The second Charity issue made by Victoria - and the Charity issue of Queensland - was motivated by a feeling of patriotism for the troops serving in the Boer War in South Africa. There was widespread sympathetic support throughout the Australian Colonies, and throughout the British Empire in general, from local communities and business.

The Sydney Morning Herald of 10 January 1900 carried the following story:

VICTORIAN PATRIOTIC FUND.
MELBOURNE. Tuesday 9 January.

A largely attended public meeting, convened by the Mayor of Melbourne, was held in the Town Hall last night with the object of enlisting the active sympathy of the public in the movement to raise a patriotic fund in connection with the war in South Africa The meeting showed itself very enthusiastic and heartily cheered the patriotic sentiments of the various speakers. The speakers included the Premier (Mr. McLean) who said that a sub-committee of the Cabinet had endeavoured to arrange terms with the insurance companies for insuring the members of the contingent but without success. The Government then decided to ask Parliament to make reasonable provision for those who might be stricken by the war. What the amount would be would rest solely with Parliament. He was sure Parliament would do what was right, but in the meantime, it would be very unfortunate if reliance on the State dried up the springs of private benevolence.

Sir John Madden moved, and Sir Henry Wrixon seconded, a motion affirming that the meeting heartily approved of the proposal to make provision for the sufferers by the war. Sir George Turner moved, and Mr. N Fitzgerald, MLC seconded "That the meeting is in full sympathy with the Transvaal war fund, initiated by the Lord Mayor of London, and strongly commends the fund to the people of Victoria". Sir Frederick Sargood moved, and Mr. Charles Harris (president of the Trades' Hall Council) seconded "That a subscription list in aid of the fund be opened". These resolutions were carried unanimously and, amid cheering, subscriptions promised during the meeting reached the satisfactory total of £2,334 and included £511 collected at the Melbourne Club.

An open-air concert was held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last night by the M. C. C. in aid of the Patriotic Fund. It yielded £270.

 

The Boers had isolated the two posts of Ladysmith and Mafeking. Newspapers carried constant news, especially from London, about progress. For example, the Argus carried the following report on 3 February 1900:

London: 2 February:Excellent reports continue to be received from the beleaguered garrison at Mafeking. On January 17, Colonel Baden-Powell again succeeded in checking the Boer operations. By a well-planned sortie made from Mafeking the Boers were forced back from their advance entrenchments and were required to remove several of their big guns to ineffective positions.

A most characteristic and chivalrous message has been further received from Colonel Baden-Powell. In conveying the news that all is well in Mafeking, the colonel urges upon the military authorities that there is no necessity at present to send a relief column to Mafeking assuring them that the little garrison can hold out, and pointing out that by keeping a Boer force busy at Mafeking in the vain endeavour to reduce the town, it is prevented from becoming busy elsewhere".

The newspapers also carried daily reports of fund-raising activities in support of the war effort. An example in the same edition of the Argus is:

London 2 February: From all parts of the empire subscriptions still continue to pour in for the Lord Mayor's War Relief Fund.

In Canada, the workmen employed in the Canadian Pacific railway have each contributed half a day's pay, the sum subscribed in this manner amounting to $20,000 (£4,000).

The inhabitants of Lagos, a small colony on the west coast of Africa, have subscribed £400.

The Lord Mayor's Fund has now reached the splendid total of £661,300".

In the Australian Colonies, many local fund-raising activities were held. The comments made about two of these in the Argus are:

Rutherglen, Friday: "A very enthusiastic meeting was held tonight in the grounds attached to the town hall, over 2,000 people being present. The mayor occupied the chair and stirring patriotic speeches were delivered by Mr. Bowser, Sir Malcolm McEacharn, Mr. John McWhae and others. Resolutions were carried amongst cheers, approving of the war, and resolving to subscribe to the Patriotic Fund. A collection was taken up and over £82 was obtained. It is known that over £100 has been realised with subscription lists in the Rutherglen district, and a strong effort will be made to double that amount".

Bendigo, Friday: A patriotic demonstration under the auspices of the Australian Natives' Association was held in the Royal Princes Theatre tonight. The building was crowded to overflowing and over 200 people were unable to obtain admittance. The programme consisted of numerous patriotic and military items, and each one was received with enthusiasm.

During the evening the mayor (Mr. S. H. McGowan) in moving a vote of thanks to all who had assisted, announced that the City Council had voted £500 to the fund, and the statement was received with deafening applause. He also stated that another concert would be held on Wednesday night, when the programme would be entirely changed.

The sum of £88 was taken at the doors, and £7/14/- was thrown on to the stage when Mr. A. C. Bottoms sang "The Absent-minder Beggar". These amounts, it is expected, will be augmented by £50 when the total receipts from the sale of tickets are available".

Against this context, it was considered that another Charity issue of postage stamps would be a certain way to raise further funds for the Patriotic Fund. Two denominations were planned - a 1d (1/-) stamp and a 2d (2/-) stamp. The 1d and 2d denominations paid the local letter rate and the inter-colonial rate respectively. The balance of the purchases was paid into the Patriotic Fund.

As for the 1897 issue, a public competition was organised and 120 entries were submitted for the designs of two planned stamp denominations.

Unfortunately investors kept away from the issue because there had been no return from the 1897 issue. In addition, the Philatelic Society of Victoria condemned the fund-raising concept of the issue - as it had for the 1897 issue. Consequently, after the stamps had been on issue for two years, the amount donated to the Patriotic Fund was only £650/1/5.

newspaperExtract from the Weekly Post & Telegraph Guide for18 June 1900.

Public issue.

As with the 1897 Charity Issue of Victoria, the Post Office accepted mail orders from individuals. The supply of the stamps was accompanied by a note summarising the situation for an individual. The only recorded surviving note is shown below together with the stamps supplied.

Offer note
Phoenix Auctions March 2014, Lot 617.
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