||The genesis of photogravure printing began with the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Competitive tenders
occurred for the printing equipment. The 1/- Harrison, UK and the 2/- from
Courvoiser, Suisse. The 2/- was printed by the Helio process, and although a superior
stamp, lost out. Probably due to Xenophobia.
Six years later, a second set of
photogravures, the Empire Games, was produced by
put on sale on 1st November 1962. These, and the Olympics, are the only instances of
Australian pre-decimal postage stamps being printed off-shore.
||5th September 1962
The first Australian produced photogravure was
issued. The date is interesting because, theoretically, there was no reason to produce the
Empire Games stamps overseas. It could be, that there was doubt that the Chambon press
would be ready in time to do so, and a pre-emptive order had taken place.
The Chambon press, from which photogravure stamps were produced, went on to become the
mainstay of Australian (and Oceanic) stamp production. It had as much impact on production
as the Hoe Rotary Recess machines when they were introduced in 1932. Chambons rapidly
replaced recess printing for nearly all commemoratives.
||However, while the method of creating new Commemorative issues became
almost painless, being as it did a simple enough photograph followed by almost automatic
production via continuous paper roll, the economies of scale simply weren't there. The
printing process was expensive to operate, much more so than recess. For nearly a decade
after it's introduction, the definitive series remained firmly with the QE2 Red. The
Chambon press, producing as it did, 60 stamps per sheet , could not compete with the
massive small format 640-on recess printings.
Layout, paper and perforations.
Individual stamps are not listed with perforation or layout since
all were the same and are stated below. The paper used was always unwatermarked but varied
between initial Wiggins Teape Cream paper, followed by Harrison White which produced far
better results, and finally Helecon treated paper.
Only one perforator gauge was used for all Chambon printings, irrespective of size Perf
13½x13¼ Portrait, and (obviously) Perf 13¼x13½ Landscape. For simplicity, since it
makes little difference, individual listings are stated to be Perf 13.5.
Only two sizes were used on the Chambon press in the pre-decimal era, Medium and Long.
Both in portrait aspect.
See Chambon Layout for a more detailed description of the