Australian stamps can be divided into two general periods: those printed when Australia was a collection of six British colonies, and those printed after 1912, when control of the postal system was centralized almost a dozen years after the colonies had gained their independence from Great Britain to form the Commonwealth of Australia. The first Australian colony, New South Wales, issued prepaid embossed letter sheets in 1838, a full year-and-a-half before similar products were introduced in England. Adhesive stamps, though, came a decade after the debut of the Penny Black in London, but like those British stamps, the ones in New South Wales featured a portrait of Queen Victoria.

Stamps labeled “Van Diemen’s Land” were issued between 1853 and 1857, by which time the island south of Australia’s southwestern-most tip was known as Tasmania, named for the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who was the first European to spot it (for the record, it had been inhabited for tens of thousands of years). Tasmania stamps are interesting to collectors because they were the first to deviate from the practice of portraying British monarchs. From 1899 to 1912, Tasmanian postal official issued stamps showing off the natural wonders of the island in a series of pictorials based on the photographs of John Watt Beattie. Postal rates across Australia were unified in 1913, which brought an end to the former colonies’ practice of issuing their own unique stamps.

Probably the most iconic stamps of the early Commonwealth years are the kangaroo-and-map stamps, which appeared in 1912. While the stamp seems innocuous to 21st-century eyes, at the time it was used as a political football by Conservatives, who ridiculed the ruling Labor party’s Postmaster-General, Charles Frazer, for his childish design. There was also outrage in some quarters over the white Australia-shaped background, which Frazer openly described as indicative of “the Commonwealth’s policy in regard to its population.” Over the next few decades, the kangaroo would come and go depending on which party was in power, replaced by formal portraits of British Kings.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Alphabetilately

Alphabetilately

First shown in 2008 to celebrate the Smithsonian National Postal Museum's 15th anniversary, Alphabetilately is esse… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Australia 1916 £1 Chocolate&blue Kangaroo-3rd Wmk-sg 44 Cat £1500 G-fuVictoria 1890 £1.5s Pink Stamp Duty, Cto 1901Australia 1913-14 Kangaroo £2 First Wmk. Opt. Specimen Hinged Mint, Sg 16s.1913 5/- Grey And Yellow Kangaroo, 1st Wmk, Fine Cancelled To Order - CtoVictoria 1901 Sg399 Fine Used StampNew South Wales 1856 (6d) Registered, No Watermark, Mint HingedRare 1886- Victoria Australia 8 Pounds Mauve & Brown Orange Stamp Duty Used1942-44 Kgvi 5 1/2d Imprint Gutter Block 20 Pre-decimal Stamps Colour Pips - MuhAustralia 1913-14 Kangaroo £1 First Wmk. Opt. Specimen Hinged Mint, Sg 15s.Noblespirit~no Reserve~3816/66~colossal Cv Australian States & Oceania Album!1913 6d Ultramarine Kangaroo, 1st Wmk, Fine Cancelled To Order - Cto1913 2/- Brown Kangaroo, 1st Watermark, Mint HingedAustralia - 1919 £2 Grey-black/crimson Kangaroo, 3rd Watermark, Used - Sg # 45aBulk Lot Mint Australian Stamps, Decimal Packs, Sheets, Fdc , $650+ Face ValueAustralia 1913-14 Kangaroo 10/- First Wmk. Opt. Specimen Hinged Mint, Sg 14s.Massive Recent Bulk Lot On Paper, Hundreds, All Latest Stuff, Sheet, High ValueNew South Wales 1d Orange-vermilion Laureate, Imperforate, 4 Margins, UnusedScarce 1949 Australia Set Of 4 Coat Of Arms Stamps Muh1913 4d Orange Kangaroo, 1st Wmk, Fine Cancelled To Order - CtoAustralia - 1915 5/- Deep Grey/chrome Kangaroo, 2nd Watermark Perf. Os, Used Victoria 1857-69 2d Green Imperforate Pair, UsedAustralia States Victoria Half Length 2d PairVictoria 1860 6d.cover From Geelong To Ireland With ContentsVictoria Australia 1850 4 Close Margins Qv 2d Greylilac Half Length Fu-2 Scans Nsw 1d Electric Telegraphs Opt Specimen Mlh & Scarce!!1923 3d Olive Kankaroo, 3rd Watermark, Die Iib, Block Of 6, Mint Never Hinged1913 5d Chestnut Kangaroo, 1st Wmk, Fine Cancelled To Order - CtoCollection Kgv 4d Blue Varieties / Shades Used AustraliaRare 1851 Nsw Australia 2 D Blue Sydney Views Stamp No Clouds UsedScarce 1949 Australia Set Of 3 Coat Of Arms Stamps Overprinted Specimen Mint1895 5/- Postage Due, Cancelled To Order From Presentation SetAustralia States Victoria Queen On Throne Issue. Strip Of Three. Used.Australia States Victoria 5/- Blue On Yellow Sg 139 Very RareVictoria 1873 1/- + 6d. On Cover From Hotham To IrelandAustralia: 1929 Multiple Examples On Large Airmail Cover To Tasmania (ia2092)Australia 2014 Very Recent Bulk Lot Page Used, Both Sheet & P/s, High ValuesVictoria... £50 Stamp Duty....look!!!!!!Australia 1929-30 Kangaroo 5/- Hinged Mint, Sg 111.Rare 1884- Victoria Australia 6 Pound Blue/pink Stamp Duty Stamp UsedAustralia 2000 The Last Anzacs $1 Pnc Cat $135 Scarce1913 2/- Brown Kangaroo, 1st Watermark, Fine UsedQueensland 1900 1d Claret Patriotic Fund Mvvlh.Australia Victoria 4d Imperf Emblem Mint No Gum 1850s Genuine ? See Description1913 2/- Brown Kangaroo, 1st Watermark, Punctured Large Os, Fine UsedKangaroo Cofa Watermark 5/- Yellow-grey "mint" "fresh" Good Centring! Australia Victoria Woodblock Too LateEarly South Australia Mm/vfu From 1860-69 Cat Value £200+Victoria 1862-64 6d Woodblock, Fine Used1913 1/- Emerald Kangaroo, 1st Watermark, Mint Hinged1963 Australia Pane Of 60 Red Cross Centenary 5d Stamps W Selvage MuhAustralia 1924 Ohms Ptpo 1.5d Kgv Postcard Ps OsAustralia 2014 Very Recent Bulk Lot Page Used, Sheet Stamps Only, High ValuesNew South Wales 1850s/90s M&u (appx 70 Stamps) Incl Imperfs [c4483] A5Victoria... £25 Stamp Duty....inverted Wmk...look!!!!!!Australia 1929 10/- Grey&pink Kangaroo-small Mult Wmk- Sg 112cat £500 FuVictoria Australia 100 Pounds Crimson Qv High Value Revenue Stamp - 2 ScansNew South Wales 1854 3d Green Laureate, Imperforate, Mint HingedVictoria 1855 Pair Of Imperf Six Pennies On.cover From Geelong To Melbourne Australia States Victoria Queen On Throne Issue. Strip Of Three. 1d Used.Australia States Old Stamps Great Lot / Accumulation