This stamp issue is the first in a five-year series that commemorates World War I, the first war in which Australians fought not as colonial soldiers but as Australians. Together the five issues will tell a chronological story of the war, with each issue relating to the centenary year in which it is released.
Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914, and so the designs in this first commemorative stamp issue relate to Australia’s part in the first months of the war – from war’s declaration to the troops’ arrival in Egypt. The design treatment mimics newspaper reportage, one of the primary means through which news of the war was circulated.
At the outbreak of the war, Australia pledged 20,000 troops to Britain. The War Declared! design depicts volunteers queuing to enlist in Sydney. The first conflict in which Australians were involved was the seizure of German New Guinea, represented in the Australians in Action design. The Australian Military and Naval Expeditionary Force landed at Rabaul on 11 September, taking possession of the territory soon after.
Meanwhile, troops were being readied for departure to Europe. The enthusiasm of these early recruits is evident in Troops Depart. At the 11th hour, the ships were diverted from their course to England, and redirected to Egypt. Here, they trained at Mena Camp, in the shadow of the pyramids. The three soldiers in the studio portrait of Our Boys represent the tens of thousands of young men who left Australia to fight in a war half a world away.
This ambitious five-year program of stamp issues is designed to recognise the sacrifice of a generation and honour their memory.
Issue date: 22 April 2014
Denominations: 5 x 70c
Stamp design: Tim Hancock, XSD
Product design: Jo Mure
Paper – gummed: Tullis Russell
Paper – self-adhesive: B100
Printing process: Lithography
Stamp size: 35mm x 35mm
Perforations: 14.28 x 14.28
Sheet layout: Module of 50
National postmark: Albany, WA 6330
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