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    

Very Rare 1918- Australia 5 D Chestnut Kgv Stamp Jbc Monogram Mint W Variety1928- Australia Block Of 4 X 3 D Blue Kookaburra Stamps Philiatelic Exhibtn MintVery Rare 1918- Australia 1 D Carmine Red Kgv Stamp Die 3 Jcb Monogram Mint1862 Wa Cover Perth Blue Numerical 1 To Qld 6d Brown Governor's Office Wax SealNystamps British Australia State Western Australia Stamp #3 Mint With Gum H $525#919 South Australia Sa Qv 18.. From Imperfs Used On Card (18)Rare 2015 Sydney Expo Black Cancel, Anzac Gallipoli Medallion Pnc 4 Day SetVery Rare 1895- Queensland Block 6 X 1/- Grey/lilac Chalon Head Stamps Offl RptsRare 1863- Victoria Australia 4 D Red Laureate Stamp Used ImperfVery Rare Australia 10/- Grey & Pink Kangaroo Stamp W/unlisted Var Damage Stroke1924 Kgv Single Watermark 4d Blue "superb" Mint Unhinged Sg 65Kgv Muh 4d Orange Os. Acsc 2014 Cv - $375Papua New Guinea Nwpi Australia 1918-23 5/ 3rd Wmk Mh Great Looking StampAustralia 1934 Roo £2 Black And Rose Specimen Sg138s Watermark Cofa No GumAustralia (2) Very Nice Recent Collection In Victoria Album - Much Mnh1949/50 Coat Of Arms "specimen" Issue - £2, £1 & 10/s Set Of 3 Muh#897 South Australia Qv 18.. Early Values To 2s On 3x Cards1931 2d Red And 3d Blue Kingsford Smith World Flights Overprinted Os CtoAustralia , Tasmania , 1853 , Two Very Scarce Classic Stamps , Used , Expert: 1949 £1 Robes, Thin Paper, Mint Never HingedAustralia 1931 Roo £1 Grey Specimen Sg137s Wmk Cofa No GumAustralia 1931 Roo 10sh Grey And Pink Specimen Sg136s Watermark Cofa No GumAustralia 1946 Bcof Part Set 6 To 2 Shilling Roo Fine UsedCollection Victoria Laureates 5 Sh Red & Blue Used X 10 Of Australia StatesRare 1906- Western Australia Block Of 4 X 1 D Carmine Red Swan Stamps Muh1949- Australia Coat Of Arms Set To 2 Pounds Mint Nystamps British Australia Stamp # 132 Mint Og H $5751860- Western Australia 2 D Orange Imperf Swan Stamp Used#895 Tasmania Qv 18.. Chalons From Imperf Seconds On 2x Cards Van Diemens LandAustralia Kingsford Smith 3d Blue Plate No 3 Block Of 6 Mint1913 Kangaroo 3d Olive (1st Wmk Inverted). Fresh Mlh StampRoo Fresh Muh / Mh ½d Green Block Of 4 Acsc 2013 Cv - $64Australia 1913 6d Engraved Kookaburra Very Fine UsedNavigator £2 King "pristine" "mint Unhinged" "fresh"! 1854- Victoria Australia 1/- Blue Imperf Stamp Used " Worn Plate "Tas 1867 One Penny Imperf, Strip Of Four (see Description)New South Wales 1850 Stamp #1 Nice Quality* Cv $725.00 Wow!!Australia Stamps - Pre Decimal 1963-4 Navigator Set - MnhRare 1867- Victoria Australia Blue On Yellow Laureate Stamp Used#922 New Guinea M/u On 2x Cards1866- South Australia 3 Pence Surcharge On 4 D Blue MintRare 2015 Sydney Expo , Anzac Gallipoli Dated Mini Sheet 4 Day Set1932 Roo 5/- Grey And Yellow Cto With Lightly Hinged Gum C Of A Wmk100 Assorted Tasmanian Stamps - Pictorials - Unresearched Lot Of Used StampsCollection Victoria Laureates 5 Sh Blue & Red Used X 10 Of Australia States1895- Western Australia Block 6 X 1/2 D Scharge On 3d Pale Brown Swan Stamps MuhVintage Sydney Nsw Postmark Post Office Stamp Letter Franking RollerVery Rare 2015 Sydney Expo 4 Days Complete Set Anzac Pnc 224,753,598,325 / 1000Rare 2015 Sydney Expo , Anzac Gallipoli Dated Pnc 4 Day SetWestern Australia Wa Longswans Selection 1d To 30/- Plus £5, £10 & £25 (13)1946 B.c.o.f. 5/- Robes Mint Unhinged Very Rare And Fresh Only 32000 ExamplesRare 1861- Western Australia 4 D Vermilion Swan Stamp MuhSa 1855-56 2d Imperf Pairs. Nice Shade Group (see Description)1938- Australia Set Of Coronation Robes Stamps Mint1941 2½d Kgvi Block With Spectacular Double Perfs Bw 230bcNew South Wales Australia Nsw 1869-1929 Duty Stamps 4d To 3/- Used (11)Australia Stamp - 1932 10/- Pink Kangaroo Cofa WatermarkAustralia 1914 6d Claret Kookaburra MintAustralia 1929 3d Green Airmail Type B Perf Os Mnh / Mint Marginal Pair3d Bright Blue Kingsford Smith O/p Os Cto. Acsc 2014 Cv - $50