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 1913 - 1914 Kangaroo 5/- Yellow / Grey Value Wmk 2 Fine UsedRare 1907- Victoria Australia £1.00 Salmon Kev11 UsedAustralia 1913 - 1914 Kangaroo £2 Black / Rose Value Opt Specimen Wmk 2 MmRare 1933- Australia Cto Block Of 4 D Olive Kgv Stamps Cto Melbourne Australia 1913 - 1914 Kangaroo 10/- Pink / Grey Value Opt Specimen Wmk 2 MmAustralia , 1934 , Sydney Harbour Bridge 5sh. Fine Used , Australia 1913 - 1914 Kangaroo 2/- Brown Value Wmk 2 Fine UsedSydney Stamp Expo 2015 Australia Nz Anzac Joint Issue Pnc Day 3 Black Postmark#461 Tasmania Qv 18.. Early Chalons Perf On Album Leaf Van Diemens LandSydney Stamp Expo 2015 Australia Nz Anzac Joint Issue Pnc Day 2 Black PostmarkRare 2015 Sydney Expo Day 2, Black Cancel, Anzac Gallipoli Medallion Pnc 140/500Australia 1931 - 1936 Kangaroo 10/- Grey / Pink Value Wmk 15 Used#462 Tasmania Qv 18.. Early Chalons Imperf On Album Leaf Van Diemens Land8967aj Australia Mint And Used Minisheet Collection - Good Catalogue Value -lk?Rare 2015 Sydney Expo Day 4, Red Cancel, Anzac Gallipoli Medallion Pnc 429/5001932 5/- Harbour Bridge Rare 72800 Printed "fresh" Centred Superb "mint" "gem"!Rare 2015 Sydney Expo Day 3, Black Cancel, Anzac Gallipoli Medallion Pnc 254/500Rare 2015 Sydney Expo Day 1,green Cancel, Anzac Gallipoli Medallion Pnc 006/500Noblespirit No Reserve (rt) Amazing Australia & States Scott Specialized High CvRare 1927- Australia Strip Of 3 X Kgv 1 D Green Stamps Die 1-2-2 Combo MuhAustralia Stamp - 1918 3rd Watermark 10/- Pink Kangaroo "os" Sg# O51 FuAustralia 1935 Kgv Silver Jubilee 2/- Violet Block X 4 Mint1963-65 Navigators, Set Of 8, Both Papers 10/-, £1, Mint Never Hinged2015 Sydney Stamp Expo Day 3 Anzac Pnc Limited Edition Sold Out!!!! #667/1,000Pk.610. Fine Mint & Used Commonwealth Collection. Mainly George Vi.#478 Victoria Qv 18.. On 4x CardsVictoria/australia Early Issue 10 Stamps Good Used (a1252)#477 Western Australia On 2x CardsAustralia Lot Of Part Sheets, Blocks And Singles Mint (no Gum) Lot 2.Australia Kangaroos Simplified Set ½d - 5/-yellow & Grey (12) 1st W/m Cat $800+1927 Australia Ash Gutter Imp Block 6 X 1 1/2 D Gdn Sclt Kgv Stamps Mint Os PerfNew South Wales/australia Early Victorian Imperfs On Stockcard Fine-used (a1248)Australia 1963 - 1965 Navigators Pre Decimal Values Set Unmounted MintAustralia Kangaroo £1 Grey "specimen" Type D Watermark C Of A * MuhKgv Muh ½d Green Single Wm Os With Inverted Wm. Acsc 2014 Cv - $150Navigator £2 King Cto With Full, Unmounted Gum1919- Australia 1 D Carmine Rose Kgv Stamp Large Multiple Watermark MuhAustralia 1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge Set 2d To 5/- (4) Used Cat Value $350+Australia First Flight Cover To New Guinea And Return. O S Official Service Australia Kangaroo 10/- Pink & Grey 3rd Watermark Used Cat Value $550+1870- Tasmania Block Of 4 X 1/2 D Orange Sideface Stamp MuhKgv Mvlh 4d Bright Ultramarine With Inverted Wm. Acsc 2014 Cv - $150Tasmania/australia Victorian Issues Selection 7 Stamps Good Used (a1250)Australia States In Stockbook. Seven Double Pages With Better Items. Very Rare 2015 Sydney Expo 4 Days Complete Set Anzac Pnc 224,753,598,325 / 1000#459 Tasmania Qv 18.. On Album Pages1885- Nsw Australia 10/- Mauve & Claret Postage Stamp Specimen Mint2015 Sydney Stamp Expo Day 3 Anzac Pnc Limited Edition Sold Out!!!! #649/1,000Fresh Muh £1 Dull Blue Thin Paper RobesWestern Australia Wa Longswans Selection 1d To £10 (16)1915- Australia Pair Of 3 D Olive Kangaroo Stamps (die 1) MintKgv Mlh 3d Blue Smwm P13 Die 2 Ash Imprint Block Of 4. Acsc 2014 Cv - $2501931 2d, 3d Kingsford Smith, Officials, Used - Cancelled To Order1950 £2 Coat Of Arms, Mint Never HingedNew South Wales/australia Victorian Issues On Stockcard (13) Minor Fault (a1249)2015 Sydney Stamp Expo Anzac Gallipoli Medallion Cover Ltd Ed Sold Out! #277/500Rare Western Australia Long Swan Revenue Duty £101d Red Kgv, Die Ii, Inverted Watermark, Used - ScarceRare 1895- Queensland Block 30 X 1 D Vermilion Red Sideface Stamps Muh Varieties1934- Australia 9 D Purple Centenary Of John Macarthur Stamp Muh