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    

Rare Only 1111 Issued Ballot 2016 Remembrance $1 Pnc, Foiled Post Mark Numbered Rare Only 300 Ballot Issues! 2016 Christmas $1 Pnc, Foiled Post Mark Numbered Massive Collection. British Emp &commonwealth. Mint (um & Mm) Australia & PacifiRare Only 120 Ballot Issues! Dirk Hartog 1oz Silver Coin & Numbered Minisheet 1933 Registered Cover Franked 3d Kgv Pair Official, Pair, Catalogued $1200Australia, Kangaroos &, Officials, "o.s." Perfin, Excellent Assortment Of Stamps1950 £2 Arms, Imprint Block Of 4, Mint Never HingedRare 1897- Nsw Australia Pr Of 2/6- Consumptive Home Charity Stamps Mint Inv WmkRare 1927- Australia Gutter Ash Imp Block 12 X 1 1/2 D Red Kgv Stamps Mint Var1918 1d Red King George V, Die Iii, Mint Never HingedSouth Australia, A Page Collection Of State Colonial Era Postage Stamps, Fu.Nystamps British Australia Stamp # 59 Mint Og Nh "specimen" OvptRare 1923- Australia Block Of 20 X 1 1/2 D Green Kg Stamps Mint With VarietiesRare 1923- Australia Block Of 6 X 1 1/2 D Green Kgv Stamps Mint With VarietiesRare 1900- Australia £6.00 Yellow & Pale Blue Stamp Duty Cto Cancel No GumScarce 1850- Victoria Australia 1 D Reddish Brown Imperf Half Length Stamp Used1963 Navigator Highest Value £2 King "post Office Fresh" "mint Unhinged" "gem" Australia States Victoria 1884-1896 £5. Australia States Victoria Postage Dues. Very High Cv. Large Deceased Estate Stamp Collection - Albums , Bag Full Of Stamps And CardsRare 1928- Australia 1/4- Greenish Blue Kgv Stamp Mint Small Multiple Watermark1930- Australia Gutter Ash Imp Blk 4 X 5 D Surch 4 1/2 D Violet Kgv Stamp MintWestern Australia, 1d Swans Black Imperf Pair Used, No Thins New South Wales Selection UsedChristmas Island Singapore Stamp Period Cover 1951Rare C1908- Australia Postcard "australia Welcomes The American Fleet" UnusedV Rare 1929- Australia Pair Of 4 D Olive Kgv Stamps Variety White Flaw On WattleAustralia Kangaroo £2 Two Pounds Specimen - MintVictoria Selection Used (2)Western Australia State Stamps - 10 X Swan To 1/-1943- Australia Pair Of 6 D Blue Spitfire War Savings Stamps Muh Full Gum[102316] Australia 1937/38 Good Stamp Very Fine Mnh Value $95Australia &, Accumulation Of 2000+ Stamps In Glassines, Stock Cards &Australia Kangaroo X 3 - 3d, 6d And 1/- Stamps - MintTasmania 1860s-1900 Qv Mint & Used Selection From Old Ideal Stamp AlbumAustralia State Stamp Collection - Victoria - 6 PagesRare 1908- Australia Souvenir Postcard Of American Fleet Visit To Australia Mnt11434aj Australia First Day Covers & Covers & Prepaid & Aerogrammes Collection?Australia 1913, Sg1, 10/- Map & Roo With Q'ld Railways Hole Punch. High Cv, 3090Australia, 1923 £1 Kangaroo Specimen Mh Victoria Selection Used (1)Australia Kangaroo £1 One Pound Specimen - MintAustralia 1913-1915 Roos And Kgv Heads- Page From Old Ideal Stamp AlbumNystamps British Australia Stamp # 128 Mint Og Nh "specimen" OvptSouth Australia Qv 1850s-1900 Useful Collection From Old Ideal Stamp AlbumAustralia A Collection Of 50 Kgv Heads All Fu.Australia, Kangaroo, Official, Pair Of Mint Stamps, Os Perfin On Stamp & SelvageN 335 Australia Os Pair Of 2 Shillings Kangaroos On Piece1947 1d Princess Elizabeth, Unaddressed First Day CoverAustralia Bcof 1946 Set Fine Mnh MuhAustralia Stamps - 7 X 1st Watermark Kangaroo Perf. Large OsAustralia A Nice Selection Of Kangaroo Stamps, Fu. 1Victoria Half Length Fourth Ham Printing Dark Shade Pos [1] & [2]Rare 1921- Australia 4 D Deep Purple Kgv Stamp Mint Variety Horned EmuAustralia, Kangaroos & Others, Officials Os Perfins, Excellent Stamps In Stockcd1963 Navigator £1 Bass Rare Scarce "cream Paper" "mint Unhinged" "gem" Tasmania Stamp Collection On HagnerAustralia - 1913-1915 - Kangaroos - Used Collection1930- Australia Gutter Ash Imp Block Of 4 X 2 D Scarlet Kgv Stamps MuhAustralia States Victoria 1897 Charity Fund Issue. Mint.