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    

Australia Large Bulk Lot Of 500 X $1 Stamps Unfranked On Paper, Good VarietyAustralia 1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge 5/- Green Value UnusedRare 1949- Australia Corner Set Of Coat Of Arms Stamps Muh £2.00 Roller FlawAustralia 1963-65 Qeii Pre Decimal Navigators Set Used Sg355-360 Cat £110+Australia 2016 Sydney Anda Money Expo Vietnam War Gold Overprint Pnc 230/600Australia 1913 - 1980 In Lindner Hingeless Album. (61 Pics)1915- Australia Block Of 4 X 3 D Olive Kangaroo Stamps 3rd W/mk, Die 1 MintAustralia 1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge 5sh Fine Used - Cat £200Nystamps British Australia Stamp # 14 Mint Og H $4000Nsw Sydney View Sg31/31b/31e 2d Plate Iv Rare Block Of 4, 2 Varieties Cat £1000+Nsw Sydney View Sg9 1d Crimson Fine 4 Margin Pair; 48 Tarcutta Cancel; Cat £750+Nsw Qv 1853 Sg81 8d Orange; Fine Used 4 Margins; Very Scarce Cat £6501927 1/4d Greenish Blue Kgv, Small Multiple Watermark, Perf 14, Mint HingedAustralia Victoria Half Length Pair Butterfly Numeral Postmark 37 Elephant Brid Rare 1932- Australia 10/- Grey & Pink Kangaroo Stamp Mint Type C Specimen O/p2016 Australian Large On Paper Bulk Lot, Recent Stamps, Some High Values, MixedVictoria Australian States Early Stamps On Album Pages.Ckstamps : Advanced Mint & Used Australia & State Stamps Collection In PagesAustralia1932 10/- Kangaroo Stamp Sg136 Vfu At Perth-cat £1501949 £1 Robes, Thin Paper, Mint Never HingedRare 1855- Victoria Australia Cover To England With 1/- Blue Imperf Stamp1915- Australia Block Of 4 X 2 D Grey Black Kangaroo Stamps 3rd W/mk, Die 1 MintRare 1931- Australia Corner Block Of 9 X 6 D Sepia Airmail Service Stamps Muh! Australia 1913. Collection Stamp. Yt#12: €200.00!New So Wales Collection From Strong Scott Vol I 1840-1940 Album W Strong Extras1928 1d Green Kgv, Small Multiple Wmk, Die Ii Block Of 4, Mint Never Hinged1932 10/- Kangaroo, Watermark Cofa, Fine UsedAustralia: N.w. Pacific Islands Overprint - Ex-old Time Collection - Page (4750)Australia States , Tasmania , 18 X Stamps Used , Unsorted , Minor Faults,1d Red Kgv Punctured Os - 22 Stamps, Mostly Rough Paper, UsedAustralia Kgv BulkAustralia States , Victoria , 18 X Stamps Used , Unsorted , Minor Faults,Australia 1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge Telegram And 1982 National Stamp Week FdcVictoria Queen On The Throne Used Pair Letters B...g & C...hAustralia States , New South Wales , 9 X Stamps Used , Unsorted , Minor Faults,Australia Large Bulk Lot Of 140 X 60c & 330 X 70c Unfranked On Paper, Face $315Kangaroo Roo Stamps Bulk Variety Kangaroos Values - 5/ Mixed Bundle Of Roos 200+Australia Pre Decimal Kangaroo SelectionScarce 1891- Nsw Australia Blk Of 4x 7 1/2d Sch On 6d Brown De La Rue Stamps Muh1924 4½d Violet Kgv, Single Watermark, Block Of 4, Mint Never HingedAustralia1932 5/- Kangaroo Stamp Sg135 Vf Cto Full Fresh Og(lh)Australia State Stamp Collection - Victoria - 4 PagesAustralia 1914 - 1921 Kgv 4d Lemon Yellow Value Mounted MintNsw 1850 Sydney View Sg26 2d Plate Ii, Fine Used 4 Margins Cat £200; Rpsl CertAustralia Sg 179a Ash Imprint Block 4 Thin Paper Top Stamps Mh Bottom Nh £280 Australia 2000 Sydney Olympics Gold Medallists Sheets Complete Set 16 Sheets UmNsw Qv Sg297c Reddish Purple Perf 11 Fine Marginal Mint + Sheet Ornament Cat £48Rare 1900 Tasmania Australia 4d Brown Russell Falls Pictorial Stamp Muh SpecimenNsw Sel. To 10s On Album Page-all Duties/promisary Note ,perfins EtcAustralia 2016 20c Sydney Anda Money Expo Qeii Birthday Gold Overprint Pnc X 1Australia 1948 Commonwealth Coat Of Arms Set Mounted MintAustralia States , Queensland , 24 X Stamps Used , Unsorted , Minor Faults,Australia 1931-36 £1 Used - Cat £275Victoria Queen On The Throne Letters M....rStamps Aust Predecimal 1932 5/- Sydney Harbour Bridge Mint Hinged [see Below]1929- Australia Ash Imprint Block 4x6d Chestnut Kangaroo Stamps S Mult Wmk MintRare 1901- Queensland Australia £500.00 Lilac Impressed Duty Stamp Used1911- Australia 1 D Brown On White Pre Printed Kgv Postcard UnusedRare 1901- Queensland Australia £100.00 Lilac Impressed Duty Stamp UsedAustralia 1938-49 Kgvi Robes 5sh, 10sh, £1 Selection Used Sg176-178a Both Papers