TPO01 - Ballart

 The railway from Melbourne to Geelong opened in June 1857 with service extended to Ballarat in 1862.  In October 1865, TPO1 began service along the route. In 1886, a direct rail link was established between Melbourne and Ballarat and TPO1 adopted this route in the early 1890s.

Stations served along the route include Little River, Lara, Geelong, Batesford, Meredith, Lal Lal, Yendon and Ballarat. In the 1890s service was brought to Melton, Bacchus March, and Wallan.

TPO's 2 and 10 also served along this route.


T01-R1 (Receiver)

This class of handstamp was used to cancel mail received directly at the mail van, regardless of the direction of travel.  A subsequent cancel is always found on the cover indicating the direction of travel (either uptrain or downtrain) which was applied when the letter was sorted into the proper mail bag.  The earliest date recorded is 1867 and the latest date is 1891. 


T01-U1 (Uptrain)

The first uptrain cancellation was the large oval, measuring 29mm in height.  The earliest recorded date is Feb 22, 1865 and the latest recorded date is July 8, 1877. TPO's 1 to 4 were issued this first-type handstamp.

My census records 20 covers with this cancellation.



T01-U2 (Uptrain)

The duplex cancellation is recorded from March 14, 1872 until April 21, 1877. Partial strikes that show only the TPO/1 portion can be separated from the TPO/1 type cancellations because it is an oval , not circular in shape, the letters are narrower and more closely spaced.

This is a rare strike.  I have recorded some examples on loose stamps, but none on cover.


T01-U3 (Uptrain)

The 22mm circle cancellation is recorded from March 25, 1878 until September 20, 1895.  TPO1 was terminated and no later examples of usage are known. It is a reasonably common strike with usage scattered across the 17 years in which is was used.


TO1-D1 (Downtrain)

The large oval type cancellation is recorded from December 18, 1874 until June 29, 1876.

My census includes only 4 covers with this cancellation.  Partial strikes on loose stamps are also very rare.



TO1-D2 (Downtrain)

The earliest date recorded is November 5, 1872 and the latest date recorded is 1878. Partial strikes can be isolated from the T01-R1 type as the letters TPO are closer, thinner and the bars form the shape of an oval.

This is a rare cancellation. I have not recorded any covers, and only a handful of strikes on loose stamps.


TO1-D3 (Downtrain)

The 22mm octagon type cancellation is first recorded on June 7, 1878 and the latest example seen is dated December 25, 1891.  This is 4 years before the TPO was withdrawn, making it possible that the downtrain services were ended earlier.

It is a scarce cancellation, though not as rare as the other downtrain types from this TPO.


 The Early and Late Record Dates shown are those published by Purves, or otherwise confirmed to me by various TPO collectors based on inventory in their respective collections.

Rarity factors shown have been deduced from the aggregate inventory of several major collections in this field, exceeding 10,000 strikes on loose stamps and 1050 covers in total; however, the statements on relative rarity are observations only and no warranty of accuracy shall be implied.

Reference: Victoria: The Travelling Post Offices and Their Markings (1865-1912) by JWRPurves (1979


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