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”)



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    

King George V Heads, Complete Collection Of 72 Stamps As Per Seven Seas, UsedAustralia Predecimal Kangaroos 1st W/mark Block With Constant Flaw Mnh1924 Australia 2/- Sg74 & £1 Grey Specimen Mint Sg75s On Album PageAustralia 1914 1d Kgv, Single Line Perforation Block Of 6, Mint Never HingedNystamps British Australian State West Australia Stamp #17mint Gum Hinged $10001915 Australia 4d Gv Heads Specialized Lot Flaws, Varietys, Os, Mint & Used Lot1922-23 1d Violet Sg57 Gv Head Plate Flaws, Imprint Block Of Six, Variety's Lot1915-26 Australia 2/-, 5/- & 10/- Kangaroo Lot On Album Page + Os PerfinTasmania 1860's Collection Used To 1/- Sg ??Queensland Revenue Duty Tax 1 Page Collection AAustralia 1915 Kangaroo Sg037w Fine Used Os Perfin Inverted Wmk StampWestern Australia Revenue Duty Tax 1 Page CollectionAustralian States, Excellent Assortment Of Stamps In StockpagesAustralia High Value Kangaroo Stamps 5/- & 10/- 1931-361902-12 Western Australia 1/2 A Crown (2/6-) Deep Blue / Rose Stamp Mint1920 Australia Gv Heads 1/4d & 4d Sg66 & 64, Mint & Used Lot On Album PageVictoria Early Qv Half Length 1d Imperf Used With Newspaper PostmarkNystamps British Australia New South Wales Stamp # 2 Used $7001888 Colony North Queensland Cover Barred Numerals " 178 " Block 6{varia}+ 2 Rare 1855 Victoria Australia 6 Pence "too Late" Imperf Stamp UsedScarce 1886 South Australia 10 Shilling Green Postage & Revenue Stamp UsedQueensland Revenue Duty Tax 1 Page Collection BSelection Of 2014 70c Sheet Stamps Off Paper Postally UsedWestern Australia , 4d Blue Imperf Swan Fine Used , HoledRare 1913 Australia 1 D Red Block Of 10 Engraved Stamps Mint Hinge RemnantNystamps British West Australia Stamp #16 Mint W. Gum $2750 Per Print Paper Fold1916-18 Australia 1d Sg47 Mint, Used, Os Perfins, Variety's, Rosine Shades LotAustralia New South Wales 2d Sydney View UsedAustralia 1915 Roo 2sh Brown Wmk Pointed Crown Used Sg29 Cat £120Australia Predecimal 1931 Kingsford Smith Airmail Service Os Very Fine MnhRare 1870 - 1882 Victoria Australia 10/- Purple On PinkNystamps British South Australia Tasmania Stamp # 2 Used $875Australia- 1/- Lyrebird Bcof Airmail Cover Block Of 6, 1948Western Australia 5 Local Christmas Island Full Gum CinderellaAustralia Stamps - 5 X Kgv Heads Very Fresh Mnh ConditionAustralia 1934 £2 Fine UsedAustralia, Much Mint Face Au$!!, Excellent Assortment Of Mint Nh Stamps In StockNystamps British Australia New South Wales Stamp # B2 Mint Og H $350Scarce 1887 Victoria Australia 6 Pound Blue & Yellow Stamp Duty Stamp Used2014 Overprinted Aust Post National Service Pnc €Australia Stamp 1914 6d Engraved Kookaburra MintSouth Australia 1856/80's Collection UsedAustralia 1931 1st. All Australian Airmail Cover By Return Australia Stamps 8 X Kgv Heads With Nsw Perfins Including 3 X 4d#239 Qv 18.. Western Australia Early Swans To 1s X2 On Card (16)1967 5c Qe2 Australian Defence Forces 'vietnam' Booklet Perfect Muh Scarce7789aj Brit Commonwealth Collection Incl Coronation/victory + Australia States?Australian States , Victoria , 8 X Stamps Used With Faults .1932 Opening Of Sydney Harbour Bridge 2d & 3d Os Mint Unhinged Nystamps British Australia Queensland Stamps # Sg23 Strip Rave 1882 Western Australia 6 Pence I. R. Overprint Of 3 D Lilac Postage Stamp UsedAustralia Kgv 12 Mint Heads UncheckedWestern Australia Wa 1904 Longswan 1/- To 15/- Green R59 To R64 (6)Nystamps British Australia New South Wales Stamp # 75a Used $5250New South Wales Mint Mounted 1880's Collection To 2/6Australia Fdc First Day Cover 1947 Rare Ohms 150th Anniv Newcastle Edgecliff B15Tasmania S.australia New South Wales Qv Used (50+ Items) [g9351]Good Lot Mnh For Postage Face Aus$360+ Values To $20.00 Or For CollectionRare 1884 - Victoria Australia Green On Green 9 Pounds Stamp Duty Stamp UsedQueensland 1850-60 Group Of Chalon Heads Fine Used.