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Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 186 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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AUSTRALASIA, lb lb lb lb Commonwealth of Aus- tralia . 122,0 i,600,o 80,0 534,0 New Zealand, Fiji, &c. 56,0 753,0 40,0 333,0 Totals 178,0 2,353,0 120,0 867,0 Grand totals . 3,009,01 23,831,0 2,711,0 9,165,0 2,656,770; halfpenny packets, 12,439,377; newspapers, 473,346; and parcels, 248,526; 195,145 of these last were re-issued. Articles sent by the halfpenny post are destroyed at the head offices if they cannot be delivered; but the sender may have such articles returned if he writes a request to that effect on the outside of the packet, together with his name and address, and pays a second postage on the return of the packet. The number of registered letters and letters containing property sent through the post with insufficient addresses was 320,041. These letters contained £16,887 in cash and bank-notes, and £656,845 in bills, cheques, money orders, postal orders and stamps. The coin found loose in the post amounted to £1,380, as well as £12,272 in cheques and other forms of remittance. The table in opposite column shows the estimated weight of the mails (excluding parcels) exchanged with the Foreign British colonies and foreign countries in 1905-1906. Maus. The number of letters and post cards may be roughly taken at 40 to the lb. During the same year 2,474,003 parcels were despatched out of the United Kingdom, and 1,431,035 were received from the British colonies and other countries. Germany, with 356,423, received the largest number of any one country, and easily heads the list of countries from which parcels were imported into the United Kingdom, with 474,669, France coming next with 254,490. On the 1st of January 1889 a weekly all-sea service to the Australasian colonies was opened. The rates were 4d. per z oz. for letters, and 2d. for post cards, as compared Foreign and with 6d. and 3d. by the quicker route. In the Budget colonial of 1890 provision was made for a lower and uniform Letter rate of postage from the United Kingdom to India Rates. and the British colonies generally. The rates, which had hitherto varied from 21d. to 4d., 5d., or 6d. per z oz., were fixed at 22d. per a oz. The change took effect on the 1st of January 1891, and resulted at the outset in a loss of £roo,000 a year. The fourth postal union congress, which met at Vienna in May and June 1891 (third congress at Lisbon, February and March 1885), took a further step in the direction of uniformity, and on the 1st of October 1891 the 21d. rate was extended to foreign as well as colonial letters from the United Kingdom. The Australasian colonies gave their adhesion to the Union at this congress, and the Cape signified its adhesion at the next congress (Washington, May and June 1897), while British Bechuanaland and Rhodesia entered in 1900, and the whole of the British Empire is now included in the international union. Abyssinia, Afghanistan, Arabia, China and Morocco are the chief countries which remain outside. The rate was 22d. the first oz., and IZd. per oz. afterwards. Advantage was taken of the presence in England of special representatives of India and the principal British colonies to hold an imperial postal conference in London Imperial in June and July 1897, under the presidency of the pennypost. duke of Norfolk, postmaster-general. Chiefly at the instance of Canada the duke announced that on and from Christmas Day 1898 an imperial penny post would be established with such of the British colonies as were prepared to reciprocate. The new rates (1d. per z oz.), which had long been advocated by Mr Henniker Heaton, were adopted then or shortly afterwards by the countries within the empire, with the exceptions of Australasia and the Cape, where the 22d. rate remained unaltered. The Cape came afterwards into the scheme, and New Zealand joined in 1902. Australia did not see its way to make the necessary financial arrangements, but in 1905 agreed to receive without surcharge letters from other parts of the empire prepaid at 1d. per z oz. and reduced its outward postage to 2d. per z oz., raised to r oz. in 1907. In 1911 penny postage was adopted throughout the commonwealth and to the United Kingdom. Owing to the special relations existing between the governments of Egypt and the United Kingdom, penny postage for letters passing between the United Kingdom and Egypt and the Sudan was introduced in December 1905; and the Egyptian post office subsequently arranged for the adoption foreign) in different periods from the reorganization until 1905 of this rate with many of the British colonies. On the 1st of is as follows: October 1908 penny postage was established between Great Britain and the United States on the same lines as the imperial penny post. At the 1897 conference it was proposed that the parcel rates with British possessions should be lowered and simplified by the adoption of a triple scale for parcels exchanged by sea, namely, Is. Up to 3 lb, 2s. from 3 to 7 Ib, and 3s. from 7 to ii lb. This scale has been adopted by many of the British colonies. The parcel post has been gradually extended to nearly the whole civilized world, while the rates have in many cases been considerably reduced. The United States remained an exception, and in 1902 an agreement was concluded with the American Express Company for a parcel service. In April 1904 an official service was established with the United States post office, but the semi-official service is still maintained with the American Express Company. By the official service the limit of weight was 4 lb 6 oz., and the The decrease in the number of inland money orders till postage 2s. per parcel; by the semi-official service parcels up to 1890–1891 was due to the competition of postal orders, and to i i lb in weight may be sent, the rates ranging from 3s. to 6s. the reduction (Jan. 1, 1878) of the charge for registering a On the 1st of July 1908 the rates were revised. The limit of weight letter from 4d. to 2d.2 was increased to i i lb, the rate for a parcel being is. 6d. fora parcel up to 3 lb in weight, 2s. 6d. up to 7 lb, 3s. 6d. up to 9 Ib and In 1862 the issue of orders for larger sums was allowed: not 4s. 6d. for i i lb. exceeding £7, 9d.; not exceeding £ro, is. On the 1st of May 1871 a scale of charges was fixed as follows: On the 1st of January 1885 the post office at Malta was orders not exceeding ios., id.; not exceeding £1, 2d.; not exceeding transferred from the control of H.M. postmaster-general to that of the local administration, and a similar change was made as regards Gibraltar on the 1st of June 1896. Remarkable improvements have been effected in the speed and frequency of the mails sent abroad, and contracts are Foreign entered into from time to time with the various Mall mail steamship companies for additional or improved service. services. The transit charges for special trains conveying mails through France and Italy for Egypt, India, Australia and the Far East have been successively reduced until they now stand at the ordinary Postal Union transit rates. Mention should be made of the Army post office, which is now an essential accompaniment of military operations. On Army post the outbreak of hostilities in South Africa in 1899, Office the British post office supplied 10 officers and 392 Corps. men to deal with the mails of the forces, sell postage stamps, deal in postal orders, &c. Contingents were also sent by the Canadian, Australian, and Indian post offices. Including telegraphists and men of the army reserve, 3400 post office servants were sent to the front.
End of Article: AUSTRALASIA

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