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    

1932 5/- Harbour Bridge Rare 72800 Printed "gem" Centred Superb "mint" "gem"!Roo Fu £1 Brown And Blue 3rd Wm Comprehensive Catalogue Cv - $2,8501932 5/- Green Sydney Harbour Bridge Stamp Cto Mint Hinged1913 Australia Roo. 10/- Sg 14 . Very Lightly Hinged. Cat $850Western Australia 1854 Used 4d Blue Sg3 Tilted Border Cat £1400 4 MarginsNew South Wales 1850's Used 1d Red Sg ? 4 Margins Just1915-27 Australia Roo. 10/- Sg 43. Never Hinged. Cat $8801932 Australia Sydney Harbour. 5/- Sg 143. Never Hinged. Cat $680Victoria 1870 £5 Black & Green Stamp Statute -p12- Bft 15 Cat £300 GuRoo Fu £2 Black & Rose Crimson C Of A Wm Comprehensive Catalogue Cv - $850New South Wales 1856 Used 6d Vermilion & Blue ? Sg ? 1929-30 Australia Roo. 2 Sg 114. Used. Cat $1120Western Australian Swans S.g. Type 1....2d Orange...4d Blue ImperfKgv 1Kgv Single Watermark Set Of "18" "fresh & Pristine" Rare1928 Australia. 3d Sg Ms106a. Never Hinged. Cat $1761897 Colony New South Wales Queen Victoria 1 Shilling Consumptive Homes MintSouth Australia Imperforate Issue Some Faults Used (9) (jy1172)South Australia Used Collection To 10/-Kangaroo Cofa Wmk £2 Black & Rose "specimen" "rare" Only 14160 MintWestern Australia - Really Nice Old Album Page With Stamps Front And Rear - FineVan Diemensland (tasmania) Chalon HeadsNew South Wales/australia Collection Of Early Issues (16) (jy1173)Kangaroo First Watermark 5d Chestnut Large O.s. Mint No Gum Retail $425.001923 Australia Roos. £1 Sg 75 . Never Hinged. Cat $1105Fresh Muh 3d Kooaburra Mini SheetTasmania 4d Blue Sideface W/mark 4 Used B/numeral 165 Upper Macqurie StKgv Muh 2d Orange Part Imprint Block Of 4Victoria Collection 1900's Optd Os Page Of Mint Mounted & Used To 5/-Victoria 1879 £7 Violet On Blue Qv Stamp Duty Bft 25 Cat £150 FuNsw 1856 (6d) Vermilion & Prussian Blue Registered - Imperf- Sg102 Cat £170 FuAustralia 1971 Christmas Pane Of 25 White Paper Superb Mint Never HingedNsw 1888 5/- Rose-lilac Coin P11 Sg181 Cat £300 LhmAustralia Victoria 2 1/2d Charity Mint UnhingedNsw 1897 5/- Reddish Purple Coin -p11- Sg297c Cat £26 Fu Joined PairKgv 1Western Australia 1855 Used 1/- Grey Brown Sg6 Cat £11001927 Australia Gv Thick "1". 1s4d Sg 93 . Never Hinged. Cat $3301928 Australia Gv. 1s4d Sg 104 . Never Hinged. Cat $180Kangaroo 3rd Wmk 10/- Grey & Pink Os Extremely Rare High Retail Roos - Third Wmk 10 Shilling 'pink And Grey' Small 'os' Sg 056 Cv $20050 Gms Australian International Stamps KilowareVfu Bridge Set Of 4 Including A Superb Postally Used 5sMuh Mh Fu Pre-decimal Collection 1913 - 1965 On Seven Seas Pages - High Cv1928 3d Kookaburra Melbourne Exhibition Sheet Mint Unhinged "rare And Fresh"Victoria 1879 £9 Green On Green Qv Stamp Duty Bft 27 Cat £350 Fu-vfuVictoria 1879 £8 Brown On Yellow Qv Stamp Duty Bft 26 Cat £135 G-fuNew South Wales/australia Unused Issues (8) (jy1174)Victoria 1855 Used 6d Too Late Lilac & Green Sg33 Cat £250Roo Fu 5s Grey & Yellow 2nd Wm Cv -$755Tasmania Launceston Parcel Cancel Piece 2 X 9d Kangaroo Issues ( 2 Scans)Australian States - Western Australia - Old Junky Lot Of SwansAustralia 1966 First Decimals Qeii (7) Birds (8) Mint Never Hinged Blocks Of 4Australian Collection In Springback Album - From 1913 Roos- 1990s: 75 Photos!!Australia / Nsw - 1850 2d Indigo Sydney Views (plate Ii, Early Impression), UsedAustralia Stamps Various Australian Paintings Face Value $58 MnhSouth Australia Used Collection To 2/-Australia Aat, Norfolk & Christmas Island 4 Complete Stamp Sets - Mint::ebs Australia Big Lot Of Gutter Pairs, Traffic Lights, Blocks, High Face ValueAustralia Predecimal 1935 Anzac Commemoration Set Superb Mnh