When Queensland became a colony separate from New South Wales (1859) its existing post offices had already been allocated numerical identification codes for canceling stamps. The practice continued and, as new post offices opened, each was given its own defining numeral cancel. Queensland’s numbers range from 5 to 896, with gaps, and continued in use until 1915. The numbers have surrounds, rays or bars, that vary somewhat. These have been meticulously identified by Dr Jeremy Hodes and can be viewed online at https://queenslandstampnumerals.blogspot.com/.
Collecting these cancels, although a well-developed specialization, can be an interesting diversion for generalists. Most collections will have some of them. If the number is clear enough to read, one can easily find out a great deal about the post office and town where the stamp got branded. Two examples from my collection follow.
Laidley, a rural town in the Lockyer Valley region, began in the early 1830s as a wagon stop on the way from Ipswich and Toowoomba. It opened its post office in 1861 and was assigned the number 32. Although small (Laidley’s population today is shy of 4000), a major railway passed through it giving its postal service greater importance than it would have had otherwise.
Gordon Davenport has collected pictures of old Laidley, including its post office, some of which can be viewed at:
A costal city, Townsville was founded in 1864 and, because of its proximity to gold mining areas, it developed into the main city of North Queensland. Its cancel number is 59. In 2021, its population exceeded 179,000.
With comparatively few stamp designs to choose from (commonly called the Chalon, Sideface and Commonwealth varieties), Queensland stamp enthusiasts have largely turned to the plethora of cancels. Their choice is a good one; it combines interesting history and geography with their philately.
Census: in BB spaces, 34, tip-ins 2, on supplement pages 44.
Overall, Queensland stamps are fairly complicated with multiple watermarks, paper, perforation and printing types. Queensland stamps are a good realm for the specialist, less so for the generalist.