air mails of new zealand

Site Contents

POWERED FLIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND - 1914-1919

J.W.H. SCOTLAND
CAPT. EUAN DICKSON: Canterbury (N.Z.) Aviation Company Ltd.
MR. GEORGE BOLT: Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd.


1914, March 6

J.W.H. SCOTLAND: FIRST FLIGHT TIMARU - CHRISTCHURCH: N.Z. LONG DISTANCE RECORD

It wasn't until 6 March 1914 that aircraft were used to deliver the first mail in New Zealand.
In 1914 the aviator J.W.H. Scotland, who had been making flights in the Invercargill and Gore areas, railed his 45hp. Caudron biplane to Timaru for an attempt on the New Zealand long distance flying record.
Scotland would attempt to fly from Timaru to Christchurch - 160kms to the north.

Scotland took off from Fraser Park, Timaru, on the morning of 6th March at 8.30am. and it is recorded that he dropped an "air mail" near the Temuka Railway Station - approximately 20kms north of Timaru.

One letter is known to exist, being written by Mr. Turner of Wellington and addressed to Mr. J.G. Andrews of Temuka.
Scotland made a request to Mr. Andrews to send to Wellington his book on the Zenith engine that powered Scotland's plane.
Mr. Turner went on to say: - "I am sending this letter by Mr. Scotland to be dropped at Temuka from his aeroplane on his flight from Timaru to Christchurch. This will be the first letter by aero post in New Zealand".
The letter also contained the signature of Mr. Scotland. This "mail" was of course entirely unofficial but is nevertheless of historical importance.

The aviator was forced to make an emergency landing at Orari, approximately 15 kms north of Temuka. And Mr. Andrews was called there to make repairs before the Caudron proceeded to Christchurch where Mr. Scotland arrived before an enthusiastic crowd at the Addington Showgrounds at 5 pm.
The distance of approximately 160 kms was flown in 2 hours, 5 minutes, actual flying time - an average speed of 78 kms per hour!



(Click map to get next map)

J.W.H. Scotland's historic Timaru-Temuka air drop -
N.Z. long distance record to Christchurch.


1919, 6 December

CANTERBURY (N.Z.) AVIATION COMPANY LTD: SPECIAL FLIGHT SOCKBURN-CHRISTCHURCH

Although the first New Zealand air mail flight arranged by the Post & Telegraph Department and therefore officially recognised, took place on 16th December, 1919, letters were actually carried by air ten days earlier. For on Saturday 6th December, 1919, an aeroplane belonging to the Canterbury Aviation Company and piloted by Capt. Euan Dickson (who later carried official mails for the Postal Department), left Sockburn Aerodrome at 11.45am. and after attracting considerable attention by stunting over Christchurch, eventually circled above Cathedral Square during the mid-day rush period, and dropped a number of envelopes which were addressed "To the Citizens of Christchurch", each containing a printed letter.

The flight had been arranged by the advertising manager of the Theatre Royal, Christchurch, and was intended to advertise the film "Sporting Life" which was to be screened at the theatre the following week. Mr. H. Lane of the theatre staff was carried as a passenger and he distributed the "mail".

The envelopes, in addition to the address, bore a picture of an aeroplane in the top right-hand corner and the inscription "FIRST AERIAL MAIL DELIVERY IN NEW ZEALAND", in the top left-hand corner.

At the top of the letter the inscription "AERIAL MAIL" appeared, with the picture of an aeroplane, and at the foot of the sheet was the advice:- "SAVE THIS as a souvenir of the First Aerial Mail delivered in Christchurch."

Officially of course, this mail had no standing, as no postage was paid, but envelopes are undoubtedly of interest to the collector, and to the extent that they were genuinely flown from Sockburn to Christchurch before delivery warrants mention.



1919, December 16

WALSH BROS. & DEXTER LTD: PIONEER EXPERIMENTAL FLIGHT FROM AUCKLAND TO DARGAVILLE & RETURN, CONSTITUTING THE FIRST OFFICIAL AIR MAIL FLIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND

In December, 1919, the Post & Telegraph Department recommended the Government authorise a trial flight:- "In order to investigate the practical utility of the conveyance of mail matter by air in New Zealand."


(Click map to get next map)

Auckland - Dargaville & Return


As soon as the necessary authority had been granted by Cabinet, the Department completed arrangements with Messrs. Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd., the proprietors of the New Zealand Flying School at Auckland, and it was decided that the pioneer flight should be between Auckland and Dargaville.

The project was advertised and special functions were arranged at both Auckland and Dargaville to mark the occasion.

The machine selected for the flight was a Boeing twin-float seaplane fitted with a 125hp. Hall-Scott engine. Mr. George Bolt was chosen as the pilot and, in accordance with the postal regulations, was sworn in at the Chief Post Office, Auckland, as an official mail carrier.

Mr. Leo Walsh, principal of the firm of Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd., accompanied the pilot as the passenger. The seaplane left the base at Kohimarama on the morning of the 16th December and arrived off the Launch Landing at Queen Street, Auckland, at 10.00am. Speeches were made and the loading of the mail bags was witnessed by a crowd of over 2,000 people.

At 10.15am. the plane took off and eventually reached Dargaville at 11.50am. Nearly all the residents of Dargaville turned out to welcome the airmen and as soon as the mail had been delivered to the postmaster, they were entertained at an official luncheon. The plane left again for Auckland at 3pm., alighting at the Launch Landing at 4.23pm.

No air mail fee was charged on letters carried and no special cachets were used, but senders were requested to endorse letters with the words "Per Aerial Mail," "By Air Mail" or similar inscription and where this had been omitted it was written on in manuscript by the postal officials. The mail from Auckland weighed 50 lbs. and was contained in three bags comprising 825 letters and 28lbs. of newspapers, whilst the mail from Dargaville weighed 54 lbs. and was also contained in three bags, being made up by 1,220 letters, 17 packets, and 9 newspapers.


Walsh Brothers' Boeing Seaplane

Walsh Brothers' Boeing Seaplane | Walsh Brothers | Walsh Brothers | Walsh Brothers

George Bolt | George Bolt | George Bolt | George Bolt

Richard Pearse | Richard Pearse | Richard Pearse

Captain Musick | Captain Musick | Captain Musick

Jean Batten | Jean Batten | Jean Batten | Jean Batten | Jean Batten


Top of Page




The information used on this site has been sourced
from the following three publications:


"THE AIR MAILS OF NEW ZEALAND, Volume One,
THE INTERNAL FLIGHTS"
(1897-1955)
by DOUGLAS A. WALKER

"AIRMAILS OF NEW ZEALAND, Volume Two,
THE OVERSEAS FLIGHTS
1928-1940"
by DOUGLAS A. WALKER

"THE NEW ZEALAND AIRMAIL CATALOGUE" Third Edition, 2009
(editor: Mike Shand) Author JAMES A. STAPLETON


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO THE PUBLISHER

Kind permission for their material to be used on this website
has been granted by:

THE AIR MAIL SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND Inc,
Box 29-144, Fendalton,
Christchurch,
New Zealand

Air Mail Society of New Zealand website

Monitored by: InternetSeer - Web Site Monitoring

Search Engine Submission - AddMe



Search Engine Submission & Optimization

Website search technology
courtesy FreeFind.com


Submit Your Site To The Web's Top 50 Search Engines for Free! free website search engine submission seo optimization META Tag Analyzer Quickregister.net free search engine submission service


Search Engine Optimization
and Free Submission

Look at the Internet Differently!



contact editor

Top

Dsignz by Petrie