Shosai World

Australian history in a nutshell - 1

1927 Commemorative Stamp - Opening of Canberra Parliament House

The opening of the Parliament House in Canberra was the subject of Australia's first commemorative stamp issued in 1927.

The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 out of the until then self-governing colonies of British settlers. Initially governed from Melbourne, in 1913 a white site between Victoria and Sydney was designated as the new capital, with the Parliament House opening in 1927.

1929 Commemorative Stamp - Centenary of Western Australia

Western Australia was - after New South Wales - the second colony to be founded on the Australian continent. It remained sparsely populated until the discovery of gold in the 1890s. Victoria and South Australia were founded in the following decade with commemorative stamps being issued in 1934 and 36 respectively. The 150th anniversary of the founding of New South Wales in 1788 was commemmorated with a stamp issue in 1937.

1934-8 Issues commemorating the founding of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.

Aviation played a major role in connecting the remote colonies with eachother and the wider world. This 1929 stamp commemmorates the intercontinental flights by Brisbane native pilot Kingsford Smith. The issue is also unique in that it commemorates a living person.

1931 Commemorative Stamp - Commemmorating World Flights by Kingsford Smith.

Founding Fathers - NSW Governor Macquarie in particular - apart, Australia's first heroes were the explorers who opened up the country. The road from Sydney to the hinterlands was opened with the crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813, but the first explorer to be commemorated on a stamp is Charles Sturt who mapped the course of the Murray River in SE Australia.

1930 Commemorative Stamp - Charles Sturt

As the continent was explored, communication links between the colonies were established. The first telegraph link opened in 1853 and two years later an overland connection was made between Darwin and Adelaide. In 1936 Tasmania was connected by submarine telegraph.

1936 Commemorative Stamp - Opening of Submarine Telegraph Line to Tasmania.

The automation of textile production in the First Industrial Revolution boosted demand for wool and was to give Australia its first major export industry that over time would displace Germany as the leading wool producer. Australia's leading sheep variety, the Merino was brought from Germany by Captain John Macarthur in 1834. Wool became Australia's single largest export commodity in the 20th C, accounting for 30-40% of total exports until it was overtaken by wheat in the 1970s.

1934 Commemorative Stamp - Centenary of the introduction of Merino sheep by Capt MacArthur.

The long-mooted plan to create a bridge connecting North and South Sydney finally became reality in 1924, with the bridge opening 8 years later.

1932 Commemorative Stamp - Opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Even after becoming a Federation, the British Monarch remained as the titular Head of State. In 1935 stamps were issued for the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Australia also fought for Britain in WWI, about which more in the next section.