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Saturday, August 21, 2010

A page from my stamp album - Australia

The postal history of Australia dates back to 1 January 1901, when the six self-governing colonies of present day Australia formed the Commonwealth of Australia and the postal, telegraph and telephone services became the responsibility of the newly formed Commonwealth. However, prior to this formation, the six colonies have been issuing their stamps independently. These colonies included the Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and the New South Wales. New South Wales issued its first stamp in 1850.

The first stamp of Australia appeared on 2 January 1913 with the issue of one penny Kangaroo and Map. This was the first definitive stamp with the sole nomenclature “Australia”.

The earliest stamps of the Australia that I have are that with the profile of King George V, issued on 8 December 1913 (top left corner of the page from my stamp album above). These stamps continued for the next 23 years. The next king to appear was King George VI (second column of my album). When Queen Elizabeth II took over the reins of British monarchy, her profile appeared on the Australian stamps as well (numerous stamps on my album). With the introduction of the decimal system on 14th February 1966, the face value of stamps changed to cents as can be seen on some of the stamp above.


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The last definitive stamp featuring the monarch appeared on 1 October 1971. Since then, the designs of all Australian definitive values have focused on fauna, flora, reptiles, butterflies, marine life, gemstones, paintings, handicrafts, visual arts, community and the like. From 1980, a stamp has been issued annually to commemorate the monarch's birthday. Australia's first commemorative stamp was issued on 9 May 1927 to mark the opening of the first Parliament House in Canberra. Australia's first airmail-designated stamp appeared on 20 May 1929. The first self-adhesive commemoratives appeared in 1993.

Till 1977, the portraits of only monarchs appeared on Australian stamps. However, since 1977, the profile and portraits of other celebrities also made their view to Australian stamps. One such stamp that I have is that of Henry Lawson in the bottom of third column from the left.

Related Link: Three Half Pence or One Half Pence (My Philatelic World)

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