New Zealand Post - official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

1957 Ross Dependency - Pictorials

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In conjunction with the 1957 New Zealand Antarctic Expedition, led by Sir Edmund Hillary - which formed part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, it was decided to open a special Post Office in the Ross Dependency and issue a special set of stamps. 

Issue information

The stamps were for use by members of the expedition but also helped support New Zealand's claim to sovereignty over the Dependency.

The two higher value stamps in the set were included for use by the British members of the party in sending letters back to the United Kingdom. It had been an Antarctic expedition custom that Post Offices be opened as soon as a base site on the ice was chosen, but finding a location for the site of Scott Base proved difficult. 

Once a decision had been made to locate the base at Pram Point on Ross Island, no time was lost in opening a tent post office. Sir Edmund Hillary had been appointed postmaster on 23 November 1956, he in turn had appointed A S Helm as assistant postmaster to attend to all postal matters during the first summer Scott Base was open.

Ross Dependency Postage in New Zealand

Ross Dependency stamps are not valid for postage in New Zealand. Click here to find out more.

Product Listing for 1957 Ross Dependency - Pictorials

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 3d 'Erebus' gummed stamp.

This stamp depicted the ship Erebus with a background design depicting Mt Erebus on Ross Island, and pack ice. The vessel of 370 tons, was built during the Napoleonic Wars and had been specially strengthened for work in the ice. It was the flagship of Sir James Clark Ross, who, in 1841, discovered the volcanic mountain and named it after the vessel. The Dependency takes its name from this well-known explorer.

Single Stamp

Single 4d 'Explorers' gummed stamp.

Portraits of Robert Falcon Scott, leader of the ill-fated 1910-12 British Antarctic Expedition and Ernest Henry Shackleton, leader of the 1914-16 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, with a map of the Ross Dependency as background. Every possible photograph of the two leaders was scrutinised before the final selection was made.

Single Stamp

Single 8d 'Map' gummed stamp.

A map of the Antarctic region, with the Ross Dependency shown prominently in relation to New Zealand. The stamp proved difficult to produce as in order to bring both New Zealand and the Dependency within the scope of one stamp, the former had to be foreshortened. The stamp included the boundaries of the Ross Dependency, 160'E and 150'W longitude and 60'S latitude. Shown on the map are the Ross Dependency, New Zealand, Chatham Islands, Campbell Island, Ross Sea, Cape Adare, McMurdo Sound and the Antarctic Circle.

Single Stamp

Single 1s 6d 'Queen Elizabeth II' gummed stamp. 

A portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. James Berry's drawing was similar to what he prepared for the New Zealand 'Official' series, but with the Queen facing left instead of right.


Technical information

Date of issue: 11 January 1957
Stamps designed by: 3d: E M Taylor; 4d: L C Mitchell; 8d: M R Smith; 1s6d: J Berry
Printer and process: Thomas De La Rue, England; Recess printed - Intaglio
Stamp size: 3d and 4d: 40mm x 25mm;  8d: 25mm x 40mm; 1s 6d: 25mm x 28mm
Sheet size: 120 stamps per sheet
Perforation gauge: 3d, 4d and 8d: 14; 1s 6d: 13
Paper type: Wiggins Teape 'Royal Cypher', multiple NZ and star watermark.