Telephone: +44 (0)203 014 5103
Post Office & Philatelic Bureau
Tristan de Cunha
South Atlantic Ocean
(via Cape Town, Soth Africa)


(Please cut and paste required STAMP ITEM NUMBERS in the order form)


Tristan da Cunha is a remote group of volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean and the main island of that group. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. 

The territory consists of the main island of Tristan da Cunha itself, along with the smaller, uninhabited Nightingale Islands and the wildlife reserves of Inaccessible and Gough Islands.

The island which has a permanent population of around 300 people is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.



His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh 1921 – 2021

The Tristan da Cunha community were saddened to learn of the death of Prince Philip on 9th April 2021 and sent their sincere condolences to HM Queen Elizabeth and other members of the Royal Family.

The Chief Islander of Tristan da Cunha, Councillor James Glass, led tributes from the British south Atlantic archipelago:

"Prince Philip visited Tristan da Cunha in 1957. He steered the boat that brought him ashore, and islanders still recall the energy and generosity with which he engaged in activities in our village. He showed interest in our crafts and took part in a traditional dance. He unveiled the plaque that named our community centre the Prince Philip Hall.

His Royal Highness took a continuing interest in Tristan, which is the remotest settlement on earth. From across the miles, we send our deepest condolences to Her Majesty”.



His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh's visit to Tristan da Cunha on 17th January 1957 was the single most important social event in the island's history. Ever since then he showed a constant interest in the island and made a special contribution as a royal and loyal friend.

To this day his visit still holds a place in the hearts and memories of those who witnessed it.

Islanders recall his informality and his easy way of talking to people, as well as the efforts that the islanders went to in order to make HRH feel welcome.

HRH arrived on HM Royal Yacht Britannia during a long journey back from the 1956 Olympic Games that he had opened in Melbourne. He visited a thriving Tristan community which had been planning for this great day for many months. Despite recent wet weather the village was spruced up in his honour, houses were painted, welcome arch ways erected, and a full programme organised.

Five newly painted Tristan longboats put out to sea to welcome HM Yacht Britannia and Prince Philip to the island. As can be seen on the FDC, HRH took the tiller of the leading boat to arrive at the beach where he was welcomed by islanders in their Sunday best, women and girls gathered in bright printed dresses and headscarves on the plateau above whilst, on the beach below, the men in dark suits and ties were ready to haul the boats ashore. Cheers greeted His Royal Highness as he came ashore for a day which included visits to the Big Beach fishing factory and island homes to view knitwear being made and a display of local handicrafts.

At St Mary’s Church the Duke saw the organ given by Queen Mary and the White Ensign laid up from HMS Magpie (a frigate once under his command). The centrepiece of the day was the ceremony at the site of a new community hall, then a steel frame fixed to concrete foundations. After speeches of welcome from Administrator Pat Forsyth-Thompson and Chief Islander Willie Repetto, the Duke laid the first stone, (with a shilling under it, for luck) and accepted the gifts from the Island: for the Queen a beautiful model longboat, for Prince Philip, a knitted

island wool cardigan and an album of photographs, for Prince Charles, a model boat and blue fish-eye marbles, for Princess Anne a model spinning wheel, and for all of them pairs of colourful island socks. After the naming of the building 'Prince Philip Hall' there were visits to the hospital and island store.

A cheerful football match on the sloping cattle pasture ended with the score: Islanders 2 Britannia Crew 2. The Tristan football team has never had an away fixture! After tea, the Yacht's band played for an adults' dance, and His Royal Highness took part in the famous Tristan Pillow Dance.

Islanders were nervous and apprehensive prior to the Duke's visit, but his cheery interest and informality at once put everyone at ease.

 45p, 80p, £1.05, £2.30


Technical Details:-

Photographs 45p Courtesy of HRH Prince Philip and Reverend Philip Bell
80p, £1.05, £2.30 Getty Images
Designer Bee Design
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Process Stochastic Lithography
Perforation 13 ½ x 13 ¼ per 2cms
Stamp size 28 x 42mm
Sheet layout 10
Release date 23 September, 2021
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd


ST012277    His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh 1921 - 2021   Mint Set
ST012278    His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh 1921 - 2021   CTO Set
ST012279    His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh 1921 - 2021   FDC



NEW RELEASE 14th July 2021

Sharks Part 2



45p - Bluntnose Sixgilled Shark - (Hexanchus griseus)

The Bluntnose Sixgill shark is the largest of the hexanchoid sharks growing to 20 ft (6m) in length and is often called cow shark. It is of ancient lineage, with more of its closest relatives being fossil sharks from the Triassic period than living today. It is found in tropical and temperate waters worldwide. This stout shark with six-gill slits has a short blunt snout, a broadly rounded mouth and its single dorsal fin is set far back near the caudal fin. It has small green eyes and broad comb-like teeth, brown to dark grey above fading to greyish-white on its belly, and its fins have thin white trailing edges.

Adults generally stay deeper than 330ft (100m), while juveniles can often be found in shallower water. The diet of Bluntnose Sixgill sharks varies widely with region, feeding on a wide range of marine species, including other sharks, rays, chimaeras, bony fish, squids, crabs, shrimps, carrion and even seals. Although they have been reported as being sluggish in nature, their body structure enables them to reach remarkable speeds for chasing and effectively capturing prey.

They are probably nocturnal hunters, and are usually seen near the surface only at night. In 1989 an immature male was caught at Gough Island. Bluntnose Sixgill sharks were seen on 30% of camera drops from 190-1027m by the National Geographic Pristine Seas expedition to Tristan in 2017. This species is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.


70p - Great Lanternshark - (Etmopterus princeps)

Lanternsharks are a difficult to identify species, and one caught at Inaccessible in 1993 by Capt. E. Stoffberg, of the M/V HEKLA, was provisionally identified as Great Lanternshark (Etmopterus princeps). This is a relatively small deepwater shark of the family Etmopterida and is normally found in the North and Eastern Central Atlantic.

This species of shark is small and stout, growing up to 30 in (75cm), and is uniformly dark blackish brown. It has a moderately long, broad tail and long gill slits. The dorsal fins have an associated spine but it lacks an anal fin. Great Lanternsharks can be found in waters over 4000 m deep, but they typically swim between 300 to over 2000 m deep. Lanternsharks (Etmopterus - not identified to species level) were seen on 56% of camera drops from 714-1404m by the National Geographic Pristine Seas expedition to Tristan in 2017. Listed as Least Concern very little is known about the life and habits of this deepwater shark.


£1.10 - Shortfin Mako - (Isurus oxyrinchus)

The world’s fastest shark, the Shortfin Mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), commonly referred to as the mako shark, blue pointer or bonito shark, is a large mackerel shark, which can reach a size of 13ft (4 m) in length. It can be found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters, both inshore and in the open ocean. It is cylindrical in shape, with a vertically elongated tail.

This species exhibits countershading, with brilliant metallic blue coloration dorsally and white ventrally, which helps to camouflage it from both above and below in the open ocean. The shortfin mako is highly migratory and is known to travel long distances. It inhabits depths from the surface down to 490ft (150m) feeding mainly upon cephalopods and bony fish including mackerels, tunas, bonitos, and swordfish, but it may also eat other sharks, porpoises, sea turtles, and seabirds.

Makos are said to be common in Tristan waters, although seldom landed; they are occasionally seen leaping from the water, and are known 

to display aggressive behaviour towards boats. The National Geographic Pristine Seas expedition in 2017 tagged a Shortfin mako shark, and another was tagged by the Tristan Fisheries and Conservation Departments. Mako sharks are globally endangered due to their being heavily targeted for their fins.


£1.50 - Great White Shark - (Carcharodon carcharias)

The Great White shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is the largest predatory fish in the world, occurring worldwide in tropical and temperate seas. It has an extremely muscular body, capable of chasing down some of the fastest swimmers in the ocean. Reaching lengths of up to 20 feet (6 m) and weights of several tons, the great white’s body is perfectly adapted to a life of predation. It has a conical snout, pitch black eyes, a heavy, torpedo-shaped body, and a crescent-shaped, nearly equal-lobed tail fin that is supported on each side by a keel.

The great white swims in a stiff-bodied, tuna-like fashion, unlike the sinuous whole-bodied swimming stroke of most sharks. As they grow, they can take larger prey, and the largest, mature individuals prefer to eat marine mammals, like seals and sea lions. Great whites are known to take very deep dives, probably to feed on slow-moving fishes and squids in the cold waters of the deep sea. They are known to be highly migratory, with some individuals making migrations as long as 12,000 miles (20,000 km) in under a year.

A 16ft (4.9 m) long great white shark was caught at Gough Island in a depth of 51 m on July 1, 1993 by Captain Ben Herwig and Mike Saunders of the MFV TRISTANIA 11 According to Captain Herwig, the stomach of this shark contained seals and 7 “bluefish" [Hyperoglyphe antarctica]. The Great White is listed as Vulnerable with its two biggest threats being overfishing and being accidentally caught in fishing nets.


Technical details:

Designer Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic Lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 14 July, 2021

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



ST012265   Sharks Part 2  Mint Set
ST012266   Sharks Part 2  CTO Set
ST012267   Sharks Part 2   FDC




Recent Releases

60th & 50th Anniversaries of Decimalisation on Tristan

If it was not already unique enough, Tristan da Cunha is the only territory to have dedecimalised its currency, although this move was forced on it by circumstances rather than being a deliberate choice. And yet, for nearly a hundred years, Tristanians used no money at all.

Early Trade

The aim of Tristan’s original settlers in the 1810s was to make money by sealing and supplying passing vessels with fresh water and provisions. This trade involved some barter and whatever currencies ships’ captains had to hand – mainly British pounds and US dollars.



Trade thrived while southbound American whalers and eastbound British sailing clippers called at the island, but once the whaling grounds were fished out and steamers could take a shortcut through the Suez Canal the business failed. Although some cash changed hands, barter became the main form of commence, and imported goods were often in short supply.

There was virtually no money on the island by the end of the 19th century. Tristan became reliant in the early 20th century on supplies and materials sent by well-wishers, including Douglas & Sir Irving Gane’s Tristan da Cunha Fund. The current ‘governor’ or SPG missionary ensured that donations were distributed fairly.

Tristanians had no use for money among themselves. Each family was expected to grow, rear, fish and hunt for its own food. If they didn’t or couldn’t, no one would be allowed to starve, but food could not be bought and would not be sold. Whenever labour was required, for instance for building or thatching, the beneficiary simply provided the gang with three meals during the work day, which still happens. 

Royal Navy Chits

When the Royal Navy station was established on the island in 1942, they needed the help of the local population with construction and housekeeping. After some teething troubles, a system of payment for work using typed paper chits to the value of one shilling (1/-) and two shillings (2/-) was set up at the first Island Council meeting on 2nd December 1943, as was a Savings Bank. Chits could be exchanged for stores, materials, shoes, boots and timber at the station canteen. Islanders could also use South African or British cash, which were interchangeable, as they were both sterling currencies. A proper supply of cash did not reach Tristan until 1944, but as the first Colonial Office Administrator Hugh Elliott later discovered,
“...even the George IV crown piece and the ancient Dutch and American cents returned to circulation from the toe of their respective stockings.”

So unfamiliar was the concept of money, lectures were held for the islanders on “currency” at the school.

Potatoes As Currency 

The potato as a unit of currency came to represent Tristan’s barter economy during World War II, largely thanks to Allan Crawford. He was an old friend of Tristan, who was brought in to liaise with the islanders, and who published the first Tristan Times on 6th March 1943. This was a single typed foolscap sheet of world and island news. In the absence of cash, the Tristan Times bore the unusual price “3 cigarettes or 4 big potatoes”.

There was still precious little cash around in the late 1940s, when Allan Crawford was helping the island petition for the introduction of postage stamps. He famously printed promotional essays priced in potatoes and pence – 4 potatoes to the penny. One cannot help but imagine people wandering around with pockets stuffed with potatoes as loose change!

Real Cash And First Decimalisation

Apparently, islanders abandoned money after the Navy left in 1947, although savings remained in the savings bank. However, money returned to the island with the inauguration of the crawfish industry. When HMSAS Transvaal carried South African factory personnel to Tristan in 1949, it also brought bags of South African money in the ship’s safe – the first appreciable amount of cash to be introduced to the island.

Like today, the work was seasonal and not a full time occupation, but with regular supply ships and the opening of the store, there was a range of foods, household goods and material to spend money on.

At some point in the 1950s, South African money was withdrawn, leaving just British currency. However, the Cape Town-based fishing company's finances and most purchases for the island store were still in South African currency.

South Africa decided to decimalise its currency in 1961, the Rand of 100 cents being pegged at 2 Rand to the Pound Sterling. It was therefore decided to align Tristan's currency to South Africa for ease of administration.

Administrator Peter Day reissued Tristan’s postage stamps on 15th April 1961, reprinted with the values in Rand and cents, while his successor Peter Wheeler oversaw the replacement of British pounds, shillings and pence with 4,000 Rand in South African notes and coins. Wheeler led a briefing session in the Prince Philip Hall and remembered the islanders taking to the new system “like ducks to water”.

Second Decimalisation

Tristan da Cunha’s brush with decimal currency only lasted a few months, because the volcanic eruption of October 1961 caused everyone to be evacuated to England and back to pounds, shillings and pence. 

To complicate matters, South Africa left the British Commonwealth on 31st May 1961 because of Apartheid. The move to the Rand could therefore have become a problem for Tristan had the volcano not intervened. The political situation was unresolved in 1963 when the islanders returned to Tristan, so when they resettled, they continued using English money.

Peter Day says that when he returned as Administrator during resettlement in April 1963, he carried ashore £2,000 in cash, which kept the island going for the next two years!

The United Kingdom subsequently decimalised the British pound in 1971 – 100 New Pence to the pound. Tristan da Cunha therefore went through a second decimalisation exercise at the same time, using British coins and notes. The existing stamps were overprinted and re-issued with new decimal values.

Money on Tristan Today

Although Tristan da Cunha is part of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, it does not use St Helena notes and coins, but continues to use English currency. The savings bank still operates, and international banking is done through Crown Agents. There are no credit or debit card facilities on Tristan, because the customer base is too small for this to be viable.

Islanders still have little use for money among themselves, although nowadays islanders will sell beef to each other when an animal is slaughtered, and crisps, eggs, vegetables and meat as well as cooked food are sold, mainly in the shop and pub.

Collectible Tristan Coins

While Tristan does not issue its own coins for daily use, it is allowed to issue commemorative coins for collectors and investors. A steady stream of issues are produced and marketed under contract with The Commonwealth Mint, making a significant contribution to the island’s revenue. These coins are mostly gold and silver, and with some occasional exceptional pieces such as the Wedgwood Jasperware £5 coin issued in 2018, and the dome shaped Moon coin issued in 2019. All the coins are legal tender on the island; although as limited edition commemorative coins, their face value is lower than their bullion value or their value to collectors.

Peter Millington

Description of the Stamps 

50p – Early Trade with Ships – Featuring a British gold sovereign and a United States dollar of the 19th century period when the islanders sold goods and produce to passing ships, and bought (when they could not barter) necessaries such as tea, sugar and flour. The background shows a sailing ship off the coast of Tristan. 

90p – WWII Navy Station: Potatoes & Chits – Featuring one of the typed two shilling chits, redeemable at the canteen, used to pay the Tristanians who helped to build the Royal Navy Station, and a South African pound note of the period. Potatoes could also be used to pay for some items. The background is an aerial view of station buildings taken after the war.

£1.15 – First Decimalisation 1961 – Featuring a South African pound note and two shilling piece as paid by the fishing company, and the corresponding two Rand note and 20 cent piece when decimalised currency was introduced in 1961. The background shows the first fishing factory at Big Beach, which was swept away by the volcano.

£2.00 – Second Decimalisation 1971 – Featuring a Bank of England pound note from the 1960s & 70s, along with a British two shilling piece and the corresponding ten new pence piece from when the UK decimalised in 1971 – also the smaller 10p piece used today. The background shows Calshot Harbour (built after the resettlement), the current fishing factory and the settlement’s “central business district”.

FDC – Collectible Tristan Coins – Featuring a selection of commemorative coins (to scale) issued for collectors and investors, including the Wedgwood Jasperware five pounds coin, a cupro-nickel five pound coin issued to commemorate the queen’s birthday in 2006, a gold square quarter sovereign issued in 2019, and a silver pound coin issued in 2020.


Technical details:

Designer Bee Design

Printer Cartor Security Printing

Process Stochastic Lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ¼ per 2cms

Stamp size 36 x 36mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release Date 26 May 2021

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



ST012262   60th and 50th Anniversaries of the Decimalisation of Tristan     Mint Set
ST012263   60th and 50th Anniversaries of the Decimalisation of Tristan     CTO Set
ST012264    60th and 50th Anniversaries of the Decimalisation of Tristan    FDC

95th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Tristan da Cunha Post Offic takes great pleasure in releasing a set of six stamps in celebration of The Queen’s 95th birthday.

The stamps will be released on Her Majesty’s actual birthday, 21 April. Each of the stamps depict key aspects of Her Majesty’s life, from a young Princess, to her Coronation and Marriage as well as managing to enjoy some Leisure time and Pageantry, out and about fulfilling her Royal Duties.



On her twenty-first birthday, 21 April 1947, Princess Elizabeth was with her parents and younger sister, Princess Margaret, on a tour of South Africa. In a speech broadcast on the radio from Cape Town, the Princess dedicated her life to the service of the Commonwealth. The theme of the stamp issue, “Devoted to your service”, is taken from that speech: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

This special issue is a collaboration between 11 postal administrations which sees the three Crown Dependencies, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, join The Bahamas and seven UK Overseas Territories, Ascension Island, British Antarctic Territory, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, and Tristan da Cunha to mark the birthday of the world’s longest reigning monarch.


  • 35p Princess. A beautiful portrait by Cecil Beaton of Princess Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, 1946. (Photo by PA Archive/PA Images).
  • 45p Coronation. A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial State Crown, after her Coronation 2 June 1953 in Westminster Abbey. (Photo by Sport and General/Barratts/EMPICS Archive via PA Images).
  • 50p Marriage. The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh stand next to a display of Spanish items from the Royal Collection during the state visit of Spanish King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia at Buckingham Palace in central London on July 12, 2017. (Photo by NEIL HALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images).
  • 70p Leisure. The Queen watching Highland Horses in the Copper Horse Arena during the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle in 2009. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images).
  • £1.10 Pageantry. Queen Elizabeth II, wearing the Imperial Crown, walks in procession through The Royal Gallery on her way to give her speech during the ceremonial state opening of Parliament in London 13 November 2002. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP WPA POOL/AFP via Getty Images).
  • £1.50 Royal Duty. Queen Elizabeth II arrives to unveil a memorial to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on the Mall, in central London, on February 24, 2009. Prince Charles paid a heartfelt tribute to his "darling grandmother" as the Queen unveiled the national memorial. (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images).
  • The FDC features two images of Her Majesty; a contemporary picture of the Queen who is fondly known throughout the world and a beautiful portrait, circa 1929, of the young Princess Elizabeth before it was realised that she would be acceding to the throne. (Photos via Getty Images).


Technical details:

Designer Bee Design

Printer Cartor Security Printing

Process Lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ¼ per 2cms

Stamp size 36 x 36mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 21 April, 2021

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd





The Sword Of Peace - December 2020

The Sword of Peace is a prestigious award conveying a very positive message. It was established by the British sword maker Wilkinson Sword in 1966 with the company presenting ceremonial swords to units of the Royal Navy (including the Royal Fleet Auxiliary), British Army, and Royal Air Force that had made the most outstanding contributions to good and friendly relations with communities at home or overseas. After Wilkinson stopped the production of swords in 2005, Firmin & Sons began sponsoring the award.

As part of the Naval Service, Royal Fleet Auxiliaries have received a number of these awards and Tristan is proud to be associated with the very first Royal Fleet Auxiliary to receive this award.



In 1969, RFA Ennerdale, a Dale-class mobile reserve tanker launched in 1962, was diverted from her normal tasking to refuel the South African destroyer SAS Simon van Der Stel which was en route to Gough Island, in the South Atlantic, to search for two missing South African meteorologists from the weather station there who had gone on a hike hours before the island was hit by a violent and unexpected storm. The SAS Simon van Der Stel’s journey took almost two weeks as she endured high seas and foul winds. 

Once the South African ship had reached Gough Island, RFA Ennerdale steamed to Tristan da Cunha to collect a 12-man volunteer search party to assist in the search. Although the South African Navy had had many men ashore, searching Gough’s unforgiving terrain, before the return of the Ennerdale, they had not managed to locate the missing men.

The Tristanians moved off in a different direction from that taken by the original search party and quickly located the bodies of the two meteorologists by noon of the same day. They had died of exposure several days before. The island volunteers sailed to Cape Town with the SAS Simon van Der Stel, returning to Tristan on the MV R.S.A. She sailed on to Gough Island collecting the two bodies to take back to Cape Town thus ending a tragic operation. 


The Sword of Peace was presented to RFA Ennerdale in 1970, shortly before the ship was lost on an uncharted reef in the Seychelles. 


At the time, the SAS Simon Van Der Stel was the only helicopter equipped vessel in the South African Navy. Prior to its sale to South Africa along with its Wessex Helicopter, the Simon Van Der Stel saw active service in the Royal Navy as HMS Whelp. 

As a new Fleet Destroyer, HMS Whelp sailed to the Indian ocean to join the British Pacific Fleet in 1944 with her newly appointed First Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (now Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh). She was to be the last warship that he served on and was present at the Japanese surrender of Hong Kong (arriving with Admiral Fraser onboard) and at Tokyo for the formal Japanese surrender. 

The First Day Cover shows the meteorological base on Gough Island together with a special 1969 commemorative cover signed by all 12 members of the Tristan Volunteer Search Team.


Technical details:

Designer Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor

Process Lithography

Perforation 13¼ x 13½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 8 December, 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



       ST012232    The Sword of Peace    Mint Set
       ST012233    The Sword of Peace    CTO Set
ST012234    The Sword of Peace    FDC



Modern Mailships – New Definitive Issue - December 2020


Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited island in the world lying some 2,430km from St. Helena and over 2,800km from Africa. The island was discovered in 1506 by the Portuguese navigator Tristão da Cunha. In 1816 a British garrison was established, and when it was disbanded a year later, Corporal William Glass chose to stay on the island. He can be regarded as the founder of the present community.



Mail from and to the island became very important as it was their only opportunity to communicate with the outside world. Quite often, this could take years, as they were dependent on passing ships, like whalers, to carry the mail. Eventually, after numerous requests, British war ships would call annually but even this waned. Since the fishing concession started around 1950, fishing vessels now call regularly and usually carry mail to and from Tristan, from Cape Town.


This definitive stamp issue, following on from the 2015 Early Mailships Definitive, depicts ships that called at the island between 1957 and 2020. Of course, most of the ships calling at Tristan would carry mail or produce special covers, and as such not all of the ships from this period are included.


1p - RRS JOHN BISCOE (2) (1957)

The second of two ships bearing this name, it was built by Fleming and Ferguson Ltd, Paisley, for the Falkland Island Dependencies Survey (FIDS) and launched in 1956. On her maiden voyage, passengers included HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, visiting some of the FIDS research stations during the 1956/57 season. Initially the RRS John Biscoe (2) operated as a cargo vessel to resupply FIDS (later BAS) research stations. Increasingly she supported hydrographic and marine biology surveys, and geological landings. Following a major refit in 1979, her role became that of a platform for marine science, particularly the Offshore Biology Programme.


She called at Tristan on 13th May for a few hours, and again on 11th November 1957, with 4 bags of mail, passengers Miss Rhoda Downer, a schoolteacher and Mr Dennis Simpson (Agricultural Officer), Mrs Simpson and their three boys. The John Biscoe lost her motorboat and her barge was washed up on the beach. Some crew was stranded on the island until the storm blew itself out and the islanders were able to use their craft. Miss Downer’s luggage had to be repacked so they could get it ashore. RRS John Biscoe brought a lot of cargo for the island including a new X-ray machine presented by the Government for the island hospital.


2p - SS BRASIL (1960-1965)

An American cruise liner owned and operated by Moore-McCormack Lines. She first visited on 13th April 1960. Some of the island’s two dozen Roman Catholics were able to receive the ministries of a priest of their Church who was a passenger on-board. On her, second visit on 21st February 1964 heavy seas prevented landings. However, the day before the island mail was taken on-board MV Tristania. This was then transferred to SS Brasil and mail from her was handed over to Captain Scott of MV Tristania for posting ashore when weather improved. Her last visit was on 13th February 1965. The beach was rough and only one boat made it to the ship for bartering.


5p – MFV GILLIAN GAGGINS (1965-1973)

This 1180-ton crayfish-processing vessel was built by Barship in Bayhead (Durban) shipyards in 1965, especially for the South Atlantic Development Cooperation, for rock lobster fishing in Tristan waters. This floating factory and refrigerator vessel replaced the Francis Repetto, which worked

alongside the MV Tristania. Her maiden voyage was made in November 1965. After offloading cargo and mail, she took on dinghies for the fishing crew to catch crayfish. By 1970 the dinghies were replaced with a long-line-traps method used by MV Tristania and two small catchers. MFV Gillian Gaggins was altered to a full-time processing, packing and freezing ship to act as a mother ship for the catcher vessels. By 1973, the method of fishing had changed and she was considered outdated and replaced by MV Tristania II who then became the number-one ship.


10p - MV RSA (1963-1977)

The 1573-tonne R.S.A. was South Africa’s first Antarctic supply vessel. She was built in Osaka, Japan, and launched in September 1961. Its first visit was on 15th April 1963 bound for Gough Island with meteorology staff. The first ship to call after the Settlement Survey Period bringing mail for 66 islanders and officials. The courageous collection, by dinghy, of mail and gifts in rough weather was illustrated in the National Geographic Magazine (January 1964).


In the next 16 years the R.S.A. (nick-named by some “Rolling Slowly Along”) made visits every year to South Africa’s meteorological stations on Gough and Marion and in Antarctica to relieve teams or on special voyages for medical or other emergencies. Her last visit to Gough and Tristan was in Oct 1977 and in 1978, the S.A. Agulhas replaced her.


25p - RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (1979)

Commissioned in December 1968 the QE2 was built in Clydebank by the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders who had also built the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. The QE2 visit 8th February 1979 was one that was well remembered by islanders, ship’s crew and passengers alike. The ships tenders went ashore and collected all who wanted to come aboard for a visit and afternoon tea. A special party was held for the schoolchildren and afterwards everyone was taken on a tour of the ship. During her visit, two radio officers went ashore to fix the island's short-wave radio transmitter that was broken and would have had to be sent to Cape Town for repair. During her 1985 World Cruise she passed by Tristan for a short non-landing call.


35p - SS ROTTERDAM (1960-1980)

Built by Rotterdam (Holland) for Holland America Line she became the Holland’s largest cruise liner. In 1958, the SS Rotterdam was launched and named by HM Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. She made several calls to Tristan over the years. Capt. A.H.Lagaay wrote, after its morning call off Tristan in 1975, “If and when the Island of Tristan da Cunha is passed in daylight on our annual world cruises the wireless operator on Tristan is always notified that the ship will close in at a set time and asked if any mail can be picked up or services can be rendered”. On one call, she only stayed 2 hours and the post office went on board to sell philatelic material.


45p - HMS ENDURANCE (1983)

Built by Kröger-Werft of Germany in 1956 as Anita Dan. The UK government bought her in 1967 and had her converted and commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Endurance. As a British Navy Ice Patrol vessel, she supported the UK in Antarctica waters and assisted BAS scientific research programmes.


Bound for Falkland Island on 10th February 1983 she called at Inaccessible Island to take off the Denstone Expedition party. The ship’s two small Wasp helicopters collected all the equipment, baggage and official mail transporting it all to HMS Endurance. She then transferred the Denstone group to Tristan. Also on board was the Governor of St Helena, John Massingham, who was greeted

by the community, attended official functions and a lively dance in the evening before departing the next day.


60p - TRISTANIA II (1973-1996)

The Faroe fishing vessel Skugvur built in 1964 was renamed Tristania II. This 160-foot steel vessel powered by a Burmiester and Wain 1000hp engine became a new addition to the Tristan Investments Limited fishing fleet, replacing the smaller Tristania. She was converted in Cape Town for fishing using long-lines with traps. She also carried two powerboats that also set traps. She first arrived at Gough on 27th June and then Tristan on 5th July 1973. The Tristania II fished at Tristan islands up until 1996. She carried passengers, mail and a small amount of cargo to and from Tristan until the Kelso replaced her in 1997.


£1 - MV HEKLA (1984-1996)

The Hekla, a 68m steel ship converted from a cargo vessel, for longline fishing, processing and packing for export replaced the Hilary in 1984. On her first trip to Tristan she encountered mechanical problems and took 10 days to complete the journey. Her last voyage as Hekla was on 12th December 1996. This vessel not only served as a factory-fishing vessel but also provided Tristan’s main link to the outside world carrying cargo, mail and a maximum of 12 passengers each trip.


A new concession was granted in 1997 and she was re-named MV Edinburgh. The MV Edinburgh continues to call at Tristan each year and remains a vital lifeline for islanders.


£1.50 - RMS ST HELENA (2)

(1992-2018) Built by Hall, Russell & Company in Aberdeen the RMS (as it was locally known) entered service in 1990. A cargo liner (carrying cargo and passengers) she served the island of Saint Helena sailing between Cape Town and Saint Helena with regular shuttles continuing to Ascension Island. She visited Portland, Dorset twice a year until 14 October 2011, when she set sail on her final voyage from the English port. Her first visit to Tristan was in 1992 as she was due to call in 1991 but had to cancel due to engine trouble. Over the years, she called at Tristan on several occasions and was always welcomed by the islanders. Her last call was on 4thJanuary 2018 from there, she sailed to St Helena departing on 10th February 2018 for her last trip to Cape Town.


At the time of her retirement from St Helena service, she was one of only four ships in the world still carrying the status of Royal Mail Ship.


£2 - RRS JAMES CLARK ROSS (2013-2018)

In 1991, the RRS James Clark Ross, named after Admiral Sir James Clark Ross, R.N, became the first BAS vessel to be purpose-built as a science platform. She is primarily a marine research vessel for biological, oceanographic and geophysical cruises.


In 2013, the James Clark Ross spent two days at Gough and six days at Tristan, recording and sampling seabed life and completing midwater trawls. On 31stMarch 2018 she called again as part of the Blue Belt 3-year research programme focusing on the seamounts within the Tristan EEZ.


£3 – MFV GEO SEARCHER (2017-2020)

Built in 1982 at 1863 gross tonnes, 69m in length and refurbished in 2005 & 2014, it served as a scientific research vessel. The Geo Searcher was purchased by Ovenstone Agencies in 2016 to replace the MV Edinburgh as the island’s main fishing vessel. It was converted in Gdansk, Poland, to a

factory freezer vessel with cargo and passenger capacity. In April 2017, she made her maiden voyage to Tristan and Gough Island. The Geo Searcher fished around the three outer islands of Inaccessible, Nightingale and Gough Island and catches were processed and frozen on-board. On each voyage, she carried mail, passengers and cargo.


On the morning of 15 October 2020, while fishing off the north-western coast of Gough Island the Geo Searcher foundered on a rock and sank. All 62 seamen on board, including two Tristanian Fisheries Observers, safely abandoned ship and made their way to the South African Meteorological Station at the south-eastern end of the island, where they were winched ashore. The SA Agulhas II was dispatched from Cape Town to rescue the seamen from Gough. She called at Tristan on 22nd to drop off the two islanders before continuing to Cape Town, arriving on Monday 26th October.


£5 - BARK EUROPA (2005-2019)

The Bark Europa, operated by Hapag-Lloyd line, first called at Tristan on 3rd April 2005. She was en route from a cruise to South Georgia and due to the fine weather and sea conditions, passengers and crew were able to come ashore, explore the island and purchase stamps, handicrafts and souvenirs. The Bark Europa has continued to call at Tristan and its outer islands most years since then, and the islanders welcome its regular visits.


Technical details:

Designer Andrew Robinson

Printer bpost

Process Lithography

Perforation 11 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 27.66 x 40.2mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 14 December, 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



H               ST012205    Modern Mailships Definitive  Mint Set
                  ST012206    Modern Mailships Definitive  CTO Set
           ST012207    Modern Mailships Definitive  FDC

Vagrant Species Part 2 - November 2020

Tristan da Cunha lies in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, east of the mid-Atlantic ridge, 2800 km from the continental shores of South Africa, and 3360 km from South America. It is the most remote island in the world with a resident human population, with St. Helena, the nearest island some 2,400 km away. Vagrants might seem to be a curiosity, but all of the native animals on Tristan arose from individuals that wandered far from their usual haunts.



45p- Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) sometimes called the lute turtle or leathery turtle. They are the largest sea turtle species and also one of the most migratory, crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell, hence the name. Instead, its carapace is covered by skin and oily flesh. Numbers of Leatherback Turtles have seriously declined during the last century due to intense egg collection and fisheries bycatch. Globally, the Leatherback Turtle is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.


In 2017 a Leatherback Turtle tagged by University of Exeter scientists in Brazil swam thousands of miles into waters off the Tristan da Cunha Islands. The female leatherback turtle, nicknamed Fubica, explored the seas off Tristan Da Cunha. Fubica, one of four turtles tagged on a Brazilian beach during the breeding season in November 2017, was the only one whose tag was still transmitting, more than six months later. The turtles were tagged as part of a study run by Exeter and Brazilian non-profit organisation TAMAR-ICMBio, with funding from Funbio (the Brazilian Fund for Biodiversity).


60p- Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica) occurs throughout the tropics in the Americas. It is a fairly large, slender rail that is fairly closely related to the moorhens that managed to colonise Tristan and Gough. The adults are strikingly coloured, but many of the birds reaching Tristan are much duller juveniles, which are perhaps more likely to get blown off course as they migrate north in autumn from their breeding areas in Uruguay and northern Argentina. They are birds of wetlands and swamps, and their long toes help them walk onto floating vegetation, by distributing their weight. Their diet is varied as they feed on a wide variety of vegetable and animal matter.


Sightings of this bird were quite frequent on Tristan in the second half of the 20th century, with up to 47 in one year, but they have become less common in recent years. Almost all records are from around the settlement Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, where they take shelter in island gardens and surrounding flax. The local name for this bird is ‘Guttersnake’ presumably for its shiny greeny-blue colour and by the way it swiftly moves through the grass.


£1.00- Black Witch Moth (Ascalapha odorata) is a large bat-shaped, dark-coloured nocturnal moth, ranging from Brazil to the southern United States. It is the largest noctuid in the continental United States. In the folklore of many Central American cultures, it is associated with death or misfortune. Female moths can attain a wingspan of 17 cm. Their wings are mottled brown with hints of iridescent purple and pink, and, in females, crossed by a white bar.


The Black Witch Moth was also depicted on a 15p stamp in the 1990s stamp issue Moths. In 2018 there was a sighting of the moth during a big storm on the RRS Discovery. It was trying to land on the ship whilst anchored off Inaccessible!

£2.00- King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is the second largest species of penguin, smaller, but somewhat similar in appearance to the Emperor Penguin. King Penguins breed on sub-Antarctic islands between 45 and 55°S, with a large population on South Georgia. The total population is estimated to be 2.23 million pairs and is increasing. Like its larger cousin, they lay a single egg which they incubate balanced on their feet, and males are able to store food in their stomachs for more than a month, ready to feed the chick when it hatches.


They are prodigious swimmers and divers, regularly diving up to 300m deep and commuting hundreds of kilometres from their colonies to find food for their chick. After breeding, adults disperse vast distances, sometimes venturing well outside their normal range. There was a sighting of a King Penguin on Tristan’s beach over a decade ago, but they are somewhat more common as vagrants on Gough Island, which being farther south is closer to their normal haunts.


FDC- Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) is the common ‘black-backed’ gull in the Southern Hemisphere, occurring in South America, southern Africa, Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, most sub-Antarctic islands, and locally in the maritime Antarctic. Tristan is one of the few islands lacking the species. Like most large gulls, they are supreme generalists that eat a wide range of prey, including scavenging from carcasses.


Kelp Gulls, probably from South America, are one of the most regular vagrants to the Tristan archipelago. There are no confirmed breeding records from the islands, but in 1922, George Wilkins recorded an adult Kelp Gull with juvenile birds on Nightingale Island. When asked, the islanders did not think that they bred, but some of the young birds were thought to have been too young to migrate all the way to the island. A young Kelp Gull, was seen and photographed this year on 25th August, on the beach to the west of Calshot Harbour.


Technical details:

Designer Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor Security Printing

Process Stochastic Lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 per 2cms

Stamp size 30.6 x 38mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 9 November, 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



     ST012208   Vagrant Species Part 2     Mint Set
     ST012209    Vagrant Species Part 2    CTO Set
 ST0121210   Vagrant Species Part 2      FDC



Mid Atlantic Healthcare - October 2020

Health is on everyone's minds during the current coronavirus pandemic, with people around the world spontaneously showing support for their local healthcare systems and staff. Thanks to timely precautions, COVID-19 has not reached Tristan da Cunha, and we pray this continues to be the case. Even so, we issue this set of stamps in appreciation of the island's own healthcare services.



Over the years, Tristan’s healthcare has dramatically changed and improved, from having no medical professionals on the island and only being treated when a ship’s doctor visited, to having a modern operational Healthcare Centre. These stamps illustrate the history of healthcare on Tristan.

45p - Mission House
In the beginning, the community on Tristan had no hospital or resident doctor. From the 1850s, missionaries, sent out by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), brought with them medical supplies and provided some medical care for mostly minor conditions. Ships' doctors or expeditions' doctors and dentists, in particular the doctors on Royal Navy ships, would check the health of the islanders during their visits and treat more serious cases, where possible. However, these visits occurred once a year or less frequently, and usually only lasted a couple of days. A few of these doctors published reports on the health of the islanders in the British medical press. These were mostly favourable, and in particular, the islanders gained a reputation for their healthy teeth, which was put down to the community's isolation and the low amount of sugar in the island diet at that time.
The first extended medical presence was during the three-month Norwegian Scientific Expedition to Tristan da Cunha in 1937/38. The three-strong medical team thoroughly examined every islander and provided some professional medical treatment, although the current missionary still dealt with day-to-day care.
70p - Station Hospital
During WWII, the naval station HMS Atlantic Isle was set up on Tristan, under the command of Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Woolley. New buildings were constructed, including for the first time a purpose-built school, store and hospital known as ‘Station Hospital’. The change in the island economy brought by the establishment of the first fishing factory in 1949/50 enabled the hospital to become a permanent fixture.
In the beginning, only a trained expatriate nurse was employed to provide medical services. Over time, the main equipment obtained for the hospital included a portable x-ray machine, a Boyle anesthetic machine, a microscope, and a reasonably comprehensive set of surgical instruments. Facilities for sterilization consisted of a paraffin pressure stove for boiling a saucepan of water and a domestic paraffin oven for baking towels, gowns, dressings, etc.
By 1961 Dr Norman Samuel reported that there were four beds in the hospital but no bathroom, and the operating-theatre was a room used as a thoroughfare and store-room. Just prior to the 1961 volcanic eruption and evacuation, another room was converted for use as a theatre, but was never used. At that time, the Colonial Office provided limited funds to cover drugs, day-to-day requirements such as paraffin and soap, as well as instruments, gloves, x-ray films, cleaners' salaries, and laundry.
£1.10 - Camogli Hospital
In 1971, a new hospital was built at the west end of the Settlement near Hottentot Gulch to replace the ‘Station Hospital’. It was named Camogli Hospital, after the hometown of the Italian settlers Andrea Repetto & Gaetano Lavarello who were wrecked on Tristan in 1892. The hospital had three inpatient beds, a consulting room, a pharmacy, X-ray facilities, a dental surgery and a well-equipped operating theatre. In the beginning, local nurses and a local dental nurse assisted the resident medical officers, who served for one or two years. In recent times, a local hospital manager and dental assistant were added to the medical team.
A dentist and dental technician visit the island annually and check and treat all the islanders’ teeth with the assistance of the island dental nurse. An Optometrist visits the island every second year and all the visiting specialists are available to discuss problems by telephone at other times.
It is a challenge to maintain an adequate, in-date pharmacy stock and to cover unpredictable demands, and allow for the possible failure of supply from any of the eight ships per year from Cape Town.
UK people may be interested to know that Doctor Hilary Jones, the medical broadcaster and Good Morning Britain TV presenter was Tristan's medical officer for a year in 1979. He has referred to his time on Tristan as “one of the most interesting stages of my career and a quite unique experience”.
£1.50 - Camogli Healthcare Centre
The Camogli Healthcare Centre was officially opened on 7th June 2017. It was constructed, in the south-western corner of the settlement below the previous hospital, to the latest UK National Health Service standards. This was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) with the intention that the improved facilities would allow more procedures to be performed locally by visiting specialists, and therefore reduce the need for expensive referrals to Cape Town.
At present, there are two expatriate doctors on the island, who provide 24-hour cover. They often return to Tristan for further terms of duty. There are also normally two expatriate and four local nurses, as well as a dental nurse and assistant, a hospital manager and ancillary staff. The medical staff deal with day to day medical matters, handle emergency cases, and undertake minor surgery. More complex and serious cases are sent to Cape Town for treatment.
FDC - Ambulance
The ambulance arrived on Tristan da Cunha 2003. It is fully functional, with all the medical equipment needed to respond to an emergency. It is also used to collect patients if they need assistance or do not have transport to attend their doctors’ appointments.


Technical details:

Designer Robin Carter

Printer bpost

Process Lithography

Perforation 11 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 27.66 x 40.2mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 20 October, 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



ST012194    Healthcare     Mint Set
ST012195    Healthcare     CTO Set
ST012196    Healthcare     FDC

Sharks Parts 1 - September 2020


45p - Broadnose Sevengill Shark Notorynchus cepedianus 

The Broadnose Sevengill shark is an 'ancient' shark, the only existing member of the genus Notorynchus, in the family Hexanchidae. It lives in relatively shallow, temperate seas worldwide, except the North Atlantic and Tristan is one of the few mid-ocean archipelagos where it is known to occur. It is recognizable by its seven gill slits, while most shark species have only five. It grows up to 2.5m (8ft) long and is pale grey with a white belly. These are the most common sharks found inshore at Tristan, where its local name is “Rock Shark”, and they feed mainly on fish, octopus and squid, but also on general carrion. The species is not well studied and is listed as “data deficient” by the IUCN red list.

70p - Porbeagle - Lamna nasus

The Porbeagle is a species of mackerel shark in the family Lamnidae, and is a smaller relative of the Great White Shark. It is distributed widely in the cold and temperate marine waters of the North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere. In 2017, the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expedition recorded a single pup at approximately 60 cm (2ft) long. This was the first observation for the species, in Tristan waters, and suggests it was likely born here. It is possible that Porbeagle sharks use the islands as a nursery area so the islands may have significant importance to these species of shark.The Porbeagle is listed as Vulnerable globally, mainly due to overfishing.



£1.10 - Great Hammerhead - Sphyrna mokarran

The Great Hammerhead inhabits tropical waters around the world, between 40°N and 37°S. It is the largest species of hammerhead shark, belonging to the family Sphyrnidae, attaining a maximum length of 6m (20ft). The Great Hammerhead can be distinguished from other hammerheads by the shape of its "hammer" (called the "cephalofoil"), which is wide with an almost straight front margin, and by its tall, sickle-shaped first dorsal fin. The Great Hammerhead feeds on a wide variety of prey ranging from crustaceans and cephalopods, to bony fish and smaller sharks. Females bear litters of up to 55 pups every two years. Great Hammerheads move into the Tristan area during the warmer summer months, but do not reach Gough, where the water temperature is 3-4 degrees colder. It is listed as Critically Endangered, mainly due to overfishing

£1.50 - Blue Shark -Prionace glauca

Blue Sharks are one of the great ocean wanderers. These slim, graceful sharks, up to 2.5m (8ft) long with large eyes and brilliant blue backs are known to make journeys of up to 9,200 km (5,700 miles) with some individuals making multiple trans-Atlantic crossings.

Research suggests that the waters of Tristan da Cunha may provide a refuge for these gentle giants. Both large females and small juveniles occur, suggesting that the waters around Tristan da Cunha are a blue shark nursery ground with large females traveling here to give birth. The
lack of intense fishing effort seen in other parts of the world hopefully provides a sanctuary for the pups to grow in peace before undertaking migrations of their own. Despite occurring through most of the world’s oceans, their numbers are decreasing due to fishing pressure, and the species is listed as near-threatened globally.


Technical details:

Designer Andrew Robinson

Printer bpost

Process Lithography

Perforation 11 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 27.66 x 40.2mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 29 September, 2020

Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



       ST012188    Sharks Part I     Mint Set
       ST012189    Sharks Part I     CTO Set
ST012190    Sharks Part I     FDC





Tristan da Cunha : Female Ancestors - May 2020

"Probably all the adjectives known to man have been used at one time to describe woman, but without doubt the one most suited to the women of the lonely community on Tristan da Cunha is 'unique'." So wrote the Cape Times in 1922.
While earlier stamp issues commemorating Tristan's family surnames have tended to focus on the community's male founders and their stories, their wives have equally interesting stories that are also worthy of celebration and commemoration. The island's founding fathers were white Europeans or Americans, but most of the founding mothers were of mixed race, which adds a further dimension to their stories. If the men's lives were hard, the women's were as hard if not harder, if only because of the perpetual round of childbirth they had to endure. It was even harder when most of the island men perished in the lifeboat disaster of 1885.



45p - Maria (Mary Magdalena) Leenders (1801-1858)*, Cape Colony, arrived 1816

Maria was one of the founding members of the community, arriving with her husband William Glass in 1816. Described as a Cape Creole, she married William, in July 1814, at an incredibly young age in the Cape Colony and bore 16 children. After he was stranded on Tristan in 1824, the artist Augustus Earle described the life of Maria and the only other woman then on the island, Peggy White, as follows:
"Their time is so fully occupied that I seldom see either of them; being constantly in the cook-house, which is separated from our dwelling. Children there are in abundance, all healthy and robust, and just one year older than the other."
Five of her sons were engaged in whaling on American ships. Following the death of William, she emigrated with most of the family to New London, Connecticut, in 1856 to live with her son Robert Hill Glass, who had become a successful whaling captain, until her death in 1858. Her daughter Selina, who had married Captain Andrew Hagan, remained on the island. One of her sons, Thomas, who also remained on the island, was lost in the lifeboat disaster of 1885.
The portrait comes from one of Earle's paintings, and the background shows the Union flag, which was used by the Cape Colony at that time.
55p - The St Helena Women, arrived 1827
The story goes that the five men living in "Bachelor's Hall" in the 1820s, badly feeling the need of female companions, persuaded Captain Simon 
Amm of The Duke of Gloucester to bring them five women from St Helena in 1827. Captain Amm made a request to the Governor of St Helena who wanted written assurance that the women would be looked after. The captain landed the women on the beach then made off, not staying to see the men’s reaction to the women he had brought.

The term "mail order brides" that is sometimes used to describe the women underplays the factors that may have made the move to Tristan seem appealing. It is possible they were former slaves and may have taken the surname of an owner in some cases. 

The five women were:

• Sarah Jacobs (Williams/Bowers) (c.1795-1893)* - Negro, married Thomas Hill Swain. She arrived with four children, and went on to have a further ten children. Her marriage to Thomas Swain was legalised in 1851 and Bowers was the name given on her marriage certificate. Mary Jacobs (1815 – 1900)* was born on St Helena to Sarah Jacobs. She married another founding father
Peter Green (officially in 1852). Her surname is given as Jacobs in the baptism register but Fisher on her marriage certificate. They had eight children, of whom three sons, William, Jacob and Jeremiah were lost in the lifeboat disaster of 1885 as well as three grandsons, all sons of William. Mary was presented to Prince Alfred, first Duke of Edinburgh when he visited the island in 1867 and had lunch at their house.
• Maria Williams (c.1810-1892)*, sister (probably half-sister) of Sarah Jacobs. Mullato/Afro/Malayan she married Alexander Cotton (officially by Rev Taylor in 1852) and bore 13 children. The Cottons were an important family on Tristan during the 19th century, but by the end of the century, all but the elderly Betty Cotton had emigrated, mostly settling in Simon's Town, South Africa.
• Sarah Bassett Knipe (dates unknown) - arrived with her daughter Fanny. It is not known if she was born on St Helena but was described as having English parents, which was a contrast to the other women who were described as negro/coloured. She married Richard 'Dick' Riley and bore a further 10 children. The family moved to the Cape in 1857. Fanny ‘Riley’, daughter of Sarah, married Peter Miller in 1839 and they had eight children. The Millers left the island with the Riley family in 1857 and settled in the Riversdale-Mossel Bay area of the Cape.
• Eleanor (surname and dates unknown) - It is possible that she was born a slave on St Helena. She married George Peart and had a daughter Agnes who was born in 1834. The family left Tristan in 1837.
• Nelly (surname and dates unknown) - Race unknown. She married Peder Petersen, a Dane, who had been shipwrecked on the island. They had a son Peter. Nelly and her son left Tristan in 1857 after Peder died in an accident.
William Glass unofficially married the couples, as there was no clergyman on the island. The marriages were all legalised by Rev Taylor later on.
The picture on the stamp shows island women in the 1860s, and comes from a woodcut published in The Graphic, 1875. The background shows the flag of the East India Company, which controlled St Helena in 1827.
£1.00 - Susannah 'Susan' Martha Philips (1843-1932)*, St Helena, arrived 1867
Susan was a 'Saint' of mixed race, who met and married Tristanian Samuel Swain on St Helena in 1863. She bore two children on St Helena, and a further 9 after the family moved to Samuel's home island. Samuel was lost in the lifeboat disaster of 1885 but Susannah remained on the island until her death in 1932.
The picture also comes from the woodcut published in The Graphic. The background shows the Union flag, the Crown having taken over control of St Helena from the East India Company in 1834.
£2.00 - The Smith Sisters, Mullingar, Ireland, arrived 1908
The three Smith sisters - Elizabeth, Agnes and Annie - belonged to an Irish family from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Their father was in the British army and the family had moved to Kokstadt in South Africa. They met and married three Tristanian men, who served in the Anglo-Boer War, two of whom were brothers. They all returned to Tristan in 1908.
The three sisters were:
• Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Smith (1876-1917)* - Married Robert 'Bob' Franklin Glass, brother of Joseph, in St Mary’s Cathedral, Cape Town in 1895. They had eight children, five who were born in the Cape. Elizabeth died in 1917 at the age of 41.
• Agnes 'Aggie' Smith (1887-1970)* - Agnes met Joseph Fuller Glass, who with his brother Robert was a soldier in the Anglo-Boer war, and they were married in South Africa. They came to Tristan in 1908 with their eldest son. Agnes and Joseph had three children. She remarried after Joseph died in 1915 to William Rogers on 9th May 1919 and they had six children. Agnes was a devoted Catholic and was responsible for introducing the Catholic faith to the island along with her sister Elizabeth. She held services at her house and was awarded the ‘Benemerenti’ medal from Pope Pius XII in 1958 for her service to the faith.
• Annie Smith - Married James Glass Hagan, a cousin of Joseph and Robert. They did not stay long on Tristan before returning to the Cape.
The pictures of Lizzie and Aggie come from family photographs. The background shows the St Patrick's flag, which represents the island of Ireland - both the present-day Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
* Women who still have descendants on the island.
FDC - Painting of Tristan da Cunha by Augustus Earle, 1824
The London born travel artist Augustus Earle was stranded on "Tristan d'Acunha" from March to November 1824. Earle arrived on The Duke of Gloucester with the same captain that brought the St Helena wives to Tristan in 1827.


Technical Details:

Designer Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor Security Printing

Process Stochastic Lithography

Perforation 13 ½ x 13 ¼ per 2cms

Stamp size 28 x 42mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 7 May, 2020

Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



       ST012171    Female Ancestors     Mint Set
       ST012172    Female Ancestors     CTO Set
ST012173    Female Ancestors     FDC

                 H     H



25th Anniversary of the Gough and Inaccessible Islands UNESCO World Heritage Site - March 2020

Gough Island and Inaccessible Island are in the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean, and form part of one of the United Kingdom’s most remote Overseas Territories.

The islands were formed through volcanic eruptions. Gough’s 65km2 landscape is rugged, with rocks up to 6 million years old making up the cliffs that reach heights of 300m along the coastline. All but the steepest rock faces are covered in vegetation – mainly lichens, mosses and ferns.




Uninhabited, both islands developed almost free from human interference, making them some of the least disturbed habitats left on earth. Their isolation means they have also become home to unique arrays of plants and animals.

Precious habitats
Gough Island is widely considered one of the world’s most important seabird nesting sites, with 22 species of nesting seabirds, and 2 land bird species that are ‘endemic’ – in other words, unique to this location. 7 species on Gough are globally threatened, including virtually the entire world population of the Tristan albatross and most of the world’s examples of MacGillivray’s prion. 3 species on Inaccessible are globally threatened – the spectacled petrel, Inaccessible rail and Inaccessible bunting; the latter two are also endemic to Inaccessible.
The Southern elephant seal and Sub-Antarctic fur seal both breed on Gough, and 85% of the world’s Northern rockhopper penguins nest in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago. The two islands are also home to significant plants, ferns, snails and beetles.
Global recognition
The islands’ listing as a World Heritage Site began in 1995 in recognition of their rich biodiversity, their importance for breeding seabirds, and the presence of endemic species. They are therefore listed for their Outstanding Natural Universal Heritage – one of only four natural World Heritage Sites in the UK’s worldwide realm.
The decision noted that the site meets the criteria ‘as one of the least disturbed major cool-temperate island ecosystems in the South Atlantic, one of the most important seabird colonies in the world and high scenic qualities with spectacular sea-cliffs’.
In 2004 the WHS boundary was extended to include Inaccessible Island and the waters surrounding the islands to 12 nautical miles, and the site name was changed to Gough and Inaccessible Islands.
The listing of a WHS gives the ‘State Party’ (in this case, the United Kingdom) legal obligations to ensure the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage of the site (and others in its territory). Specifically, ‘It will do all it can to this end, to the utmost of its own resources and, where

appropriate, with any international assistance and co-operation, in particular, financial, artistic, scientific and technical, which it may be able to obtain.’ It’s an important obligation on the UK to maintain the natural heritage that led to the designation, to take appropriate measures to achieve this, and to rehabilitate the site.



Under attack

Sadly, Gough Island’s natural value, and so too its WHS status, is under threat. Invasive non-native mice brought to the island by sealers around 200 years ago are attacking the island’s native and globally threatened seabirds. With so many unique species on Gough, extinction from the island would mean extinction globally. Loss of the biodiversity that won Gough its WHS status would mean it no longer meets the required criteria for a site of Outstanding Universal Value.

In 2016 an assessment of the islands for their inclusion on the WHS ‘In Danger’ list concluded that eradication of invasive non-native mice is necessary to protect Gough’s unique species, and its WHS status. Led by the RSPB and Tristan da Cunha Government, an operation to eradicate the mice and restore Gough Island is set to take place in 2020 – the 25th anniversary year of the Gough and Inaccessible World Heritage Site. If the plan succeeds, species will begin to recover almost immediately as they return to nest on an island free of invasive mice.


VALUES - 35p, 55p, £1.60, £1.80


Technical details:

Photography 35p, 55p Michelle Risi

£1.60 Andy Schofield

£1.80 Jaimie Cleeland

FDC Chris Jones

Designer Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor Security Printing

Process Stochastic Lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 per 2cms

Stamp size 28 x 42mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 24 March, 2020

Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



      ST012165    Gough Isle     Mint Set
                   ST012166    Gough Isle     Souvenir Sheet
      ST012167    Gough Isle     CTO Set
                          ST012168    Gough Isle     Souvenir Sheet CT 
ST012169    Gough Isle     FDC

                            ST012170    Gough Isle     Souvenir Sheet FDC