Home Up The Colonies The States BOOK KEEPING Postal rates Towards a uniform series. The end Summary

The end

The end of the book keeping clause, and on to history….

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Essays from the 1911 design competition. The one on the left, by Herbert Altmann took the £100 first prize. As such, it was destined to be Australia’s first postage stamp. Or was it? Before you peek, look carefully, it certainly was issued.

1910 Samuel Reading KGV Fullface Design die proof  in deep blue on thin gray paper (44x51mm), ironed-out crease. This was the first design commissioned for an Australian postage stamp. However, it was rejected for this purpose. This resulted in the 1911 Stamp Design Competition. Nonetheless, this design was adopted for Postal Cards & Letter Cards. The Fullface proofs are also, therefore, highly desirable items for the Postal Stationery collector.

1890's SA design competition

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1911 Stamp Design Competition '[Coat of Arms]/ADVANCE AUSTRALIA' handpainted pen-&-ink essay by Donald Mackay highlighted in China white on card (94x74mm)  with the photographically reduced stamp-size version in sepia (touched-up with India ink) on card (43x35mm). It was a condition of the competition that each entry be accompanied by a stamp-size reduction. The two versions of such essays are rarely offered together. This design was awarded Equal Second Prize. The other two prize-winning essays - Altmann's ("Minerva") elaborate King George V portrait, & Arnold's ("Baldy") Kangaroo - were in the Ron Hyeronimus collection that was stolen in 1984. That collection is widely believed to have been destroyed, making the Mackay essay the only prize-winning entry available. This is therefore widely regarded as one of the most significant items of Australian philately in private hands.

1911 Mackay Essays

1911 competition from 'LVH'

The end of the book keeping period came about when Commonwealth and State Governments negotiated a different means of revenue splitting. It certainly did not come about because Australia wanted a uniform series of postage stamps! It occurred simply because time was up, and a more practical method of revenues had to be arranged for all Commonwealth departments.


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1903 Vaughan Essay


The end result however, was that it cleared the major hurdle (or major excuse, depending on your perspective) to supply uniform postage designs. Time was up in another way. The economies of scale were always attractive to a hard pressed Commonwealth printer to do away with the dozens and dozens of small print runs (some as little as 3 sheets!) necessary to keep each State satisfied. The plates were finally wearing out. Some plates such as the 3d WA swan had been in continuous service since the 1870’s! To make new plates, for little used values, for each state must have been an onerous task.

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1903 Powell essay (red)




Description: 1912 Type 1 (Horizontal Format with the Map Superimposed upon the Royal Standard and Australian Flag) Essay

In 1911 yet another design competition was held (a final one!) for Australia’s first postage series. Herbert Altmann of St Kilda (Melbourne) took first prize of a ‘traditional’ king’s head design. To his eternal credit, this did not suit the then PMG Charles Frazer.  Instead, in another story, he commissioned Blamire Young to design a stamp such that "I am favourably inclined to one with an outline of Australia" (paraphrased). The 2nd prize of the same competition was shared between separate essays of Donald Mackay, and Edwin Arnold, both of England. Arnold’s central design was that of a Kangaroo in an otherwise traditional border of frills and twills. Thus began the genesis of the Kangaroo issue.

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Samuel Reading English Essays

Alumna’s design however did not stay rejected long. On the defeat (yet again) of the Government, the new post master, Agar Wynne, resurrected this design as an election promise and began the story of the KGV series.

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Et Luke Cockatoo designs. Already, a public demand for Zoological theme.

These then, are the openings, to Australia’s fascinating issues.

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Et Luke 'scenes'

Et Luke ('Haereo') photographic reduction


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