Page 14


Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Release date 6 August 2013

barrel mail

Technical Details Issue date

6 August 2013

FDI withdrawal

4 September 2013


1 × 60c, 1 x $3

Stamp design

Melinda Coombes, Coombes Whitechurch Design

Product design

Lisa Christensen Australia Post Design Studio




Tullis Russell

Printing process


Stamp size

35mm × 35mm


14.226 × 14.226

Sheet layout

Module of 50

National postmark

Cocos (Keeling) Islands, WA 6799

From around 1909 mail and other essential items were delivered to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands within barrels lowered or dropped from passing P&O and Orient Line ships. The approaching liner would notify the cable station on Direction Island and staff members would collect the barrel from their jukongs. At the same time, outgoing mail was sealed


First day cover $3.90

in a tin can and attached to a line trailing from the ship making the drop. Some mail dispatched to and from the islands in this way carried a range of postal markings and cachets such as “Tin Can Mail” or “Orion Barrel” (in reference to the RMS Orion). A regular air service, first introduced in 1952, put an end to barrel and tin can mail in 1954.

Stamp Bulletin 323  
Stamp Bulletin 323  

July-August 2013