Australian Nobel Prize Winners honoured by Australia Post

24 August 2012

Australia Post is honouring five remarkable Australian recipients of the Nobel Prize in a new stamp issue. There are five domestic base-rate (60c) stamps featuring William Lawrence Bragg, Sir Howard Walter Florey, Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Sir John Carew Eccles and Patrick White.

Four of the stamp designs are based on portraits by respected Australian artists: Portrait of Patrick White at Centennial Park by Brett Whiteley, Sir Macfarlane Burnet by Clifton Pugh, Sir John Eccles Professor of Physiology 1951-1966 by Judy Cassab and Lawrence Bragg by Sir William Dargie. The portrait of Sir Howard Walter Florey titled The Lord Florey PRS, was painted by English artist Allan Gwynne-Jones.

Since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded annually for the world's most significant achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace. The Nobel Prize in economic sciences was established in 1968. The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden with each prize consisting of a medal, personal diploma, and a cash award.

"We trust this stamp issue will remind all Australians of the significant contribution made by these eminent Nobel Laureates," said Australia Post Philatelic Manager, Mr Michael Zsolt.

This year marks the centenary of the birth of one of Australia's greatest writers, Patrick White (1912-1990). White received the 1973 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature". White continues to be widely recognised as one of the most important and influential Australian novelists of the 20th century.

The first Australian Nobel Laureate was Adelaide-born William Lawrence Bragg (1890-1971) who with his father, William Bragg, was awarded the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics for research on crystal structure (x-ray crystallography) which opened a new branch of physics, with particular relevance for biology. William Lawrence Bragg was knighted in 1941.

Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet (1899-1985) was born in Traralgon, Victoria. He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his joint discovery, with Englishman Peter Medawar, of acquired immunological tolerance.

The 1963 Nobel Prize in Medicine was shared by Melbourne-born Sir John Carew Eccles (1903-1997) for "discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane".

Sir Howard Walter Florey (1898-1968) was born in Adelaide. He shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Alexander Fleming and Ernst Chaim for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases. One of the great discoveries of the 20th century, penicillin has subsequently saved millions of lives.

The Australian Nobel Prize Winners stamp issue was designed by Lynette Traynor of the Australia Post Design Studio.

The Australian Nobel Prize Winners stamp products include a first day cover, stamp pack, self-adhesive booklet of 10 x 60c stamps, self-adhesive roll of 200 x 60c stamps and a set of five maxicards. The stamp and associated products are available from participating Australia Post retail outlets, via mail order on 1800 331 794 and online at auspost.com.au/stamps from 28 August 2012, while stocks last.