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Private Revenue Perfins of New South Wales

An Elsmore Coath production

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

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User: Union Assurance Society of Australia Ltd

Insurance Provider

Address: ‘Insurance House’ 109 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW

Revenue Use:

KEDVII 1909-28 issue 4d, 8d, 1/-, 2/-, 3/-, 4/-, 5/-, 6/-, 7/-, 8/-, 9/-, 10/-, 15/-, £1

Numeral 1929-66 issue 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d, 8d, 9d, 1/-, 1/6, 2/-, 2/6, 3/-, 4/-, 5/-, 6/-, 8/-, 10/-, 14/-, 18/-, £1, £5, £10

Rarity Scale:

KEDVII 1909-28 issue 4d R3, 8d R4, 1/- R3, 2/- R4, 3/- R4, 4/- R2, 5/- R3, 6/- R3, , 9/- R4, 7/- R3, 8/- R4, 9/- R4, 10/- R3, 15/- R4, £1 R2

Numeral 1929-66 issue 2d R3, 3d R1, 4d R2, 6d R2, 8d R3, 9d R4, 1/- R1, 1/6 R2, 2/- R2, 2/6 R2, 3/- R2, 4/- R3, 5/- R3, 6/- R4, 8/- R4, 10/- R3, 14/- R3, 18/- R4, £1 R1, £5 R4, £10 R3

Background: *The First Union Assurance Society (Number 1) was established as ‘The Union Fire Office in London’ in February 1714. In 1907, the company became a subsidiary of the Commercial Union Assurance Company Ltd and was incorporated as a limited company in the same year.


This company is not to be confused with its sister company that followed a similar path but did not establish offices in Australia, that being the Second Union Assurance Society (Number 2) which was established in Glasgow in June 1897, as ‘The National Insurance Company of Great Britain Ltd.’ This company also became a subsidiary of the Commercial Union Assurance Company Ltd but not until September 1917. It was renamed the Union Assurance Society in February 1995 and dissolved on April 11 2006.


The First Union Assurance Society (Number 1) was established as a fire insurer, and then in 1899, it expanded into accident, burglary and plate glass. In 1813, the company started to offer life assurance and began an expansion that was to see it establish offices across the United Kingdom and later overseas in Europe, the USA, South America, Canada, Africa, East Asia, the West Indies, New Zealand and Australia.


From this time the company was variously called the Union Assurance Office, the Union Society or the Union Assurance Society (No 1).


After the acquisition by Commercial Union the company continued to trade under its own name and continued to offer a full range of insurance products. In September 1923 it formed an alliance with Dalgety & Co as the company’s agents in all States of Australia except NSW. Later in 1924 the company’s position in Australia was strengthened by the acquisition of the Australian Provincial Assurance Association.


The Union continued to trade through its partnership with Dalgety until 31 December 1966, when all business was reinsured by Commercial Union. In February 1995, the company was renamed Commercial Union Underwriting Ltd and then became CGU Underwriting on 1 October 1999.

Device: The UAS.a pattern is only found on the revenue stamps of NSW. The device came into service in 1927 and was used until at least 1962.


The device was most likely a single die device as it is able to produce central strikes in a variety of positions in a range of stamp formats, such as the large Edward VII bi-colours as well as the much smaller NSW Numeral series.


Due to the width of the pattern it will often be found as a partial when struck in position 1, or similar, on the smaller format stamps.


Related Patterns: Refer to other Commercial Union and related Company patterns in:

NSW: A/MF.a  CU.a  CU/A.a  CU/&CO.a  OA.a


QLD: Other – Section 1 Other Perfins and Cancelling Devices




*Aviva web site



User: (The) United Insurance Co Ltd

Insurance Provider

Address: 280-288 George St, Sydney, NSW (Corner of Hunter St)

Revenue Use:

Numeral 1929-66 issue 3d, 9d, 1/-, 1/6, 5/-, 6/-, 8/-[brown], 10/-, 14/-, 16/-, £1, 30/-, £5

Decimal 1966 issue 2c, 3c, 20c, 50c, 70c, $1, $3, $4

Rarity Scale:

Numeral 1929-66 issue 3d R3, 9d R4, 1/- R4, 1/6 R3, 5/- R4, 8/-[brown] R4, 6/- R4, 10/- R4, 14/- R4, 16/- R4, £1 R3, 30/- R4, £5 R4

Decimal 1966 issue 2c R4, 3c R3, 20c, 50c R4, 70c R4, $1 R4, $3 R4, $4 R4

Background: *The United Insurance Company Limited was formed, as ‘The United Fire and Life Insurance Company of Sydney’, in Sydney in 1862, by a group of 35 businessmen who provided capital to the value of 500,000 pounds to underpin the company. There was an initial share issue of 25,000 shares at 1 pound to provide the company with a 25,000 pound starting capital.

The businessman included Thomas Mort (later of Goldsbrough Mort) and John Fairfax owner of the Sydney Morning Herald.

The company’s first office was at 325 George St, and in 1867 they occupied premises at 275 George St before moving to 280-288 George St on the corner of Hunter St in 1886.

Despite the fact that the initial company name included the term ‘Life Insurance’ the company never offered this product but they did quickly expand into Marine Insurance. In 1865 they established a London office to insure ships and cargo coming to Australia and New Zealand but this was closed by 1870 only to be reopened shortly afterwards.

The company was centred in NSW but conducted business in other States through agencies. In 1889 it established a branch in Brisbane and this was soon followed by branches in Townsville, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Wellington (NZ). In 1902 they established a branch in Perth, and in 1906 Tasmania, as well as expanding their New Zealand branches to four.

In 1908 the company expanded into Accident Insurance and their branch offices grew into a huge network of capital city and regional offices supporting a web of district and suburban offices that covered the major population centres of Australia and New Zealand. In addition the company maintained its London branch and established branches in Fiji and Papua and New Guinea.

In 1960 the company merged with South British Insurance Company Limited and as with other similar mergers which characterised the Insurance industry for much of the 20th Century and beyond, they continued to trade under their existing name. The South British, including the United Insurance Co, merged with the New Zealand Insurance Co in 1981 (see SBI.a)

On the centenary of the company in 1962 they were arranging for the demolition of their premises and by buying the adjoining block they built a modern office tower which still occupies the site in 2013.

United head office corner George and Hunter St's, Sydney (until 1963)

Device: The UIC.a device was first used in the early 1960’s and remained in use until at least 1966.

Although many devices of this late period or perforator usage were multi die devices the UIC.a device was most likely a single die device. Multiples strikes tend not to show a relationship to each other. The pattern is only found on the revenue stamps of NSW.

Related Patterns: Refer to related company patterns in:



*’The First Century’ The Story of the United Insurance Company Limited 1862-1962. Written and published by the company.


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