The New Hebrides is an archipelago of some 80 islands in the South Pacific Ocean, west of Fiji and north-east of New Caledonia. It is the continuation of the Solomon Islands to the south-east.
It was ruled jointly by Great Britain and France as a condominium until it gained independence as Vanuatu in 1980. The capital is Port-Vila, but it is often called Vila, especially by the British. The languages spoken are English, French and Bislama (a type of pigeon English).
In the late 1800s, Britain and France were both reluctant to take ownership of the New Hebrides islands because of the tough climate and the savage inhabitants. However, each ended up doing so to prevent the other from having total authority over their settlers, in 1906 forming a Condominium government, colloquially known as the "Pandemonium".
The controversial 1893 Military Franchise essays
exemplify just one of the power struggles
between French and British interests, in their efforts to gain supremacy in the archipelago.
This series of webpages tells the story of the New Hebrides using material from my collection, from the relocation of the NSW postal agency to Vila in 1892, till its independence as Vanuatu in 1980 and beyond (to 1992).
The pages will be based on information in my exhibit pages, but with more of a Social Philately (Display) slant.
British, then related French issues are shown within each general time period. The contrast of the British and French influences is shown through the dual printings of the stamps by the two governments, the currencies, watermarks and overprints, and the rates and routes of mail.
Cancellation and registration type numbers used refer to the
New Hebrides Cancellation Study 1892-1980 by P. Phillips, J. Crompton ,
Specimen type numbers used are those from the Specimen Stamps of the Crown Colonies 1857-1948 by Marcus Samuel.
Click on any thumbnail or link.
1.2. New Caledonia Postal Agency
1.3. Military Franchise Essays
1.4. Australasian New Hebrides Company (ANHCo) Local Issues
1.5 Syndicat Français des Nouvelles-Hébrides (SFNH) Local Issues
2.1. First British Condominium Overprints
2.2. French “NELLES HÉBRIDES” Essays
2.3. First French Condominium Overprints
2.4. Second British Condominium Overprints
3.2. First French Definitives (MCA and RF)
3.3. British and French Provisional Surcharges
3.4. British and French Provisional Surcharges
3.5 British and French Provisional Surcharges
4.1. British Dual Currency Definitives
4.2. French Dual Currency Definitives
5.1. British Gold Currency Definitives
5.2. French Gold Currency Definitives
5.3. France Libre Overprints
6.1. UPU and Coronation Issues
6.2. 1953 and 1956 Issues
6.3. 1957 Definitives
7.1. 1962 Definitives
7.2. Omnibus Issues
7.3. Other Issues
8.1. 1972 Definitives
8.2. 1977 Overprints
8.3. 1977 Map Definitives
8.4. Other Issues
9.1. 1970s Stampless Items
9.2. Ship Mail
9.3. Censored Mail
9.4. Historical Items and Ephemera
10.1. 1980 Map Definitives
10.2. 1980s Omnibus Issues
10.3. 1989 Flower Definitives
10.4. Other Issues
If you have any questions about these pages, please drop me a line at .