Lanarkshire Philatelic Society


Mrs. Jean Osborne

"Papua New Guinea"


On Friday, 18th November, the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society was delighted to welcome Mrs. Jean Osborne, of Linlithgow and member of the Falkirk Philatelic Society, to their meeting.

She began by giving the information that New Guinea is a land of high mountains, dense rain forests, ravines and mines, thus making communications amongst the many tribal villages non-existent and this led to there being some 800 languages spoken!

The north east of the island was divided into two –

1. German New Guinea where, in 1901, German stamps – illustrating the Kaiser’s yacht – were overprinted with "Deutsch Neu-Guinea". Later new stamps for the country were printed.

At the beginning of the First World War Australia, feeling that Germany was "too near", sent a force into the country and overcame the Germans.  German New Guinea stamps were overprinted with G.R.I. (Georgius Rex Imperator) – as it was now administered from Australia. Eventually these stamps ran out and stamps of Marshall Island were now overprinted with G.R.I. and used.


2. South of this was British New Guinea – in 1901 stamp series with name British New Guinea and showing a Lakatoi (a local ship) were issued and in 1906 the name "Papua" was overprinted on to the same stamps. 

In 1942 with the Japanese invasion, the issue of stamps ceased and at the end of the war stamps of Australia were used until 1953.


In  1949 the "Papua and New Guinea Act 1949" meant that the title, "Territory of Papua and New Guinea" was now the legally accepted name of the country.

In 1952 definitive stamps with "Papua and New Guinea" were issued and in 1972 the "and" was dropped and the stamps now bore "Papua New Guinea".

On 16th September, 1975 the country was granted Independence  - and is now the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

Stamps on many themes were now issued – designs included Ships, Birds of Paradise. Flora and Fauna, Buildings, Nature (fish, butterflies etc) Headdresses etc.

In 1994 the country ran into financial difficulty and could not afford the cost of issuing new postage stamps – so for some time it used any available stamps that could be found and overprinted them with the value of the current postage rate.  Later it was again able to begin printing its own stamps – but on thinner paper and of much poorer quality.

To woo stamp collectors stamps and covers depicting Elvis Presley – who had never set foot on the island, nor was known there as a pop star – were issued – at which point Mrs. Osborne brought her purchasing and her display to an end!

Mike Cleary led members in giving warm thanks to Jean for giving such an informative talk and fascinating display.

Our next meeting in the Caledonian Bowling Club, Motherwell Road, Hamilton, is on Friday, 16th December, 2016, at 7:30pm when members will give their displays on the theme "Unfinished Business".

Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.