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]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Tasmania: Used Victoria Examples - Ex-old Time Collection - Album Page (9914)Rare 1934- Australia 2.00 Grey & Crimson Kangaroo Stamp Used Var Open MouthAustralian States. South Australia On Album Page. Mint, Specimen Etc. (t)Australia 1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge Set - Including 5/- Cto With GumRare 1913- Australia 5/- Grey & Yellow Kangaroo Stamp 1st Single Watermark MintAustralian States. South Australia. On Album Page. 1855-1869 Issues. (a). Rare 1932- Australia Set Of Sydney Harbour Bridge Stamps Mint/muh1949- Australia Full Set Of Coat Of Arms Stamps MintAustralia 1926 - 1930 Kgv Values Set (perf 13 X 12) Mounted MintEstate Kangaroo Kgv Roo 5/- Perf Os Bulk Pre Decimal Bundleware Scans 1200 StampWestern Australia: Swan Examples - Ex-old Time Collection - Album Page (9934)Western Australia 1882/88 Swans Collection 3 Pages Used & Mint MountedAustralia "30c Adelaide 2016" Emergency Printing Cps Set On 13 Jan. 2016 CoverEstate Kangaroo - 5/- Perf Os Private Bulk Pre Decimal Nz Bundleware Scans 1000+Australia 1935 Jubilee Block 4 With John Ash Imprint, Very Fine UsedVictoria - 1900 - 2d (2/-) Empire Patriotic Fund - MintAustralian States. South Australia On Album Page. 1860-1872 Issues. (b). Western Australia 1854 Used 1d Black Sg1 Cat 275Australian States. South Australia Postmark Study. Four Pages. (u)1932- Australia Ash Impt Blk 4 X 3 D Blue Sydney Harbour Bridge Stamps MintAustralian States. South Australia. Official Departmental Overprints Ll And AoScarce 1918- Australia Block Of 4 X 2 D Silver Grey Kangaroo Stamps Muh Die 2aAustralia 1913 - 1914 Collection 5 Kangaroo Values Mounted MintQueensland: Queen Victoria Examples - Ex-old Time Collection - Album Page (9974)Scarce 1879- Victoria Australia Cover Via Brindisi From Geelong To EnglandAustralia 2016 30c Emergency Printing Counter-printed Set, All Mint UnhingedVery Rare 1850- Nsw Australia 2d Ultramrne Sydney Views Stamp On Letter To IrlndStamp : Australia New South Wales : 1890 20/- UnusedNystamps British Australia Stamp # 132 Used $350Rare 1913- Australia 2/- Brown Kangaroo Stamp 1st Single Watermark MintVery Rare 1850- Victoria Australia 3 D Blue Imperf Half Length Stamp Sg Ref 4aAustralian States. South Australia On Album Page. 1868-1873 Issues. (c). Collection Victoria Laureates Early Australia StatesAustralian States. South Australia On Album Page O.s. Officials (q)Australia 1937 1 Pound Robes Block 4, Very Fine Used, (rare)Queensland 1907-11 Qv 5/- Carmine-red Very Fine Mint Hinged Sg 310b Cv 250Western Australia Large Group Of SwansRare 1855 Tasmania Lot Of 14x Chalon Head Stamps Perf & Imperf All Postally Used1945- Australia Govt Imp Blk 4 X 2/- Maroon Kangaroo Stamps Muh Redrawn Die TypeAustralian States Western Australia Swans Collection/accumulation - Mint HingedStamp : Australia New South Wales : 1890 20/-Part Sheet Of 20 Kookaburra 3 D Stamps ( 1928 Mint / Unused ) Australian 3d Scarce 1934 Australia 2 Grey & Rose Crimson Kangaroo Stamp Mint Type D SpecimenAustralia 1932 Kangaroo 10/- Grey / Pink Value Used1916- Australia 2/- Brown Kangaroo Stamp N.w.pacific Islands O/p Mint1853- Tasmania Australia 2 X 4 D Orange Courier Stamps Cut To Shape & TearAustralia - 1913-1930 - Kgv Heads - Mnh SelectionVery Rare 1891 Tasmania Australia Block Of 12x 6d Dull Claret Chalon Head StampsRare 1886- South Australia 10.00 Bronze Long Postage & Revenue Stamp No Gum CtoAirmail Cover - 1933 First Australian Trade Exhibition Ship To Perak1852- Victoria Australia 2 D Purple Brown Queen On Throne Stamp UsedRare 1918- Australia Blk 4 X 1/2 D Green Kgv Stamps Large Multiple Wmk Inv MuhAustralian States. South Australia On Album Page. 1870-1900 Issues. (d). 1942 Cover Not Tranmissible Service Suspended Rts Ww2 2 X Censors Madang PngAustralia 1931 - 1946 Collection 4 Kangaroo Values Unmounted Mint1940- Australia Mccracken Imp Block Of 4 X 6 D Purp Brown Imperial Forces StampsAustralia Group Of Cinderella Stamps, Mint Or Used - 2 Scans1854- Victoria Australia 1/- Rose Pink And Blue Imperf Registered Stamp UsedNystamps British Australian States Tasmania Stamp # 2 Unused Cut To ShapeNystamps British Australia Stamp # 57 Mint Og H $900 For Normal Specimen