The “Roo” Stamps of Australia

03 Apr 2018  Tue

“The Roo Stamps” refers to the famous “Kangaroo and Map” Stamps of the country, which have a very interesting story.

Before the Australian Commonwealth was formed, Australia was a divided nation. The six self-governing Australian colonies operated on their own. The government and administration worked separately and so did their Postal System, which issued their own stamps.

Though, the Commonwealth of Australia was formed in the year 1901, it took the Australian Post a little while to cope up. The ‘de facto’ Commonwealth stamps were brought in use till the Postal rates became uniform between the new States in 1911.

In the same year, the Postmaster-General's Department held a Stamp Design Competition for a uniform series of Commonwealth postage stamps. Out of many brilliant entries, the design of Charles Frazer inspired the basic outline of the new design.

These new stamps depict the map of Australia with the national animal Kangaroo inside. The first definitive issue had fifteen stamps ranging in value from ½d (halfpenny) to £2 (two pounds) and in different colours.

However, this stamp soon became a subject of the controversy, as many thought that it is not tactful to replace Monarchy’s Head with a Kangaroo and others thought that the Stamps give and impression that the country is run by the Kangaroos. Hence, in a short period, the kangaroo stamps were taken out and were replaced by the stamps with the profile of the King George V.

So now, these stamps are considered to be the most valuable Australian philatelic Items.

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