The stamps in this 2020 Australia Post issue show six species of bird that have been officially proclaimed as emblems of an Australian state or territory. Featured in the designs are artworks from British ornithologist John Gould’s seven-volume “The Birds of Australia”, published in 1848.
The sketches used to produce the lithographs in this impressive body of work were completed by Gould’s wife, Elizabeth, a talented artist. Elizabeth Gould sadly passed away in 1841, after producing more than 80 lithographic plates for the work, prior to its publication. Her sketches were then used by other artists, though predominantly H.C. Richter, to complete the lithographs.
The stamp above depicts Australia’s largest kingfisher, the Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), the State emblem of New South Wales.
The endangered Helmeted Honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops cassidix) represents the State of Victoria and below the iconic Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), Western Australia.
Australia’s largest bird of prey is the Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax), Northern Territory.
Then there is the only species of crane native to Australia, the Brolga (Grus rubicunda), the State of Queensland.
And finally, the Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum), proclaimed as the faunal emblem of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in 1997.