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25 March 2009
5/2009
Commemorative Issue

Australia Post - 200 Years

Australia
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 Australia.

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 public.

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 Australia).

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 management.

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.

First Post Master  

First Post Master

Early Post Office  

Early Post Office

Early Post Box  

Early Post Box

News from home  

News from home

Early airmail  

Early airmail

Home delivery  

Home delivery

Post-war immigration  

Post-war immigration

Retail PostShop  

Retail PostShop

Express Post  

Express Post

Part of every day  

Part of every day

Official First Day Covers

Official FDC Australia Post - 200 YearsOfficial FDC Australia Post - 200 Years

Technical Information

Issue Date: 2009-03-25
FDI Withdrawal Date: 2009-04-22
Denominations: 10 x 55c
Designer: Lynette Traynor, Australia Post Design Studio
Printer: Energi Print
Paper: Tullis Russell
Paper (self-adhesive): B90/B100
Printing Process: Lithography
Size: 26mm x 37.5mm
Performations: 14.6 x 13.86
Sheet Layout: 10
Special Feature: Simulated watermark
National Postmark: Melbourne, Vic 3000

Additional Online Information

Official Site:  Stamp Shop - Australia Post - 200 Years
copyright notice: This material has been reproduced with permission of the Australian Postal Corporation. The original work is held in the National Philatelic Collection.
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