Fantastic facts

Our post
Our post – what's it all about?
Postboxes

Street posting boxes

  • Street posting boxes were first introduced in France in 1653 but were discontinued because of attacks by mice and vandals. Street posting boxes were tried in France again in the early 1800s.
  • Street posting boxes were introduced in Australia in 1844.
  • There are over 15,000 street posting boxes around Australia.

Wax seal

Delivering to rural areas

Letters and delivering the mail

  • The first letter to arrive in Australia was addressed to Governor Phillip in 1788.
  • Early letters were written on a piece of paper which was then folded and secured with a wax seal. Some people had "signet rings" that they used to press their very own "coat of arms", or other special design, into the seal. Envelopes are a more recent invention.
  • About 17 per cent of the Australian population changes their address each year.
  • Australia Post is required, by law, to provide a universal mail service that is accessible to all Australians.
  • It also has to provide a standard letter service for a basic postal rate from here to there, anywhere within Australia.
  • The cost of delivering some letters is many times more than the postage charged.
  • Over 10 million delivery points are serviced by Australia Post. Of these, more than 2.8 million are in rural areas, the outback, or on islands!
  • Australia Post operates one of the world's longest mail runs, of 3,000 km! It stretches from Port Augusta in South Australia to south-central Queensland, but delivers mail to only 88 addresses on that run.
Penny Black stamp

Stamps

  • The world's first stamp was called the "Penny Black". It was developed in Great Britain in 1840.
  • Many older stamps were printed using an engraving process. The design was created by using lots of finely-spaced lines engraved or etched into a flat metal plate. Originally, this was all done by hand! The engraver was a highly-skilled craftsperson.
  • Australia Post produced the first stamps for the new nation of East Timor. As a gesture of friendship, two million stamps were produced and given to the new nation.
  • About one billion stamps are now produced in Australia every year.
  • The smallest stamp ever produced was only 9.5mm x 8mm in size. Amazing! It was issued in 1863 by the Colombian state of Bolivar.
  • Stamps are printed using four colours (CMYK): cyan (a rich blue), magenta (a dark pink), yellow and black.
  • The world's rarest stamp is the 1856 British Guyana one cent magenta stamp. Only one of these is known to exist.
  • In 1999, Australia was one of the pioneers of the Personalised Stamp, which enabled people to have an image of themself, or a loved one, printed on a stamp.