The first ever envelope sent out of Lae to Australia by airmail in 1934 has returned to its place of origin after nearly 80 years.
It caused a stir when 75 year old Australian, Cliff Harvey, turned up atthe Lae Post office, beatringthe precious document.
When Harvey arrived atthe Lae Post Office, he just wanted to find out ifthey’d be interested inthe old envelope.
Betthe postal staff calledthe media and Cliff Harvey andthe envelope madethe news.
“It belong to an uncle of my partner and he and his wife had no family and he dlied about fifteen years ago or more, and we looked after all his estate, and this envelope was left to us,” says Harvey.
It’s not just any old envelope; this isthe first airmail that was posted out of Lae in 1934. The letter with its original stamps still intact was addressed to a ‘Mrs H Lyon of a 131 Dover Road, Rose Bey in Sydney’.
The envelope also beatrsthe signatures ofthe crew members ofthe plane who carrliedthe letter to Australia.
Cliff is in Lae for family business. An uncle of his served onthe Australian army and was killed while fighting in Finschaffen.
Cliff andthe postal staff saythey’re not sure how valuable this envelope is. Bet it is a precious piece of Papua New Guinea history that has been returned. And it isthe only one in existence.