StampNews.com is excited to introduce to our readers’ attention three special stamps by Australia Post that marks the end of convict transport to the Australian colonies.
The last convict ship, the Hougoumont, docked in Australia 150 years ago. More than 165,000 convicts arrived here to be punished for their crimes, whether political activities or something as trivial as stealing a loaf of bread.
We also invite you to take a look at other interesting and historically significant stamp issues by Australia Post such as sets of stamps dedicated to Australia’s polar expedition, sailing ships, the centenary of domestic airmail etc.
Designed by Tim Hancock, the stamps feature the colonies that hosted convicts. These were the penal colonies of New South Wales, Van Diemen’s Land and Swan River. Moreover the stamps also depict the items that were connected with the life of convicts. The images used for this philatelic release are taken from the collections of the State Library of New South Wales, the National Library of Australia and the National Museum of Australia.
So, the first stamp showcases New South Wales, as well as the ticket of leave, issued to William Anson on 16 May 1828 that can be earned for good behaviour after serving a period of one’s sentence. The design also shows a lithograph of a Sydney convict chain gang, the original artwork by Augustus Earle.
The second stamp features Van Dieman’s Land, as well as a graphic from a convict love token, thought to relate to John Camplin. He was only 15 years old and was sentenced to death for stealing a silver watch.
The third item shows Swan River Colony and a fragment of text from The Wild Goose, a newspaper written by the political prisoners aboard the Hougoumont, the last convict ship to Australia. In his ‘Prison Thoughts’, Laoi writes: “Whilst to and fro my prison cell I trace / The drear elliptical course with constant feet, / Thought spurns restraint, and, eager to embrace / Loved friends and scenes, speeds far on pinions fleet”.