Saturday, December 17, 2011

150th Anniversary of Post Office in Rodrigues

The Mauritius Post issued on October 9, 2011, in the context of World Post Day and along with another stamp (HIV & AIDS Awareness), a Rs21 stamp to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Post Office in Rodrigues.

Rodrigues Island, which forms part of the republic of Mauritius, is situated at about 560 km to the North East of the mainland.  It is 109 km² in size and Port Mathurin is its administrative centre.

Prior to the opening of a post office in Rodrigues, the exchange of inter islands mails were carried out by shipmasters, outside any postal control.  In 1861, the administration of Rodrigues wrote the Postmaster General in Mauritius and requested for the establishment of a post office.  As private carrying of mails was illegal, the Postmaster General agreed to set up a post office.

The first post office in Rodrigues was opened on December 11, 1861 in Port Mathurin.  George Messiter, the then-Magistrate and Administrator of Rodrigues, acted as District Postmaster.  The conveyance of mails was effected by ship.  On the arrival of the vessel carrying mails and goods at the harbour, people all around the island converged to Port Mathurin.  This massive movement of people has become a folkloric event in Rodrigues.

The mails were then hand-delivered at "la criée" as depicted on the stamp, whereby an officer simply called the names of the addressees, outside the Port Mathurin Post Office, all day long!

With the advent of air transport between Mauritius and Rodrigues, mails , EMS and small packets are now conveyed by air, while the parcel service which has been re-engineered recently to increase the frequency of dispatch is still done by sea.

Cancelled-to-order block of four

Today there are 5 full fledge  post offices in Rodrigues, namely at Port Mathurin, La Ferme, Rivière Cocos, Mont Lubin and Grande Montagne.  All five post offices are counter automated.

In 2010, the Port Mathurin Post Office was transferred from the old Police Quarters to a modern and spacious building.  Renovation of other post offices and branding are under way.

Technical Details:
Release date: 09 OCT 2011
Design: Nitish Peechen
Illustration: La Criée
Printer: BDT Intl. Security Printing Ltd.
Process: Lithography
Size: 44.45 mm × 29.94 mm]
Number per sheet: 50 stamps set in 2 panes of 25
Perforation gauge: 14 × 2 cm
Gum: PVA
Courtesy: Rodrigues Regional Assembly

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