|This very special issue of 10 stamps celebrates 200 years of postal
services in Australia and reflects the contribution they have made
to the everyday lives of Australians over the last two centuries.
In 1809 Isaac Nichols became the first postmaster of New South
Wales - a position he was to hold for a decade, but Australia's first
postman would not be appointed until 1828. He was the servant of
Sydney Postmaster, George Panton.|
A significant year in Australian postal history was 1838, with
the first overland mail service (running between Sydney and
Melbourne) and the release of the world's first stamped prepaid
stationery. Australia's first uniform postal charges and its first
postage stamps were introduced by New South Wales and
Victoria in 1850. In 1888, New South Wales issued the world's
first commemorative stamps, marking 100 years of colonisation in
Postal services continued to grow along with the population
and were vital to the development of the major cities, towns,
and regional communities, which relied on its arrival to keep
pace with the rest of the country, especially at critical times in
our history. As ships and horses were the only way to deliver the
mail in these early days, some deliveries could take weeks. As
railways developed the carriage of mails between the Australian
communities that dotted the nation became more rapid.
With Federation came the establishment of the Postmaster
General's Department to provide postal services to the nation.
Our first stamp designed for the Commonwealth of Australia was
released to the public in 1913 - a kangaroo in a map of Australia.
Until that time, state stamps were issued to meet the needs of the
In 1924 the Cobb & Co mail service had its last run and just
six years later the world's first mechanical mail handling was
introduced at the Sydney Mail Exchange.
Experimentation with air transport was to see major advancements
in mail carriage. The commencement of regular air flights between
Australia and England in 1934 also meant an increase in the
amount of airmail carried. Many mail users were beginning to
favour airmail over the traditional sea mail because it was quicker.
During wartime, letters received by Australian soldiers carried
much needed news from home and helped boost morale.
With over a million people migrating to Australia in the years after
World War II, news from abroad was a cherished reminder of loved
ones and friends left behind. For most, it would continue to be
the only line of communication for many years until the telephone
became an affordable alternative.
Postcodes were introduced in 1967 and there was also
world-wide interest in the new technically and mechanically
advanced mail exchange building in Sydney when it opened
for business the same year. On 1 July 1975, the PMG was
split into the Australian Postal Commission (Australia Post)
and the Australian Telecommunications Commission (Telecom
In 1989, the Australian Postal Commission became the Australian
Postal Corporation, a government business enterprise, with a
board of directors and a charter to operate commercially while
meeting a number of community service obligations.
Since that time, the local post office has continued to be the hub
of local communities while Australia Post has evolved to meet
the changing needs of people and businesses throughout the
country. Today, Australia Post's services touch the lives of millions
of people everyday - from traditional letters and parcel services
through to logistics, fulfilment, identity services and database
The variety of stamp designs issued today also allows for more
choice, especially for social mail, and is part of a trend that began
in the latter half of the twentieth century.
After 200 years, there is no doubt that Australia Post continues
to be a part of everyday life in our nation.