Early Australian Passport – New South Wales

The Australian Government first started issuing passports in 1901, following the federation of the colonies. Australia’s first federal passport regulations were not introduced until September 3rd, 1912. And it was another three years before the Australian Government introduced a mandatory passport system for the first time, mainly for workforce and security reasons.

The following NEW SOUTH WALES PASSPORT was issued on February 18th, 1913, to SYDNEY RICHARD CORTEHILL, accompanied by his daughters DORIS MARY and EDNA RAHEL.

On the back, there are two visas. One was issued by the British ambassador in Paris on September 12th, 1913, for Belgium. Signed by the British Vice-Consul and with a two Shilling Consular service revenue stamp.

The second visa was sent by the British consulate in Amsterdam on September 22nd, 1913, and was valid for the German Empire. Signed by the British vice-consul and with a Two Shilling Consular service stamp. The visa was issued in German!

The passport was issued and signed by the governor, the bearer, and the undersecretary and had a small blind stamp. The document size is approximately 14″ x 17″.

 

Governor-General at that time was Thomas Denman, 3rd Baron DenmanGCMGKCVOPC (November 16th, 1874 – June 24th, 1954), a British aristocrat and politician. They served as the fifth Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1911 to 1914.

The London Gazette from April 7th, 1911, reported. The KING has been pleased to appoint the Right Honourable Lord Denman as Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Denman was born into the English nobility, inheriting his title at the age of 19 from a great-uncle. He attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and served in the Second Boer War. Denman sat with the Liberal Party in the House of Lords and was made a Lord-in-waiting in 1905 and Chief Whip in 1907. He was appointed to the governor-generalship at 36 and remained the youngest person to hold the position. Denman and his young family were immensely popular with the general public, and he enjoyed friendly relations with Prime Minister Andrew Fisher, with whom he shared many similar political opinions. However, he suffered from ill health and returned to England after less than three years as governor-general. Denman never again held public office but remained active in the House of Lords and briefly commanded a unit in the First World War.

The Denmans arrived in Melbourne on July 31st, 1911. They found Andrew Fisher’s Labor government firmly in control. As the most politically liberal Governor-General yet appointed, he got on well with the Labor ministers. His modesty and generosity with his father-in-law’s money made him popular with the public. In October 1912, the New South Wales PremierJames McGowen, “evicted” him from Government House, Sydney. On March 12th, 1913, he inaugurated the site of the future national capital, and Lady Denman formally announced its name, Canberra.

Denman discovered, however, that he was the least effective Governor-General in terms of political impact. When Australia’s Prime Minister reached political maturity, as did the other dominions, he removed the Colonial Secretary and the Governor-General out of the loop and spoke directly with his British counterpart. The Governor-diplomatic General’s responsibilities were further diminished by introducing an Australian High Commissioner in London.

Joseph Cook’s Liberals unexpectedly defeated the Labor administration in a federal election in May 1913. Labor, however, still held sway over the Senate, and it was determined to obstruct Cook’s administration at all costs. It was apparent that a constitutional crisis was emerging by the beginning of 1914. Denman’s health was poor—his allergy to the wattle, Australia’s national flower, did not help—and his marriage faltered due to his wife’s discontent at being so far away from home. In May 1914, he announced his resignation because he didn’t have the stamina to handle the political crisis.

The Denman Glacier in eastern Antarctica was named after Denman by Sir Douglas Mawson. It was discovered by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911–14.

A fantastic early Australian passport in excellent condition. An enrichment for any passport collector.

 

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