Walter Fricker was born in Somerset, England and came to New Zealand in 1863. He introduced the world’s first airmail postage stamp when he launched a pigeongram service between Great Barrier Island and Auckland in 1897.
Messages were written on tissue paper, folded, rolled around the bird’s leg and covered with a rubber ring to stop birds picking at them. The successful business continued until 1908 when the Government opened a telegraphic link between Great Barrier Island and the mainland.
Walter Fricker was also a founding member of the Auckland Flying Club and its President for a number of years. He was a prominent Mason and a well-known member of the Lodge Ponsonby. A pigeon fancier, he had 100 pigeons in his loft at his Ponsonby home and secured prizes at various exhibitions, including the Ten Guinea Cup at the 1897 Champion Show for the best working homer pigeon. Walter Fricker 1841-1911 is buried in Block E, Row 51, Plot 84.
Block E, Row 51, Plot 84.