Victoria - Colonial period: 1854-1900.
Date Stamps - Belt & Buckle design.


The Belt & Buckle design used in Victoria was originally intended to be used for telegram purposes. In the early 1890s, a severe economic recession occurred. One consequence was that economies had to be made within the Post and Telegraph Department. Inks of any colour could be used and cancellers intended for one use could be used for any purpose if it saved money. Hence, the Belt and Buckle design is commonly found cancelling stamps on letters and other postal items.

The design for the Belt & Buckle

At the top of the oval (in the "belt") were the words POST AND TELEGRAPH OFFICE. Inside the "belt" was the name of the Telegraph Office and below that the date was written in two lines. The year was written in full.

At the bottom of the design was the buckle and the holes.

Most date stamps had only one hole to the left of the buckle while 13 date stamps had two holes.

Some belts had coloured dots for the holes while others had round, uncoloured circles.

1 hole
1 hole to the left of the buckle.
2 holes
2 holes to the left of the buckle.

The most complete paper on the Belt and Buckle design was written by Davies and De Righi (1982). This paper is referenced below as "D & R".
The two books by Watson, Webster and Wood (WWW) provide very detailed descriptions for Telegraph Offices starting with letters from A to G.

The table below is adapted from Davies and De Righi (1982) and David Wood (ongoing). It summarises all known 96 examples of the Belt & Buckle design from 94 offices. Earliest and latest dates of use are recorded where these are known and confirmed.

In summary of some key aspects:

The range of known dates are shown below for each Post & Telegraph Office. Please inform the site (with a scan if possible for verification) of dates for items outside of the indicated limits (see link on home page).

For an explanation of eccentricity (e) reported below to measure the extent of the oval shape, see elsewhere.

Easy finder - click first letter of office: A B C D E F G H
I J K L M N O P
Q R S T U V W XYZ

NOTE: In the tables below, NSC - date stamp has Not (been) Seen Complete.

A No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date Size
H × W (mm)
Eccentricity
Abbotsford 2 Black 1890 1894 Not seen complete
Ararat 1 Black 19 October 1889 14 May 1894 27.5 × 38 0.69
Ararat 1 Blue 15 July 1891 5 April 1892 27.5 × 38 0.69
Avoca 2 Black 1 April 1892 6 September 1892 28 × 42 0.75

 

B No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date Size
H × W (mm)
Eccentricity
Bairnsdale 1 Black 12 April 1889 19 June 1894 27.5 × 38 0.69
Bairnsdale 1 Blue 20 October 1891. 1892 27.5 × 38 0.69
Ballarat 1 Black 12 July 1884 16 June 1886 27 × 37 0.68
Ballarat 2 Black 19 June 1889 26.5 × ? NSC
Ballarat East 1 Black 1892 27 × 37 0.68
Beaufort 1 Black 9 January 1890 10 July 1894 27 × 38 0.70
Beaufort 1 Blue 6 October 1891 22 July 1893 27 × 38 0.70
Beechworth 1 Black 12 December 1892 24 April 1894 27.5 × 39 0.71
Belfast 1 Black
Benalla 1 Black 22 August 1890 24 May 1893 27.5 × 38 0.69
Bendigo (as Sandhurst) 1 Black 8 May 1891 6 February 1893 28 × ??
Bendigo 1 Black 28 September 1893 3 October 1893 27.5 × 38.5 0.70
Birregurra 2 Black 12 November 1890 1894 27.5 × 36 0.65
Birregurra 2 Blue 12 November 1890
Boort 1 Black 21 August 1891 10 October 1891 27 × ??
Bourke Street East 1 Black 14 January 1889 15 June 1894 27 × 38 0.70
Brunswick 2 Black 31 January 1891 5 October 1891 27 × 40 0.74
Bruthen 1 Black 3 April 1893 27.5 ×
Buninyong 1 Black 13 April 1891 11 May 1894 27.5 × 39 0.71

 

C No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date Size
H × W (mm)
Eccentricity
Camperdown 2 Black 7 December 1891 23 February 1893 29 × 41 0.71
Carlton 1 Black 3 May 1882 28 May 1894 27 × 37 0.68
Casterton 2 Black 1889 17 April 1894 27.5 × 
Casterton 2 Blue 2 April 1890 12 March 1892 27.5 × 
Castlemaine 1 Black 11 August 1884
Charlton 1 Blue 26 July 1882 1 August 1889 27 × 38 0.70
Chiltern 1 Black 8 November 1886 12 June 1894 28 × 38.5
Chiltern 1 Blue 1889 1892
Clifton Hill 1 Black 11 March 1893 - 28 × 38 0.68
Clifton Hill 2 Black 10 February 1894 8 June 1894 28 × 39 0.70
Clunes 1 Black 1 April 1880 16 October 1893 27 × 38 0.70
Colac 1 Black 13 January 1884 22 May 1894 27 × 38 0.70
Colac 1 Blue 4 July 1885 27 × 38 0.70
Colac 1 Blue 7 July 1891 9 October 1891 27 × 38 0.70
Coleraine 1 Black 3 January 1888 12 September 1892 27 × 37 0.68
Collingwood 1 Black 11 June 1880 25 February 1899 27 × ??
Creswick 1 Black 7 March 1889 15 August 1892 26 × 38 0.73
Creswick 1 Blue 6 July 1891 (?) - 26.5 × 38 0.72

 

D No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Dandenong 1 Black 24 February 1893 23 December 1893 27 × 38.5 0.71
Daylesford 1 Black 16 August 1883 7 July 1893 27 × 38 0.71
Daylesford 1 Blue 2 December 1890 - 27 × 38 0.71
Dimboola 1 Black 26 July 1887 25 May 1894 27 × 38 0.70
Donald 1 Black 13 February 1888 27 September 1892 27 × 38 0.70

 

E No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
East Melbourne 1 Black 29 July 1889 5 November 1894 27 × 38 0.70
East Melbourne 1 Blue 3 April 1891 14 September 1891 27 × 38 0.70
Echuca 1 Black 17 May 1882 16 December 1889

27 × ?

Echuca 2 Black 25 January 1890 11 July 1893 28 × 40 0.71
Elsternwick 2 7 September 1892 19 September 1893
Essendon not seen complete Black July 1891 15 June 1894 27 × 38 0.70
Euroa 1 Black 1 June 1888 3 July 1893 27.5 × 39 0.71
Euroa 1 Blue 6 July 1889 8 June 1891 27.5 × 39 0.71
Exhibition 1 Black 23 October 1888 31 December 1888 27.5 × ?

 

F No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Fitzroy 1 Black 15 December 1891 3 July 1894 27 × ?
Footscray 2 Black 30 October 1888 1894 27 × 40 0.74
Foster 2 Black 1 August 1890 7 January 1891
Foster 2 Blue 1 August 1890 7 January 1891

 

G No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Geelong 1 Black(?) 12 January 1884 - 27 × 37 0.68
Geelong 2 Black 1891 30 May 1894 26.5 × 37.5 0.71

 

H No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Hamilton 1 Black 25  March 1885 19 October 1892 27 × 38 0.70
Hamilton 1 Blue 5 February 1883 3 February  1891 27 × 38 0.70
Harrow 1 Black 25 July 1884 - 27 × ??
Hawthorn 2 Black 6 April 1891 1894
Heathcote 2 Black 13 May 1890 Not seen complete
Heathcote 2 Blue about 1892 Not seen complete
Horsham 1 Black 31 July 1884     /1890 27 × 39 0.72
Hotham 1 Black 13 January 1885 20 September 1887 27 × 38 0.70

 

K No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Kerang 1 Black     /1888 2 May 1893 27 × 38 0.70
Kilmore 1? Black     /1886 Not seen complete
Korumburra 1 Black 8 May 1893 1894 27 × 38 0.70
Kyneton 1 Black 1884 20 March 1890 27 × 38 0.70

 

L No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Law Courts 2 Black 1891 6 April 1894 28 × 41 0.73

 

M No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Maldon 2 Black 5 July 1889 29 July 1893
Malmesbury 2 Black 25 January 1890 29 × 41
Mansfield 2 Black 1889
Market Street 1 Black 24 July 1888 20 June 1894
Maryborough 1 Black 9 May 1883 1894 27 × 38 0.70
Moe 1 blue 10 August 1891 Not seen complete
Morwell ? 1891 23 June 1893 Not seen complete
Murtoa 1 black 13 April 1885 28 April 1892 28 × 38 mm 0.68

 

N No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Newport ?     /1893
Nhill 2 Black 6 November 1888 25 March 1890
North Melbourne 2 Black 3 January 1888 7 May 1892 28 × 40 0.71
North Melbourne 2 Blue 26 November 1888 28 × 40 0.71
Northcote 1 8 August 1889 6 September 1893
Numurkah 1 Black 17 August 1891 21 June 1894 ? × 38 0.70
Numurkah 1 Blue 1892

 

O No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Omeo 1 Black 1891 18 June 1894 28 × 39 0.70
Omeo 1 Blue 12 September 1892 28 × 39 0.70

 

P No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Penshurst 1 Blue 25 July 1888 20 August 1888 27 × 38 0.70
Port Albert 1 Black 19 March 1890 7 March 1892 27 × 38 0.70
Port Albert 1 Blue 1892 27 × 38 0.70
Port Fairy 1 Black 17 October 1889
Port Melbourne 1 Black 18 July 1889 25 April 1894
Portland 1     /1889 23 February 1894
Prahran 1 Black 30 September 1881 16 September 1891
Prahran 1 Blue 24 June 1889 30 December 1893
Public Offices 1 Black 12 September 1890 2 November 1892
Public Offices 1 Blue 3 December 1890

 

Q No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Queenscliff 1 Black 22 January 1886 6 April 1894 27 × 38 0.70

 

R No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Reedy Creek 1 Black 20 September 1892 November 1893
Richmond 1 Black 21 June 1880 10 May 1894 27.5 × 37.5 0.68
Richmond 1 Blue 11 April 1883 16 September 1886 27.5 × 37.5 0.68
Richmond South 1 Black 10 June 1891 20 December 1892 28 × 39 0.70
Rutherglen 1 7 August 1891 20 October 1893

 

S No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Sandhurst 1 Black 1888 6 February 1893 28 × ?
Sandhurst 1 Blue 1888
Seymour 2 Black 1890 8 August 1892
Shepparton 1 Black 28 September 1886 22 May 1893 27 × 38 0.70
South Melbourne 1 Black 17 December 1886 2 February 1894 26.5 × 37.5
South Yarra 1 Black 2 March 1889 1893 28 × 39 0.70
St. Arnaud 1 Black 1885 (?) 7 August 1888 NSC
St. Kilda 1 Black 17 February 1891 17 September 1894 28 × 39 0.70
Stawell 2 Black 11 March 1890 14 September 1893 27 × 38 0.70
Stock Exchange 2 Black 10 December 1895 6 May 1909 26 ×
Swan Hill ?? 1893 Not seen complete

 

T No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Talbot 1 Black 12 May 1883 Not seen complete
Tarnagulla 1 Black 4 July 1887 8 June 1893 27.5 × 38 0.69
Tarnagulla 1 Blue 22 October 1889 14 February 1890 27.5 × 38 0.69
Tarnagulla 1 Blue 1892 27.5 × 38 0.69
Traralgon 1 Black 26 October 1887 23 December 1893 28 × 38.5 0.69
Tungamah 2 Black 7 May 1891 4 April 1892 28 × 40 0.71

 

W No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Walhalla 2 Black 26 June 1889 29 May 1893 Not seen complete
Wangaratta 1 Black 1881 30 January 1892 Not seen complete
Wangaratta 1 Blue 1885
Wangaratta 1 Blue 1892
Warragul 1 Black 16 October 1889 13 January 1893 27.5 × 38 0.69
Warragul 1 Blue 9 July 1890 9 February 1892 27.5 × 38 0.69
Warrnambool 1 Black 1 February 1888 1892 27 × 38 0.70
Warrnambool 1 Blue 1892 27 × 38 0.70
Wedderburn 1 Black 16 June 1891 20 June 1892 27 × 38 0.70
Williamstown (1) 1 Black 11 March 1885 24 November 1891 27 × 38 0.70
Williamstown (2) 1 Black 14 December 1892 29 March 1894 27 × 38 0.70
Windsor 2 Black 26 February 1892 3 May 1893 Not seen complete
Wodonga 1 Black 17 November 1890 18 October 1893 27 × 38 0.70
Wycheproof 2 Black 6 May 1890 1894 28 × 41 0.73
Wycheproof 2 Blue 6 May 1890 13 August 1890 28 × 41 0.73

 

Y No. of holes Colour Earliest date Latest date

Size
H × W (mm)

Eccentricity
Yackandandah 1 Black 23 October 1891 2 November 1893 Not seen complete
Yarram Yarram 2 Black 18 February 1890 20 January 1892 27 × 40 0.74
Yarram Yarram 2 Blue 9 July 1890 1892 27 × 40 0.74
Yarrawonga 1 Black 10 February 1891 15 November 1893 27× 38 0.70
Yarrawonga 1 Blue 1891 27 × 38 0.70