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    

Rare 1853- Tasmania Australia 4 D Dull Orange Imperf Courier Stamp Used1915 5d Brown Kgv, Single Wmk, Single-line Perf. Jbc Monogram Pair, Mint HingedRoo Fresh Mlh 5s Grey &yellow 1st Wm & Variety 42(d)h. Acsc 2013 Cv - $17501914 Kgv Single Watermark Set Of 20 Extremely "rare" Mint1913- Very Rare Australia Pair Of 1 D Red Imperf Kangaroo Stamps ProofAustralia States: Victoria Small Early Used CollectionAustralia 1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge 5/- Green Value Mint / VlhKangaroo Cofa Watermark £2 Grey And Black "specimen" "rare" Only 14160 Examples Western Australia 1854 1d Black Used Four MarginsKangaroo Cofa Watermark £1 Grey "specimen" "rare" Only 11480 Examples Tasmania 1853 1d Blue Courier Used Catalogued £1200New South Wales. 1850. Sg 39, 3d Yellow Green. Fine Used.2011 Australia Remembrance Day 11.11.11 Pnc W $5 Unc Coloured Coin & 60c StampAustralia States: Tasmania - Small Early Used CollectionTasmania 1853 4d Orange Courier Used Catalogued £375Kangaroo Third Watermark 5/- Grey-yellow Sg 42 Extremely Scarce Very High RetailKangaroo Cofa Watermark 10/- Grey & Pink "specimen" "rare" Only 12480 Examples 1932 5/- Harbour Bridge Rare 72800 Printed Premium "centring" Fresh "mint" "gem"Nystamps British Australia Western Australia Stamp#3 Mint With Gumh $525 Signed Rare 1884- Victoria Australia £25.00 Green Stamp Duty Stamp UsedAustralia Kangaroo 10/ Pink C Of A Watermark Used #mcx 1Australia 1931-32 Official Os Perfin Set 3 Kingsford Smith Cto Full Gum Hr FreshAustralia Kingsford Smith Set Of 3 Inc 3d Blue Os Overprint Used#151 Australia 1931-36 High Value Roos Specimens 10s £1 £2 Lmm C£4500 As NormalKing George V Heads, Complete Collection Of 72 Stamps As Per Seven Seas, UsedTasmania Specimen Mint Stamps: Tasman's Arch & Russell Falls StampsKgv 2d - 1r27, Cracked Electro Top Right Corner & Rare, B/w 95(1)k Cat $400½d Green King George V, 100 Stamps In Old Bundle1931 2d, 3d Kingsford Smith, Officials, Mint Lightly Hinged, With CertificateWestern Australia 1860 4d Blue Mint With Gum Sc 15 Sg 26Western Australia 1854 4d Blue Mint No Gum Four Margins1932- Australia Set Of Sydney Harbour Bridge Stamps O S O/p MuhAustralia 1964 10/ Flinders Navigator Mnh Both White & Cream Papers #cdKgv ½d Lm Wmk *scarce Thin Paper* - 7l1 8, 2 Flaws On 7l1, B/w 63(4)ac.Nystamps British Australia State Western Australia Stamp # 1 Used $350(i.b) Australia Cinderella : Lake Lefroy Goldfield - Cycle Mail 6d1928 3d Ultramine Kgv, Smw, Die I, Perf. 13½ X 12½, Imprint Block Of 4, Mnh / Mh1854- Western Australia 1 D Imperf Black Swan Stamp Used1938- Australia Ash Imprint Block 4 X10/- Dull Pple Coronation Robes Stamps MintNew South Wales 1851 2d Laureate No Watermark Four Margins1884- Victoria Australia 5 Pound Rose Pink Stamp Duty Stamp UsedAustralia Earlier Issues With Roos To 10/- On Five Pages1884- Victoria Australia £10.00 Mauve Stamp Duty Stamp Used1913 Roo & Maps - Crown Over A Watermark2012 Remembrance Day Pnc Fdc $2 Dollar Poppy Coin C Mint Mark #8886 Of 20000Western Australia 1854 1/- Brown Mint No Gum Four MarginsVery Rare 1888- Nsw Australia Block 25x6d Brown Van Dyck Laureate Reprint StampsWestern Australia 1860 2d Orange Vermillion Mint No Gum1922 1d Violet King George V, 200 Stamps In Old BundlesAustralia 1915-28 5/ Kangaroo Official Os Perfin 3rd Wmk Cto Full Gum Hr FreshAustralia New Guinea Sg37 Kawieng Sg 37 Cat £1000 Gri Registration Label 1915 MAustralia 1931 Kangaroo 10sh Grey And Pink Specimen Sg136s Cofa Wmk (bd91)Australia New South Wales 1897 Consumptives 1d 1/ Mint Never HingedRare 1914- Australia Block Of 4 X 1 D Carmine Red Kgv Stamps Used " Inv W/mk "2013 Australian The Urn Returns Ashes Series Pnc With 20c Unc Coin And 60c StampVictoria Very Scarce 6d "compound Of Serrated And Serpentine" Woodblock FaultsNew South Wales 1854 3d Laureate Watermark "3" UsedAustralia 1934 Merino Ram Set Mounted Mint1916 4d Lemon-yellow King George V, Used1954 Australia Fdc Queen Elizabeth Royal Visit Pm Adelaide First Day Issue Cover