The Manly Warringah Stamp Club

Meets at Manly-Warringah Rugby League Club Federal Parade, Brookvale

Online Meeting for 14th April 2020.

Members are invited to submit items of interest and recent acquisitions.
Email the details and scans to

Gloria Bradley
Attached is a cover for “Show and Tell.
I found it among my stuff and obviously kept it as it is beautifully cancelled, but has no stamp.  The cancel was put on the lovely “address of sender” label, and the letter obviously went through to the Zoo Friends without stamp!

Des Beechey

This is my contribution to our online meeting.
I have 8 Japanese WW2 postcards that need a good home.  They are unused cards that were apparently issued to Japanese soldiers, presumably for writing home.
I have had four of them translated and find they don’t say much. On the back  it just has printed  “Post card army postal”  and on the front is has “Letter from battle field  year month day”.

The other four, the pictorial cards, I haven’t had translated.

Ed Wolf,
The 1957-1959 “Mercy” Flights of the Royal Flying Doctor Service
Recently I acquired through a philatelic friend 5 sheets of roneoed paper produced by the Mercy flight committee after the event. As far as I know these facts have not been in general circulation withing the philatelic community which is why I have put pen to paper now.

The July 5, 1957 issue of the Australian Stamp Monthly brought to the attention of philatelists, through an advertisement, the existence of the Mercy Flight Committee.

The bold heading of the advertisement was Official Serviced First Day Covers and the fine print gave details of the proposed scheme. For the issue by the Postmaster General of a stamp for the Royal Flying Doctor Service on August 21, the committee would prepare Special Official First Day covers. In addition, under a slightly smaller bold heading of Mercy Flight Covers there was a second offering.

“Immediately the stamp has appeared the committee will be in a position to service Official Mercy Flight Covers. (Do not confuse these with First Day Covers). They will bear a beautiful cachet designed by James E. Lyle (designer of the Flying Doctor stamp) and will be carried on an actual Mercy flight and will be signed by the Doctor concerned.

Mercy Flight covers with Block of 4 7d. stamps, 8/6 each or 1 dollar U.S.A.”

Orders could be placed by writing to the Mr. G.A. Laker, Honorary Organising Secretary, Mercy Flight Committee, 23 Glen Street Moorooka, S.4 Queensland.

When the stamps were released, there was no difficulty in creating and producing the First Day covers promised. The Mercy Flight covers however were a different beast.

Accompanying flyers sent to prospective buyers of the covers stated “Orders are accepted on the distinct understanding that they will be supplied , carried and signed, as, and when convenient to the Flying Doctor Service, at whichever Flying Doctor Base is considered suitable at the time. No information until the flight is actually underway can be given as to the point of departure, but over a period of time it is hoped to run a flight from each of the twelve bases of the Flying Doctor Service.”

As will be seen the quantity of covers serviced decreased markedly with each subsequent flight leading to a cancellation of the service after three Mercy flights had been completed.

The chief organiser of the Mercy Flights was Reg “Fergie” Ferguson. He had been promoting the issue of a stamp for the Royal Flying Doctor for a number of years and it eventually bore fruit. An article in the RFDS Magazine of May 1999 by Christopher Ray sheds light on the principal character.

“In 1926, my father attended a small boarding school in Eastbourne, U.K. aged eight. He sat next to, and made friends with, an Australian boy whose parents sent him parcels from home. My father was given the stamps from these, and thus began a love of Australia which lasted until his death in 1996.

 Many friendships arose from a shared interest in philately, and one of these was a direct result of the issue of the Royal Flying Doctor Service stamp in 1957. The story begins in 1946, with a Flying Doctor mercy flight from Charleville, Queensland, to a Brisbane hospital with a very sick patient, part of whose war service had been spent as an Infantry Sergeant in Tobruk where he had been severely wounded. After a stay of eighteen months in hospital, undergoing six major operations, he was ready for a period of convalescence, during which time he was introduced to stamp collecting as a form of therapy. The patient’s name was Reg Ferguson.
Having been made aware of the lifesaving flight that had carried him to hospital at no cost to himself, he conceived the idea that a stamp featuring some aspect of the service could be a way of repaying in part the debt he owed. And being used on mail throughout the continent, would at least give the service some publicity, and could perhaps be used to generate some much needed finance as well. Reg’s perseverance and single mindedness is a story in itself, but it resulted in his enlisting the aid of another ex-service acquaintance, James E Lyle, the artist, to produce a symbolic design for the stamp in sufficient detail to submit to the Postmaster General.
Lyle had never before designed a stamp, nor did he know over-much about the work of the Flying Doctor Service. But with the guidance and suggestions from the grateful patient, there emerged the design of the background map of Australia with the Caduceus throwing the shadow of an aeroplane over the outback of the continent, symbolising a mantle of safety being spread over the inland through the medium of aviation and medicine that the service provides. The RFDS gave its willing approval for submission of the stamps design to the Postmaster General which was done through the aegis of a Federal Member of Parliament, himself an ex-Tobruk rat.
Months passed into years, during which the Federal Member persistently prodded the Postmaster General to keep alive the plea for the stamp and its significance to the whole of Australia. In May 1955, it was decided that the Lyle design would be fully considered along with others that had been submitted. At last, the concept of a stamp on the theme was officially recognised, and the customary procedure leading to the birth of a stamp was being followed. Other designs were submitted, but none so well fitted the subject as that of Lyle which, with minor modification, formed the basis of the issued stamp. It appeared on the 21st August 1957, bearing the new value of 7d. Nearly 66 000 000 of the stamps were issued over the next two years or so until the postal rate increases of October 1959.
 Ordinary postal use of the stamp could bring no financial benefit to the service, only publicity. James Lyle was enlisted again to design a special first day cover which could raise funds for the RFDS, and a separate cover with a more distinctive design which could be carried on actual mercy flights, at the discretion of the doctors involved, from each of the three Queensland bases of that time - Cloncurry, Charleville, and Charters Towers.
An application to purchase one of these covers was received by Reg Ferguson from my father and thus began a firm friendship which lasted until Reg’s death in November 1985 - his debt to the service having been repaid in full many years before. Reg stayed many times with my parents at our family house in Cambridge, and over the years we were also honoured by the presence of such notable Flying Doctor supporters as Reverend Fred McKay and Doctor Alan Vickers. My father’s study of the birth of the Flying Doctor stamp is now displayed at the RFDS Cairns Visitor Centre.
It is the memory of Reg and his friendship with my father, Derick Ray, that ensures the continued support of the RFDS from a distance even beyond the range of a Beechcraft! “

So we now have the story of Reg’s involvement in the production of the Mercy Flight covers but what has always intrigued me is the story behind each of the chosen Mercy flights. The following pages are direct copies of the information sheets .

That first Mercy flight has the pilot recorded in Eustis AAMC 1382 as John Webb when clearly it was Graham Arnold. This flight was the best promotion with 1855 covers being carried.

The second Mercy Flight was to and from Charleville as indicated by the cancellation on the covers but not so recorded on the official report by the Doctor who was only interested in the medical aspects of the flight. According to Eustis AAMC1400, there were 580 covers (a noticeable drop) carried unofficially by the aircraft which were posted on return at Charleville

The reverse of the cover addressed to the well known stamp dealer of the Royal Arcade in Sydney, was inscribed with this little message by Reg Ferguson.

The third and final Mercy flight AAMC 1403, was really a tour of the district over several days rather than a single mercy flight with only 290 covers being flown. Clearly the novelty had worn off  and there was no point in continuing with the promotion.

Dr.  Ben Haneman (he was at one time a RFDS Doctor at Broken Hill) was well known by Reg Ferguson who added his personal message “Well you are one aren’t you! Fergie” to the back of the envelope in pencil this time.

I hope that this has added some information to a fascinating sector of Australia Aerophilately.

Ed Wolf
March 2020

Graeme Morriss
I had started a one-frame entry for the Captain Cook show at Sutherland in May. Although the show has now been cancelled, I have decided
to finish the job.  I have done pages 2 to 9 so far. They are only printed out on scrap paper - good copy prints when all pages are finalised.
Here’s an image of page 2.

John Pearson
Here’s an item for the April on-line meeting of MWRLSC. I bought an Australian States collection a few weeks ago. It seemed to contain a choice copy of the Tasmanian 4d Courier. It has four good margins, a light corner postmark & no faults. I then tried to plate it & struggled until I realised that all was not as it seemed……..

Geoff Robertshaw

Hello from your UK member. Hope you are all doing OK and that the virus is not causing you too many problems.
I saw your note about the online meeting.
As you know I showed Lufthansa at Aeropex. I have now started to do Alitalia and hope to get it into some sort of shape by October.
I have just got some postcards and have attached a scan for the web page. Hope the members like them.
If you would like to see the completed presentation next year then I can arrange this for you.

Jeff Newman
A recent acquisition from Richard Abbott at Philas

Rod Sell
I run an online auction for the Australian Numismatic Society.  One of the members sent me some lots for a future auction.
The parcel arrived with all contents intact and in good condition.  I was interested to note a green tape with the words, Released from Biosecurity Control.  This was before the Corona Virus.

Inside was a form from the Biosecurity Control and Dept of Agriculture.
Click on image for a larger version.

and a Dept of Agriculture information sheet.