The postal history of Australia has two identifiable periods. The first covering the ‘Australian States’ and the latter, from 1913 when the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia issued stamps inscribed ‘Australia’. To demonstrate this new level of independence a kangaroo was incorporated into the design of the first Australian postage stamps. The story of the ‘Kangaroo and Map’ stamps is as fascinating as the politically motivated intrigue that accompanied the design contest that led to the first British Empire postage stamps not to show a profile of a reigning British monarch.
The George V “Heads” were introduced later in 1913, placating those critical of the absence of a British monarch, they are amongst the most carefully studied stamps in world philately with a wide array of watermarks, colours and flaws. This issue arguably includes Australia’s rarest stamp being a tete-beche pair of the 1930 2d golden scarlet.
There are significant other important Definitive and Commemorative stamps, including the original and later “Laughing Kookaburra” issues, the 1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge set of three that included one disproportionately high value 5/- stamp (the average weekly wage being £9!) and the ‘modern classic’ 1950 8½d Aborigine “One Pound Jimmy” stamp. Australia was also at the forefront of the first airmail flights and covers from the 1920s and early 1930s are keenly collected.