A historic exhibition exploring Australia’s struggle between past and present as illustrated through the nation’s stamps is now on show at Cairns Regional Gallery. Kangaroo and Map: An Advertisement for Australia is a Post Master Gallery National Touring Exhibition from Australia Post which explores the decisions made, the designs proposed and the final design of Australia’s first national stamp after Federation.
In 1911 the Postmaster-General’s Department issued an invitation to skilled artists to submit competitive designs for a postage stamp that would represent the newly formed Federation of Australia.
Over 1,000 designs were entered in the competition, with a panel of external judges awarding the prize to Herman Altmann for his design featuring King George V. However it was not meant to be, with the staunch nationalist Postmaster-General, Charles Frazer, issuing a historical memo overturning the decision and commissioning an alternative design.
"Memo for Mr Cooke
Get coastline of Aust.
Insert Baldy’s Roo
Produce in colours for different denominations"
This historically insightful exhibition tells the story of how a kangaroo was chosen over a King, and explores the impact Australia’s Federation had on the postal industry of a young nation.
As well as featuring a full-set of Australia’s first series of Kangaroo and Map stamps, this exhibition also includes rare coloured proofs and four original envelopes with the Kangaroo and Map stamps attached, with thanks to the Chapman Collection.
Kangaroo and Map – An advertisement for Australia also incorporates works by Australian miniaturist artist Narelle Jubelin, who has produced six framed petit point pieces that reproduce artefacts from the National Philatelic Collection.
One Penny (1d) red Kangaroo and Map stamp 1913,
National Philatelic Collection,