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Private Revenue Perfins of Victoria

An Elsmore Coath Howard production

The authors would welcome your comments additions or input into this work

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Section 2 - Commercial Overprints


-------------------------------------------------------- WALTONS/STORES/LTD..a


User: Waltons Stores Ltd

Department Stores

Address: Burke St, Melbourne, VIC

Revenue Use: 

1932 Series 3d

Rarity Scale:


1932 Series 3d R4

Background: *Walton bought a menswear store in 1951, located in George St, Sydney, opposite the Queen Victoria Building and Sydney Town Hall and close to Town Hall railway station.

In 1955, he formed an alliance with the American retail giant Sears and Roebuck. In the early 1960s he formed a finance company in partnership with Citibank, and also moved into insurance.

With the changes in the retail scene in Australia in the 1960s Waltons Limited bought out Marcus Clark & 1966, and then took over Anthony Hordern & Sons and merged its country store operation into the Walton's store group. This excluded the famous Brickfield Hill store in the south of Sydney's CBD, which by 1969 had already closed. Next they acquired McDowell's Holding Ltd in 1971, the owners of McDowell's department stores. By 1972, the Waltons chain had expanded to 96 department stores before Walton retired as executive chairman. Sir John severed his ties with the company in 1976, when his son John took over.

Waltons Ltd., was sold to Alan Bond during 1981. Sadly for Alan Bond, instead of becoming successful, the purchase of Waltons became a financial disaster, losing $199 million in 1983. The Waltons department store name then disappeared, when Alan Bond sold and split up Waltons in 1987, to interests associated with the Cookes family. The Cookes family then turned the remaining stores into Venture and Norman Ross outlets. Venture later went bankrupt, during 1994.

The flagship Waltons department store in George Street, Sydney, was demolished and replaced by the Citibank office tower which includes the Galeries Victoria retail space. The main Melbourne store, in Bourke Street Melbourne was remodeled into a Village Cinema complex which in turn closed in 2006.

The Waltons store in Fortitude Valley still has a Brunswick Street Mall store front with signage "Waltons" but with blacked out door glass since the store closed around 1987. The Street entrances or exits to the bottom level which are occupied by Asian novelty product stores still have the words Walton screwed into the wall with the S removed perhaps as a souvenir.







User: Warb? Chalet

Address: St, Melbourne, VIC

Revenue Use: 

1933 Tax Series 6d

Rarity Scale


1933 Tax Series 6d R4


Device: Handstamped

Related Patterns:Nil




User: Wilson & Mackinnon Pty Ltd

The Argus Newspaper

Address: 365 Elizebeth St, Melbourne, VIC

Railway Use:

1887 Issue ½d

Rarity Scale: ½d R4

Background: *Lauchlan Mackinnon (1817-1888), pastoralist and newspaper proprietor, was born on 26 February 1817 at Kilbride, Isle of Skye, Scotland, second son of John Mackinnon, Presbyterian minister of Strath, and his wife Ann, daughter of Lauchlan Mackinnon of Curry. Educated privately and at Broadford School, Skye, he worked with his uncle, Lauchlan Mackinnon, a writer to the signet in Glasgow. He migrated to Van Diemen's Land in 1838 and then to Sydney whence he overlanded stock to Adelaide for Campbell & Co. About 1840 he took stock from Sydney to Port Phillip where he decided to settle. He took up the Tarrangower run in 1839-41, Ovens River in 1841 and, with Webster & Co., Mount Fyans in the Western District in 1841-53 and Mount Battery in 1858-66.

Mackinnon contested a Port Phillip seat in the New South Wales Legislative Council in 1848, supported by many Western District squatters. Calling themselves the 'constitutional party' and accepting separation from New South Wales as imminent, they fought with determination against those who sought renewed transportation and were attempting to force immediate separation by boycotting the election. Successful in 'thrash[ing] old Curr and his party off the stage', Mackinnon struggled for justice for Port Phillip against exploitation by Sydney, demanding that all moneys raised in the district be spent there. He vacated his seat in June 1849 but won it again in July and held it until June 1850.

Mackinnon was member for Warrnambool and Belfast in the squatter-dominated Victorian Legislative Council from December 1852 till he resigned in May 1853. At a protest meeting in 1852 he had stood alone among squatters in opposing their more extreme claims. He recognized the importance of squatting and was prepared to meet what he called the pastoralists' 'just claims', but he opposed the long leases and pre-emptive rights of purchase which they demanded under the 1847 Order in Council, the spirit of which he denounced, declaring himself in favour of 'free trade in land'. In the bitter anti-transportation controversy he championed the colonists' right to refuse to take convicts. Inflammatory speeches, even threatening secession from Britain, at the monster protest meetings in 1849 and 1850, which petitioned the Queen and parliament and the vacillating council in Sydney against the renewal of transportation, earned him repute as a fiery and outspoken orator. His friend, William Westgarth, who went with him in 1852 to lead the Anti-Transportation League's delegation in support of the cause in Tasmania, describes the ingenious means by which Mackinnon was persuaded to temper his immoderate speech-making by friends who feared, in sensitive Launceston, the 'straightforward honesty' of the 'vigorous Highlander … who could never take a subject of deep interest to himself quietly'.

In that year Mackinnon became a partner in the Argus with Edward Wilson and took over the business side of the paper which, despite its enormous increase in circulation and influence under Wilson's management, was near financial collapse. Persuading Wilson that he was charging 2d. for a paper that cost 5½d. to produce, Mackinnon insisted on doubling the price and adding 25 per cent to the charge for advertisements, thereby ensuring the journal's prosperity. Allan Spowers joined them as junior partner in 1857.

Mackinnon retired to England in 1868 and settled at Elfordleigh, Devonshire, to enjoy the pleasures of English country life. For a time he lived at Arundel, Sussex, often visiting his estate at Duisdale, Isle of Skye, and offering hospitality on the grand scale. Always delighted to entertain his friends' sons who went to England to finish their schooling, he undertook responsibility for the education and training of his cousin, Lauchlan Charles Mackinnon, his intended successor in the Argus.

While expressing confidence in the local board and anxious to leave its members a free hand in managing the Argus, Mackinnon continued to follow its affairs closely and offer advice. Unlike Wilson he refused to be alarmed when Syme's Age outstripped the Argus in circulation. He deplored Wilson's 'proneness to panic' and with Spowers always outvoted any move to disturb the paper's prosperity. An extensive tour of North America in 1869 to observe the practices there left him confident of the 'impregnable strength' of the Argus.

When the telegraph link between Britain and Australia became imminent, Mackinnon was convinced of the importance of an independent news service and in 1870 attempted to form a press association embracing all colonial newspapers which could receive news telegrams direct from London, thus avoiding dependence for foreign news on Reuter. By 1872 when the link with Britain was established, he had succeeded in achieving a cable partnership between the Argus, Sydney Morning Herald and South Australian Register, whose London representatives selected and cabled the news at their discretion, dispensing foreign news to associated papers outside the 'ring'. Opposed to 'stinting, false economies', Mackinnon fought for 'free expenditure' on the special news service, despite its high cost of some £8500 a year until a special press rate was introduced in 1886.

Mackinnon did not write for the Argus but his business ability was chiefly responsible for its financial success. His letters to his representative, J. S. Johnston, reveal his assurance and liberal vision in business; with enterprise, energy and no fear of 'bold action', he constantly exhorted his colleagues, impatient of the timidity and narrow vision, which led to short-sighted policies. He was just but stern with employees, intolerant of incompetence and claimed that sentiment was a 'fatal error' in business.

Mackinnon was a vigorous, forthright Presbyterian, respected by his friends for his courage and integrity. A Liberal in politics he had profound faith in education 'without which Religion and Morals must give place to every species of public and private depravity'. He was a member of the original Council of the University of Melbourne. He died at Malpas Lodge, Torquay, Devon, on 21 March 1888 leaving a vast estate. He was twice married: first, to Jane Montgomery who died in Sydney on 13 June 1849; and second, at Parramatta on 9 May 1850 to Emily Bundock who died at Malpas Lodge on 17 June 1893 survived by two adopted children.

Device: Handstamp

Related Patterns: Nil

*Australian Dictionary of Biography. J Templeton




User: Wood Dunn & Co Ltd

Dairy Produce

Address: 10 Market St, Melbourne, VIC

Railway Use: 

1897 Series 2d

Rarity Scale:


1897 Series 2d R4

Background: Wood, Dunn & Co. was established by James Wood and James Dunn as “Commission and produce agents for farmers and dairymen” and brokers for farm sales, boasting (despite only appearing in the records in the same year) in late 1886 of a “long and intimate acquaintance with the farming community and their requirements”.

The company advertised extensively and often for supplies of butter, in particular, using the same advertisement in all newspapers, year after year.


In February, 1887, the firm of Wood & Co., produce merchants, of 25 King St, became a separate business entity from Wood, Dunn & Co. of 9 Market St, Melbourne, James Wood continuing to be a principal of Wood, Dunn & Co.


The company office of Wood, Dunn & Co. Ltd moved from 24-26 Market St to 8-12 Market St, opposite the warehouse, in July, 1898.


James Wood appears to have been a pioneer of the Victorian butter export trade to England, first visiting England to investigate the prospects in December, 1887. By 1900, Wood, Dunn & Co. was advertising as “Dairy produce and export commission agents, British, Intercolonial and local markets”.

The firm built butter factories and creameries in dairying communities such as Thoona (1889), Greta, Tawanga, and Heyfield (1900), where Reginald Varley, “in the employ of Wood, Dunn & Co.” was architect and surveyor. Varley had joined Wood, Dunn & Co. in November, 1896, as a country traveller and later became the company bookkeeper.


By 1904, when relations between dairy producers and the butter marketing companies had reached scandalous proportions, Wood, Dunn & Co. had opened “13 or 14 creameries and factories.”


From March, 1904, the Butter Commission, convened by the Commonwealth government, revealed a sordid tale of corruption involving Wood, Dunn & Company’s use of bribes and secret commissions to rural community dairy secretaries and managers to secure business. Gifts, theatre tickets and other inducements were common practice. Bad butter, stale or old butter was sold under the brand label of the producer, the best butter boxes were sent upstairs in the warehouse to be re-branded with Wood, Dunn & Co. labels. 


James Dunn’s brother-in-law, Arthur George Butler Birchall, was used as a dummy director of Country Butter Co. Ltd, while Varley, still the bookkeeper at Wood, Dunn & Co., was also manager of Pasteurised Milk Co. Ltd. Worse was to come when witnesses admitted that there were “occasional burnings of the account books” to dispose of mal-practice.


By mid-1904, both Reginald Varley and James Dunn were “formerly” of Wood, Dunn & Co.” The scandal destroyed Wood, Dunn & Co. which went into liquidation, its assets being sold at auction in 1905.

Device: Handstamp

Related Patterns: See W in Victoria Perfin Section


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