Centenary of Mawson's polar expedition celebrated by Australia Post

31 August 2012

Australia Post is releasing the second stamp issue in a four-year program celebrating the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE). This remarkable expedition is a landmark moment in Antarctic history, achieved during the 'heroic era' of polar exploration.

This Australian Antarctic Territory stamp issue comprises three domestic base-rate (60 cents) stamps and two large letter-rate ($1.20) stamps.

The AAE left Hobart in December 1911 under the command of Douglas Mawson, reached Cape Denison in January 1912, and returned to Adelaide in February 1914. Mawson was knighted for his expedition achievements and is regarded as one of the greatest figures of Antarctic exploration.

The AAE explored extensively along the Antarctic coast and conducted scientific and meteorological observations, which were recorded in great detail.

"This extraordinary feat of exploration took immense courage, skill and determination, and Australia Post is delighted to commemorate the expedition's centenary with the second in a four-year program of stamp issues," said Australia Post Philatelic Manager, Michael Zsolt.

The initial five-stamp strip in 2011 showed the key moments in the departure of the AAE from Hobart and the journey to the Antarctic. This second issue focuses on the arrival and activities of the Expedition undertaken in 1912.

The photographs used for this stamp issue were sourced from various national archives and feature; the expedition's ship, the SY Aurora arriving in the Antarctic; unloading the SY Aurora on its arrival; the main base camp at Cape Denison; and team members, Xavier Mertz and Belgrave Ninnis who both died on the expedition.

Stamps associated with the AAE series will be issued every year until 2014, celebrating key moments in the AAE's experience.

The Centenary of the AAE stamp issue was designed by Melbourne-based Andrew Hogg Design. The company's stamp designs include Emergency Services (2010) and the Centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (2011).

This stamp issue includes a highly collectable postal and numismatic cover. The cover presents a Sir Douglas Mawson $1 Al/Br Uncirculated Coin from the Royal Australian Mint 2012 Inspirational Australians range. The coin was designed by Wojciech Pietranik.

The Centenary of the AAE stamp products include a minisheet, first day cover, stamp pack, and a maxicard set of five.

The stamps and associated products are available from participating Australia Post retail outlets, via mail order on1 800 331 794 and online at auspost.com.au/stamps from 4 September 2012 while stocks last.