of austral sovereignty

After a beautiful picture of Princess Royal on the British Royal Family Facebook page, a digging into postal activities in the Southern seas (the cold ones).

Note that the final part of the article was updated after publishing thank to information kindly provided by Stefan Heijtz.

While the new president of the Argentinian Nation, Mauricio Macri, visited the British Prime Minister last week, a member of the Windsor family finished her trip to the two oversea territories of the Falkland and the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

Let's conclude both leaders agreed they disagreed on these islands' future. Down under...
The Princess Royal inaugurated the renovated post office in Grytviken, South Georgia by unveiling its red box (Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands).
Princess Anne, daughter of the Queen, visited British proud citizens, scientists and went hiking in the local fauna and flora. Some acts of sovereignty were on schedule too.

In Grytviken, she unveiled the letter box of the renovated post office of this settlement founded by Norwegians, named by a Swede and inhabited by twenty people in 2008 (thirty if South Sandwichers are counted).

She paid homage to Sir Ernest Shackleton, by his tombstone. At the same time, let's remind the Royal Mail is celebrating the centenary of his failed Endurance expedition.
Princess Anne posted a souvenir card at the old post office in Fox Bay (Government House Falkland Islands, reproduced by The Royal Household).
Back in the Falkland, Anne mailed a postcard at Fox Bay, on the Western island (or Grande Malouine for the Frenchs). And that was the best place to do that. February 2016 issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly informed readers that the almost centenary post office of Fox Bay became a postal museum in March 2015!

The building housed a wireless station in 1918 whose operator was acting as a postman. In 1988, the postal operations were moved to the local store. In 2014, philatelist Stefan Heijtz bought the place and transformed it into a museum with Hugh Osborne's help, another great specialist of the Falkland philately.
Special postcard marking the 21st January event of the pilar box inauguration by Princess Anne (photograph by Government House Falkland Islands, forwarded by Stefan Heijtz).
Now back to the picture: the British Postal Museum & Archive sent a King Edward VII red pillar box to be used on special occasion... Found it! Princess Anne inaugurated the box and mail its first mail in its new location.

Some commemorative covers were produced and will be sold by the Falkland Islands Philatelic Study Group to abound the Group's Stefan Heitz research fund to help philatelic research and publication on the British Saint Pierre and Miquelon - a compliment from me.

To visit the museum, find and ask either Stefan Heitz or one Fox Bay agents.

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