These two 75 XPF stamps are the first in a series that OPT-NC will be issuing over the next three years to pay tribute to the architectural heritage of each of New Caledonia’s three Provinces.
These two first stamps, dedicated to the built heritage of the South Province, feature watercolours by New Caledonian artist Eric Valet and show the Beaumont mansion in Moindou and the traditional round huts found on the Isle of Pines.
Built on a hill in the north of the Moindou area by Jean Eschenbrenner, a settler from Alsace in France, shortly after his arrival in New Caledonia in 1873, the Beaumont mansion (named after his descendants) can still be seen from the RTI trunk road. The mansion is a typical example of New Caledonian colonial architecture, featuring brick walls, a wrap-around porch (originally wooden, now concrete), eight rooms above a spacious basement area, niaouli wood beams and a sheet metal roof.
The round dwellings of the Isle of Pines embody a centuries-old architectural tradition: they are constructed using natural materials, with wooden poles forming the structural columns and framework, walls fashioned from niaouli bark, woven palm leaves or thatch, and roofs made from straw or dried grass; creepers are used to bind the structure together securely. A triumph of ancestral knowledge, technical skill and the collective efforts of whole communities, these traditional Kanak huts, which almost vanished during the colonial era, are today proud emblems of New Caledonia’s architectural heritage.