StampNews.com is excited to introduce this special stamp issue by Australia Post that explores the rich cultural history of the Australian Antarctic Territory.
These three bright stamps focus on cultural artefacts from three key historical periods relating to Antarctica such as the “exploration era”, “interwar era” and “postwar era”. Each artefact also represents a specific cultural theme related to these beautiful territories.
$1 Exploration era stamp
The exploration era, also known as the heroic period, spans the late 19th and early 20th centuries – a time when several countries undertook voyages to Antarctica.
The aneroid barometer featured in the stamp design was given to Australian physicist Alistair Keith Jack by Ernest Shackleton, expedition leader of the ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition’s (1914–16); Jack was a member of the lesser-known Ross Sea party. The barometer is now part of the Museums Victoria collection. It represents not only polar exploration during this period, but also the value of meteorological research. The stamp photograph is by Michelle McFarlane.
$1 Interwar era stamp
The stamp design features the proclamation over King George V Land that Australian polar explorer and scientist Douglas Mawson signed on behalf of the British sovereign on 5 January 1931. It was buried at the site in a canister, where it remained until it was retrieved by the Australian Antarctic Expedition in 1977. The proclamation represents political and geographical history and is especially significant because it formed the basis of Britain’s eventual transferal of territory to Australia in 1933. The barometer is now held in the collection of the National Museum of Australia. The photograph featured on the stamp is by Dean McNicoll.
$2 Postwar era stamp
Following World War II, scientific interest in Antarctica was renewed, facilitated by Douglas Mawson’s lobbying of government. ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition) was formed in 1947 to undertake Australian Antarctic research.
The tracked Weasel M29 vehicle was introduced to Antarctica postwar and was a primary Antarctic traverse vehicle for ANARE until the mid-1960s. The restored Weasel shown in the stamp design was used on ANARE’s 1962–63 Wilkes–Vostok traverse, an historic journey of 3,000 kilometres to the Russian station in the Antarctic interior. It is part of the collection of the Australian Antarctic Division. The photograph featured on the stamp is by Jonathan Wherrett.