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    

1915- Australia 10/- Grey & Pink Kangaroo Stamp CtoKgv Mh 1d Carmine Red Die Iii Block Of 4 Very Well Centered Acsc 2014 Cv - $240Noblespirit No Reserve 3944/26 Australia Collection With Many Better $2,500 CvAustralian States , Victoria , 12 X Stamps Used , Faults , Unsorted.1d Red Kgv, Die Ii, Rough Paper, Mint HingedNsw - Kgv 13x Stamp Duty Issues To 4/- 1947 Australia Bcof Japan Overprint Sgj7 5s Claret Robes Fine Used Cat £180South Australia , 18 X Stamps Used , Unsorted,Australia Roo 1913 Sg 10 Nhm With Monogram Cat £80+ Kgv Fresh Muh O/p Os Set Of 7. Acsc 2014 Cv - $290Australia Recent Mixture Of 400+ X 70c Stamps Used Off Paper (gd285a)#063 Oz States Qv 18.. Misc On 4x Cards South Australia & Nsw2000 Victoria Cross, "for Valour", PncVic - Early Qv Imperf Issues X4 Inc Queen On Throne1931- Australia £1.00 Grey Kangaroo Stamp Used Multiple Crown C Of A WatermarkAustralian States Deceased Collection Lot Many 100'sAustralia / Vic - 1900 1d (1/-) Olive-brown Empire Patriotic Fund, Mh – Sg # 374Rare 1912- Tasmania Australia Sheet 60x1d Surch On 2d Violet Pictorial Stamps Collection New South Wales 6d Registration X 8 Of Used Australia StatesRare 1854- Western Australia 1 D Black Imperf Swan Stamp UsedVictoria 1884 Mint Mounted Stamp Duty £1 Yellow P12½ Sg62a Cat £1100Australia: 2015 Orange $2 Remembrance Day Pnc 1054 / 1111, Limited Ed, Sold OutAustralia 1938 Sesquicentenary Cinderella Complete Sheet Of 49 Mnh Very RareWestern Australia 6d Lilac Telegraph Stamp Duty Revenue Used Australia StatesTasmania 1870's/1900's Collection 4 Pages Used & Mint MountedSouth Australia , 12 X Stamps Fine Or Fiscal Used , Unsorted,South Australia, A Bulk State Collection Of Colonial Era Postage Stamps, Fu.Bulk Lot Appoximately 2800 Tasmanian Pictorial Stamps Cds Canel Bn1932 Sg143 Australia 5s Green Sydney Harbour Bridge Fine Used Cat £200Collection Of 202 Different Pre-decimal Stamps, Mint Never Hinged1934 Macarthur High Value 9d Purple "john Ash" Imprint Block Retail $425.00 1867 Australia To Mauritius Due Cover, "more To Pay" / Deficient Postage PmksVictoria 1850's/60's Collection Page Of UsedWa Sg79,sc#39,asc12b; 6d Swan Block Of 4 Perf 14,wmk Ca VfuAustralia 1929 Used 5/- Grey & Yellow Sg111 Cat £1101931-36 Australia Roo Sg136 10s Grey And Pink Good To Fine Used Cat £150Australia - A Selection Of Kangaroo Stamps, Fu.Australia 1913 Roo Sg3 2d Grey Die 1 Mounted Mint Block Of 4 Cat £2101930 Australia Gutter Ash Imp Blk Of 8 X 2d Scarlet Kgv, Die Ii, O S PerfRare 1880- Queensland Australia Block Of 4 X 5/- Ochre Chalon Head Stamps UsedRare 1868- Queensland Australia Block Of 4 X 1/- Mauve Chalon Head Stamps MintNoblespirit No Reserve 3944/53 Excellent Mint + Used Australia AlbumAustralia 1913/30's Used 2 Pages Used KangaroosAustralian States , New South Wales , 15 X Stamps Used , Faults , Unsorted.Nsw Postcard Springwood Bn1035 To Brisbane/albion 1898 Hawksbury Railway Bridge.Rare 1864- Tasmania Pair Of 1/- Orange Chalon Head Stamps MintKangaroo Scarce Simplified Set To 2/- "os Nsw" 1st & 3rd Wmk UsedCollection South Australia Long Toms To 5 Shillings Used Australia StatesAustralia 1938 Kgvi Robes 5sh, 10sh, £1 Chalky Mint Sg176-178 Cat £148 Sm FltsTasmania 1878-1912 Mint Collection, Sg 158//260 Cat £380Noblespirit No Reserve Mlm/656 Excellent Australia 11 Mh Wmk.8 = $300 CvAustralia 4 X Kgv With Os Overprints Mnh (2 Scans)9824aj Australia Modern Mint And Used Stamps And Mini Sheets Collection + StatesRare 1928- Australia 3 D Blue Philatelic Exhibition Kookaburra Minisheet MintSouth Australia , 12 X Stamps Fine Or Fiscal Used , Unsorted1942- Australia Block Of 4 X 6 D Blue Spitfire War Savings Stamps MuhRoos - 1d Red On Very Early Melbourne Cover - 8 January 1913 Collection Western Australia Early Imperf Swans Used Australia StatesAustralia Predecimal 1935 Kgv Silver Jubilee Set Very Fine Mint/mnhTannu Tuva & Tasmania Collection From Great Scott International Vol. I Album